Saturday, April 5, 2008

Artists as Models

When you’re at a figure sketch group and the model gives you a boring pose, don’t despair. Turn to the side and paint one of your artist colleagues.

That’s what I did on this 20-minute oil study on prepared brown chipboard. I had much more fun with this subject than with the model, who was twisted up in a pretzel. I loved the way the mullions of the windows were casting a shadow on the sheer curtains.

I usually try to check first with the folks around me to see if it’s OK, and usually they don’t care.

At the San Diego Comic Con the organizers asked me to go up on a stage and paint something out of my imagination. This is a tradition for artist-guests at comic conventions, they explained. So I set up my little easel. A group of onlookers gathered round.

“What are you going to paint?” someone asked. My mind instantly went blank. I tried to dream up dragons or giant ant-men or six-armed lizards, but my muse had flown. So I turned to the fellow next to me; I think his name was Donald Yee. Aha! Problem solved. There was my subject!

Related GJ post: The Ninety Degree Rule: link.

Tomorrow: Color Obtains


Anonymous said...

I can completely sympathise with these sentiments. I often was more inspired by my colleagues and enjoyed doing portraits of them, particularly when they made 'artist faces' (squinting and poking of tongues)

Erika Meza said...

If you do it as well, that means I'm not crazy after all. That is, after all, one of the ways I've tried to learned clothed figure studies on my own instead of drawing yet another proper anatomical sketch.

Are you going to attend the Comic-Con this year? :)

Anonymous said...

Hi James—

Can you please give us some details on how you prepare chipboard for painting? I have a ton of it and would love to use it for some oil painting sketches.

Sarah Stevenson said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one whose mind goes blank if someone asks me to draw something. I actually have this problem when anyone asks me about my work in "what is your work about?" I always want to say "it's about...stuff."