|5" x 7" ink and watercolor on Fabriano Artistico rough paper|
(Click to view a larger image)
Most importantly, what is their essence? Who is underneath what we see?
I can never have these questions answered. I can only see people enter and leave my path of vision like props on a set.
But I can try.
This is the third in my "At First Glance" series. I have self-imposed constraints in the series. I use pen and watercolor on a white background - focusing entirely on the image. Most, if not all of the images will be a frontal or near frontal view. The figures must be derived from people I have seen in Miami. I am using a sketchy style, reminiscent of my actual sketches in the field, but slightly more formal. All of the drawings are very small, on a 5" x 7" sheet. I work from photos. I do not care as much that I obtain an exact likeness - in fact, I attempt to avoid exact likenesses, in respect for their privacy (and for legal concerns).
I attempt to capture their essence, an impossible task I know, but what the heck. It is a "soul" painting, not a "body" painting, although the body is the device for this. It is as much of their soul as I can capture in a glance. I leave the rest for them.
How accurate is this? I don't know. But in her TED talk, "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are", here, Amy Cuddy says that a researcher at Tufts University showed that when people watched 30 second soundless clips of physician-patient interactions, their judgment of that physician's "niceness" predicted whether or not that physician would be sued for malpractice. She says that another study at Princeton showed that judgments from glances of only one second of politician's faces predicted 70% of the outcome of senate and gubernatorial races in the United States.
The first two in the series are here and here.
There has been quite a time gap between #2 and #3. Part of the reason was my search for an indelible, waterproof, lightfast pen that would work for this size, this style, and the paper. Thank you to Sue Pownall of Art of a Nomad. Thanks to her recommendation, I now use the Staedtler pigment liner .05 for these pictures. It is a wonderful pen.
I also questioned every aspect of the series, the size and lack of a background, for example. But the size is right. When I have fifteen or twenty of them done, there will be a crowd, at this size. To see an individual, you would have to walk right up to one of them. It is very much like real life. A background would distract from the person, and I want all attention on who that person is.
I had more trouble with this figure than either of the previous two - with the face, surprisingly, consider that is what I draw all of the time. I am hoping the next few will be more straightforward, but maybe they shouldn't be.
There. How much more can a guy say about a small figure not even seven inches tall? Don't get me started.
Hey everyone, art philosophy guru Katharine Cartwright's blog is back! It is here. Besides being a great professional artist, she always raises interesting questions in her posts. When her blog was active before we used to have wonderful discussions in the comments section. So if you want an exhilarating, thought-provoking experience, start checking out her posts and participate!