Last Saturday

Our Saturday Life Group met for the last time until September. Everyone seems to greet this reality with regret, but few of us try to continue the drawing through the summer. Summer weekends are for getting out of town, I guess, and summer weekdays for a lot of folks are disrupted by work schedules and kids at home. Since we ended with a male model, and one of my favorites, I am able to even the gender imbalance created by posting two weeks in a row of female nudes.

The one above is yet another back, and by now I should be getting good at backs. Backs are easier, even when they are unexpectedly populated by rib cages. Fronts always present the critical placement problem of exactly where the belly button goes. It is never where I first want to place it. Placement of the belly button just might rank up there in difficulty with placement of the nose on a face.

Luckily, our second long pose (about 50 minutes) also spared me the belly button problem:

In this pose I discovered a tiny light effect that I wanted to play up. Can you see it before I tell you?

During this pose, I noticed (for the first time) that light was reflecting off the white stripes of the material under the model. This reflected light shows up in only one area–that of his upper arm. Now that I have seen this effect once, I will be looking for it everywhere.

Friday I was gallery sitting, and I passed the time by drawing a self-portrait in colored pencil, then painting from a photo of a white birches in an autumnal forest. I forgot to photograph the self-portrait, so I will save that one for next week. And I am feeling insecure about the birches because I cannot detect a uniform light source and I am worried that they look too flat as a result:

The birches being white, they are bouncing light off each other, and there is no sunlight to clarify matters. So we have shadows here and there, but no form-shaping shadow side. Do the birches look pasted on?

I was delighted, however, by another discovery. My reference photograph shows the bright red leaves in the background as almost a red cut-out. I was struggling to get some sense of depth and form by adding shadows, adding white and yellow to the red. Then I looked at this huge pile of lavender on my palette, which I had been using for the birches, and decided to dab a little lavender into the red:

OMG! This is what the impressionists were all about, this is what Stan Moeller pointed out to me five years ago, this is what Lois Griffel was talking about two years ago. I finally got it! Intellectually I knew about juxtaposing two colors to get them to vibrate (see also “The Color of Snow” blog wherein Stapleton Kearns instructed that method to get a vibrating white), but until I came upon it independently, it was just theory. Now I think I have made it mine. Well, not really “mine”, but something I might remember to try the next time I need to break up a flat area.

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