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Old 09-12-2009, 10:32 AM
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

Lesson 6: The Figure, part 2

Hi! Welcome to the 6th lesson in our Exploring Soft Pastel Classroom – Portrait and Figure Fundamentals. My name is Don Ketchek and this is part 2 of our study of the figure. Here are links to the first 5 lessons:

Lesson 1 started with eyes and noses and can be found here:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=532971

Lesson 2 covered mouths, ears and hair, and can be found here:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...hreadid=538364

Lesson 3 was all about measuring, and can be found here:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=544390

Lesson 4 covered backgrounds and depth.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=549886

Lesson 5 began our work on the figure and focused on the “stick figure.”

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=561275


Before we proceed with our new topics, let’s revisit the stick figure that we discussed in lesson 5. A question came up in the previous thread regarding the placement of the landmarks that represent the hips and the top of the legs. Charlie (Colorix) posted the following graphic which illustrates where some of the confusion may arise.



The red line and arrow represent the hip location, the green line and arrow represent the actual top of the leg bones. So you can see there is quite a bit of “wiggle room” as to what your stick figure line might represent. I think, for the most part, I used that upper “hip” line, making my top leg line in the stick figure longer than the actual leg bone length. Again, these are just guidelines, so to a certain extent you should draw that line where it makes the most sense to you and try to be consistent from one stick figure to the next.

You can also take the guidelines further. In fact, I had done some sketches for lesson 5 showing how you can add additional guidelines to the stick figure, but decided to keep things simple. To help in this area especially, one can add some guidelines for the entire hip/pelvic region in the form of a box, or rectangle. You can also add additional guidelines to help define the rib cage area in the form of a box or rectangle. Here is the dancer from last lesson.



Just remember that the stick figure and these additional boxes are just guidelines to help you work out the pose and the proportions. Use as many guidelines as you wish. If you have other guidelines that you use, or learn about in other classes, feel free to incorporate them into your way of working.

More on Measuring

In the previous lesson we used “head measurements” to measure the other parts of the figure. Comparison measuring – comparing all your measurements to one constant length (in this case the length of the head) will enable you to lay out the proportions with reasonable accuracy. We also discussed using angles and plumb lines to help locate landmarks and measure. You may recall this figure from lesson 5 illustrating the use of the ”head measurement” to help lay out the proportions.



In lesson 3, we discussed various measuring techniques. Here’s a quick review of making “sighting” measurements, using a reference frame, using a grid, and working with negative space and shapes.

“Sighting” measurements are used when working from a live model. With your arm extended fully, you use an object (pastel, pencil, ruler, etc.) and your thumb to measure apparent distances. You can also make approximate angle measurements and try to sight horizontal and vertical plumb lines. You may recall these diagrams from lesson 3:



A helpful guideline in many circumstances is a reference frame. You can use a frame for the entire figure or for various parts. The frame gives you immediate feedback on the overall proportions of height and width and is the first step of making a grid.





Even a simple 1/2 division grid can be useful in locating various parts of the figure and the proportions. More divisions will give you more detailed information. Just make sure the proportions of your grid are the same on your reference and your painting.

Sometimes looking at the negative spaces will help you lay out your figure. And, as mentioned, the reference frame will create more negative spaces to help you lay out the figure. Notice that the frame creates 4 negative spaces in the bottom example.


I think a lot of newcomers to art have the feeling that really good artists (and certainly the great masters) don't need to measure. Certainly “the greats” could get all the proportions correct and everything just right just by looking, couldn’t they? Here are a couple of drawings by Degas, grids and all!



Generic measurements

As demonstrated in our portrait class, it is good to know the “generic” measurements, as they can often be a starting point to establishing the proportions. In figurative work, those generic measurements are not always the same, depending on what reference book you are using. Some older references mention 6½ or 7 heads as the height of an average person, but the average person has been getting progressively taller over the years. It just so happens that all the reference books that I have been using for these lessons use 7½ heads high as normal height, and 8 heads high as the ideal. Some books mention proportions for fashion illustration (8 ½ heads high) and heroic proportions (9 heads high). Here are the normal and ideal adult figure proportions, divided by head measurements. Keep in mind that the actual proportions of your model will almost always vary from these generic proportions.



You will notice that from the navel up, they are the same. It is the legs that are shorter in the normal versus the ideal. Here are front and side views of the ideal man and woman. All 3 of these illustrations are sketched from Andrew Loomis’s book “Figure Drawing: For All its Worth.”






One last word on generic measurements for the figure. In our portrait lessons, while we used and were aware of the generic measurements, the actual measurements of the model were used in order to get a likeness. In figurative work, it is not usually our goal to get a likeness, so using the generic proportions (either normal or ideal) is much more of an option.

A couple observations

Last lesson we looked at the curving nature of the figure and the importance of finding the hip and shoulder alignment. Let’s take a quick look at a couple other angles and curves that are often problem areas.

A couple of the books I have used for reference specifically mention that one should be aware that the neck comes up out of the torso at a forward angle, not straight up. The torso from the top of the back tilts downward toward the collarbones (red lines). The neck emerges from this downward tilting area. I didn’t have any photos that I could use, but I found some on the net that I traced.

One reason that the neck angle is misinterpreted is that the large neck muscle that comes down from just under the ear (blue arrow) is often quite vertical and clearly has a different angle than the neck itself.



Let’s take a look at the entire figure from the side. These, once again, are traced from actual photos. I have drawn in a turquoise line to once again show the downward tilt of the top of the torso. We will see that one can loosely draw a back and forth curve from neck to ankle (red line merging into blue line). Notice in particular, the “S” shaped curve of the legs from the side (blue line). The curve of the lower leg is often underestimated. Notice that the front of the thigh and the knee almost seems to hang over the shin bone which is recessed back (purple arrow).



One last observation – don’t forget the feet! I don’t mean you have to draw or paint them, but they are an important factor in how the body is balanced. People are rarely back on their heels – they are usually leaning slightly forward so that their balance is on the balls of the feet. Notice that the nose is almost over the toes!

Last edited by DAK723 : 09-12-2009 at 11:01 AM.
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

Edges and Transitions

In our portrait lessons (especially lesson 4) we discussed edges. We will take a little bit longer look at edges here in this lesson. Edges are often referred to as hard (sharp) or soft (blurry), but, in actuality, they are all varying degrees of hardness or softness. Contrast is also often a factor when describing edges – a greater amount of contrast on each side of your edge will act as a harder edge, where contrast is low, edges will seem softer. Soft edges that visually disappear are often referred to as “lost edges.”

Varying the degree of softness of your edges is usually a good idea and will help you manipulate the illusion of depth, of the roundness (or sharpness) of objects, and help you determine the emphasis that is placed on various parts of your composition. Of course, there are other factors that will contribute to the illusion of depth and of emphasis – color temperature, color intensity, and value contrasts (as discussed in lesson 3). These factors will all work together with your edge manipulation to help you achieve your results. In some cases, using these other methods may give you the results you want, and your edge manipulation will be minimal, but it is rare in drawing or painting to have all your edges the same.

We will be looking at both “outer” edges and “interior” edges. We will be examining interior edges where light and shadow meet. In many of these cases, where there is not a distinct edge, we will be looking at transitions.

Let’s take a look at some examples, starting with the most fundamental shapes, the box and the cylinder. And don’t forget, there are no rules when it comes to edges – you are the artist and you can deal with them as you wish. You can have all hard or all soft edges if that is the effect that you desire. But, in all likelihood, that is not the effect you will want, so knowing how to manipulate edges is a tool you will want to use.



Keep in mind that the following observations are mine. Hopefully you will see the same effects, but in some cases, the differences are subtle and different people may see them differently. In #1, the box has hard edges all around. In #2, I have softened the outer edges. This should put the focus on the nearer interior edges and also create a greater feeling of depth.



#3: I have softened the interior edges and the outer edges are sharp. It seems to flatten the box a bit and places emphasis on the outer edge – not usually what you want. It could depict a box with worn, rounded edges, too, although, if all the edges were rounded, it might look more like #4, where all the edges are softened. All soft edges might work for something in your painting that is in the background, or an element that is not the focal point, but it doesn’t grab your attention much, does it?



Here we demonstrate a more subtle difference. We revisit #2, where we have softened the outer edges, thus placing emphasis on the nearer, interior edges. For #5, I have kept the nearest corner edges sharp, but have softened parts of those interior edges as they move away from the front corner. This should narrow the focus even more to just that front corner of the box. Does it work? I think so.

Keep in mind that regardless of what we have done with the edges, we still recognize the shape as a box as long as we have enough other information, such as the outline shape and the obviously flat planes. But the changes in hardness and softness do change the way the box appears and how much (and where) we focus our attention on it.

Now the cylinder.



#1: A completely flat application of one value, but we do recognize that the shape is a cylinder due to the elliptical shapes on the top and bottom. #2: I apply a second value for the shadow as if the light is coming from the side. That hard edge where light and shadow meet looks odd however, as the cylinder is rounded. If you would not see the ellipses on the top and bottom, you would see this as two planes coming together, such as in the box. #3: Here, I soften the transition between light and shadow. It’s OK, but still looks kind of flat. #4: Let’s see what happens if I add more contrast. Does it make the nearest part of the cylinder come forward? I think it does because of the greater value contrast. I still have a soft edge and, although the transition zone is fairly small, it still reads like a rounded surface.



Now #4 looks pretty good to me, but what if I soften the outer edges of the cylinder? After all, those are receding edges. We saw with the box that edges that are moving away can be softened with good effect, making them recede even more. So, in #5, I soften the outer edges. It should (I hope) make it seem even rounder. Another way to help with the appearance of roundness and depth is to add a little reflected light on the shadow side. Often, there will be reflected light, although on the figure, it will not be so uniform as in #6. Notice also that the transition between the reflected light and the shadow is a very soft edge also.

One thing to be careful of is making the reflected light too light in value and too intense. Reflected light often appears to be lighter in value than it really is, because it is surrounded by dark values. The contrast often makes us misjudge the real value. You can see that in #7, the reflected light is too noticeable. It looks, not like reflected light, but a second light source shining on the cylinder.


Here’s one last example of manipulating edges, where we will look at overlapping objects. How can edges help us create the illusion of one object going behind another?



(#1) Here we have two objects that are behind our box. Or are they behind? Perhaps they are sticking out of the side of the box. All the edges are hard, and the edges of the diagonal objects go right up to the edge of the box. How can we make them look farther back behind the box? In #2, I soften the edges of the diagonals just as they meet the box. That pushes them back a bit, doesn’t it? The softening can be very minimal – just enough so that the hard edge does not meet the edge of the box. In #3, I soften the entire diagonal object. Compared to the hard edges of the box, they appear out of focus and farther back.

Hopefully these examples will give you a working knowledge of different ways to manipulate edges and transitions. Of course, figures are not boxes or cylinders, but the principles are still applicable. Many of the body shapes are cylindrical, and there are some that are box-like, too. Just remember that there are many variations and transitions in the figure, so avoid making an entire arm, for example, look exactly like a cylinder. My forearm may be cylindrical, but my wrist is more box-like, as is the palm of my hand. Also note that where the bones are closer to the surface – such as elbows, wrists, ankles - the edges might be sharper, with less transition.

Let’s see some examples of edges and transitions as painted by the Masters! Again, all interpretations are mine!

Let’s start with some half-figures (OK, they are portraits!)

This is a portrait of the artist Boucher, painted by Gustaf Lundberg. It is oil on canvas.



This first example has a wide range of edges with some that are very soft. My green arrows point to some of those very nice soft edges. The soft edge along his far cheek and jaw help that area recede and create the illusion of roundness. The same is true for the top of the hand and the finger. Compare that finger with the thumb (purple arrows), which is depicted with harder edges. The thumb comes forward, the finger recedes. Notice also that the lace of the shirt is harder than the finger, bringing the shirt edge forward and the finger back. The tip of the nose has some hard edges, in great contrast to the far edge of the face, bringing the nose forward.

My yellow arrows show areas where the contrast – both in value and color – is very minimal, thereby creating some soft and lost edges.

Let’s look at a similar portrait, in pastel, by Maurice Quentin de la Tour.



This painting has a much narrower range of edges. For the most part, edges are harder all around, but there is still some variety. The green arrows again show softer edges, but they are not as soft as in the previous example. Most softening is for areas that are receding or rounding away from the viewer. The purple arrows again show some of the harder edges. They draw our attention!

Next we’ll look at a Renoir (oil on canvas).

Renoir often painted figures in mostly frontal lighting. This reduces value contrasts and makes the transitions more subtle.



In this painting, Renoir has softened almost all the edges. I won’t draw any arrows this time, so you can better study the painting for yourself!

Notice the very smooth transitions from light to shadow on the upper arm. The other shadow shapes on the back and legs also have soft edges at the transition zone. In my mind, the hardest edges are at the hand (w/towel), and lower curve of the breast. Is that where Renoir wanted our attention to go? Do you find that area to be the focal area?

Here is one by Bouguereau, also oil on canvas:



In contrast to Renoir’s painting, the outer edges are considerably harder, but still have a touch of softness in many places. Whereas Renoir creates his sense of roundness by softening the outer receding edges, Bouguereau creates his roundness through the use of greater value contrast in his transitions and the use of reflected light.

Mainly I chose this painting for the wonderful sense of roundness of the thigh. Look at the smooth transition from light to shadow, the fairly dark shadow value, and the reflected light on the underside of the thigh. Very effective and very much like our cylinder example!

Last edited by DAK723 : 09-12-2009 at 11:23 AM.
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

Since this is the pastel forum, let’s take a look at some pastels by Degas! I chose this painting mainly so we could look at those soft edges and smooth transitions of the shadow shapes on her back. Notice also how the pastel strokes depicting the light are applied last. You can definitely tell in the area of the near shoulder blade – the light is painted over the darker values.



While many pastel books and instructors teach working from dark to light, I believe that you can work in any direction in pastel. I have done far more pastel figures where I started with the lightest shadow, then did the next darkest shadow, then the next darkest. Now, I often start with a middle shadow value and work in both directions. But no matter which steps I take, the lights always come last, or are reinforced at the end. That would be my recommendation, whether working in pastels or oils – regardless of subject, and especially true with any textured surface. There are two reasons. One, it will keep the light areas cleaner. If you do them last, you won’t smudge them or get them dirty by having pastel dust of darker pastel fall on them. The other reason, and we discussed this in a previous lesson (but it is worth repeating), is that the light strikes the topmost layer of things. In this case, the topmost layer of skin. So, if the light is striking (and reflecting off of) the topmost layer of your subject, then you want the pastel representing the light to be on the topmost layer of your paint surface to help reinforce the illusion.

Let’s take a look at another Degas and look more specifically at objects that are in front and behind.



First let’s look at the arm and glove. This area really seems to come forward due to the high contrast and hard edges (purple arrows). Compare those edges to the area directly behind that arm (yellow arrows). Very soft in comparison. Compare the edges at the top of the near woman’s hat, and the face and hair of the woman behind. Again, hard edge in front, soft edges behind. Let’s look right above the far woman’s head. We can see an actual smudge where that dark brown wall has been softened, pushing it well back. Notice also that not all the closer edges are hard. Degas seems to be choosing only some of them – the ones that he feels are the most important. And yet, there is one edge that bothers me – at the green arrow! That dark line seems to come right out of her nose! Now maybe in this reproduction the value and the color of that line and the nose are closer than in the original. Maybe at full size, there is a slight gap between line and nose. But if not (sorry Degas) then I would have softened that line to push it further back in space, as on the right.

Another Degas. I promise - I won’t alter this one!

Degas has created a nice sense of depth - partly because of the manipulation of edges, and also the use of value contrast. These two elements are working hand in hand to create depth and to place emphasis. The hardest edges and the greatest contrast are within the tub area – the feet, her right arm, and the hair – and extending up through her shoulder blades and left arm. Taking a closer look at the edges, we see hard edges (yellow arrows) at the front of the tub, the arms and the nearer foot. The edges of the tub become softer as we go around (purple arrows). Notice, too how soft the edges of her buttocks are as they recede and round away from the viewer. Also, the objects in the background (chair, drapes) are all painted with generally soft edges.



Again in this example, Degas also uses some softening where edges go behind (red arrows). But once again, Degas does not soften all of these types of edges - the green arrow points to a fold in that drape that runs directly into the outer thigh with no softening. Is there a reason that some of these “behind” edges aren’t softened? I don’t have an answer. Perhaps softening all the intersecting edges would create too much of a cut-out appearance, or perhaps a halo effect. It is something to observe and keep in mind, but personally, I would have softened that edge, too!

One note: This type of softening of an edge just at the point where it goes behind, is often very subtle. In full color paintings, there are often other methods to create depth in the object that is behind. One can use a change in value (the object behind may be in shadow at the point of intersection, for example), a change of color (hue), color intensity, and/or color temperature to create that delineation of what is in front and what is behind.


Here is another Renoir that uses hard and soft edges in all the ways we have discussed, harder and softer edges within individual figures as well as between multiple overlapping figures. Although there are many figures in this painting – as well as some still lifes and a landscape, too – it does not seem too busy to me. It could easily have been, but Renoir clearly directs our attention to only some of the areas. He does so by using many of the techniques we discussed in lesson 4 for creating emphasis – greater value contrast, brighter colors and color contrasts, and also the manipulation of edges. Let’s look at some of those edges.

Here is the full painting, one of Renoir’s masterpieces. I was lucky enough to see this in person a couple years ago. I will never forget it!



Let’s look at the sitting man in the straw hat, sitting closest to us. He is perhaps the first person we look at, certainly among the first. He looks much more in focus, so to speak, with harder edges, than most of the figures in the background. Compare his harder edges to the soft, blurry edges of the three people grouped directly above him (over the other man’s shoulder).

Let’s zoom in on some other areas below. As mentioned, in general, Renoir is making edges blurrier with distance to create depth through the entire painting. But there are exceptions! The woman on the rail (left) is further away than the group of three people on the far right of the painting and her edges are clearly harder. Renoir is clearly directing our attention in her direction. As we have seen, the edges of the group of three are all soft. We barely notice them in the painting. So Renoir has chosen to make some nearer edges softer and some more distant edges sharper purely for emphasis. In fact, the edges of the man in the top hat (middle close-up) look harder than the group of three, also, and he is much farther away.



What is interesting to me is that, even within the general pattern of softening the edges of the figures as they become more distant, almost every figure has some variety of harder and softer edges. A good example is the woman on the rail. She has hard edges on the edges of her arm, and the red edges of her blouse and the front rim of her hat, softer edges on her right shoulder and the most distant line of her back (yellow arrow).

That most distant line on her back is a good example of softening the edge as it goes behind a nearer object – in this case the man in the hat. Notice that the red shape of her belt (yellow arrow) is much softer where it goes behind the man’s cheek as opposed to elsewhere (purple arrow). In the middle close-up, notice the soft edges of the man in profile (green arrow). I think Renoir wants to keep him behind the other man’s shoulder. I’ve also drawn some red arrows where the edges are so soft, they become lost or close to lost.

One more Master to analyze – perhaps the most impressive figurative artist of them all...

...Rubens!

A couple examples:



Here is the entire painting. We will zoom in to look at the outer edges, interior transitions and reflected light. But first, take a quick look at the figures in the lower part of the painting. Did you not notice them much at first? Is that because the edges are softer (and the level of contrast lower) than the main characters above them?



Let’s zoom in a little. Rubens uses a lot of reflected light in this painting. My purple arrows point to many of his reflected light areas (concentrating on the male figure). Note also that the reflected light is always a darker value than the areas in the light. There should never be any doubt that the reflected light is part of and within the shadow area. Blue arrows point the dark shadow transitions.

My green arrows point to some of the softer exterior edges, and yellow arrows to the few harder edges (concentrating mainly on the female figure). Note that most of the harder edges are located on her face, quite likely the primary focal area.

One more Rubens, with the focus on the cylindrical shapes.



My arrows point to a number of places where the general cylindrical form is depicted with light, transitioning to shadow (often quite dark in value) then transitioning to reflected light. When using reflected light, always keep in mind the color of the surface that is doing the reflecting. In this case, and in many cases with the figure, the light is reflecting from the skin of other parts of the figure. It also looks like there is some red in the reflected light in places, reflecting the red fabric, or other warm colors reflecting off the lions.

As I looked at literally hundreds of paintings in preparation for this lesson, I was struck by the incredible variety of ways that artist’s manipulate edges. So the one overwhelming opinion that I formed was that none of these examples should be viewed as rules or the only way to treat edges. I tried to choose examples with some variety, but really, I only scratched the surface. You will no doubt notice in these examples that there are places where there is little or no softening of a receding edge, or a distant edge, or an edge that goes behind. The artists seem to be picking and choosing their edge manipulation – not by following rules or formulas – but by manipulating edges when needed or for a specific effect. Also, the range of hardness and softness varied a great deal. Some of the paintings had a wide range of edges; others had a very minimal range. Some are mainly soft – some are mainly hard. Here are just a couple more examples of the wide variety possible:



On the left, Renoir’s “Gypsy Girl.” Especially soft exterior edges, including some lost edges. Soft interior edges, too, with just a couple harder edges. On the right, Michelangelo’s “Doni Tondo.” Very hard exterior edges all around, but beautiful soft interior transitions, especially in the fabric! Some may prefer one style of edge manipulation to the other, but, personally, I find that both of these paintings are fantastic!

Again, I hope this illustrates that there are many ways to treat edges. And if nothing else, that I have given you a start on your study of edges as you continue on your artistic journey!


A Note on Faces

Many folks, when they first start figure drawing or painting, get very absorbed in the face. Not only beginners can get caught painting in the facial features before they even begin laying out the entire figure. Usually, this results in a painting that is out of proportion, or with far more detail in the facial features than in the figure, resulting in an unbalanced painting. This is one reason that I recommend the stick figure/value map approach, so that the details (facial features!) are done after the big shapes and the figure proportions are already worked out.

All that being said, the artist still needs to decide how much emphasis to put on the face. It is quite likely, as it is a normal human reaction, that the viewer will look at the face first or consider it to be the focal area. For this reason, the artist needs to consider whether to minimize the focus on the face, especially if it is not intended to be the focal area. In many cases, you might want to use less detail and softer edges than you might normally think. Take another look at the Renoir and the Bouguereau. Renoir’s face is softened quite a bit without much detail. The hair actually has many lost edges, blending right into the background. Bouguereau’s face is done with the same amount (or perhaps slightly more) hard edges than the rest of the figure. It attracts my attention quite a bit more than the face in the Renoir painting. Just another thing to think about!


Last edited by DAK723 : 09-12-2009 at 11:54 AM.
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

Edges Exercise

OK, I’ve done a lot of observing, but now I’ll do some painting. Here’s a demo. I’ll discuss all aspects of the figure lessons so far, but focusing on my edges and transitions. Again, there is no right or wrong way, but I’ll try to explain some of my thinking and my decisions. I’ll be doing a partial copy of this Degas:



I start with a stick figure (left). I check the shoulder, elbow and wrist locations and notice that her right arm is off. You’ll notice on the right, that I make the adjustments to the wrist and shoulder locations. It’s easy to do at this stage! I begin sketching in a rough outline.



Below left, I begin mapping out my shadow value shapes. On the right, I blend in the pastel to better cover the paper. Obviously, blending or not is your choice.

I am using Girault soft pastels on Strathmore series 500 paper (smoother side) – which is virtually identical to Canson. The size is approx. 16" x 24".



Next I add the value shapes for the lights and put in my initial background. I usually like to add a bit of the background color into the shadow flesh color, too.

It is always a good idea – regardless of subject matter – to link some of your shadow shapes and your light shapes. Linking the value shapes simplifies the composition and creates unity. By starting with these large value shapes – and not getting into the details at this stage – we are already creating some softer or lost edges. As we progress, and get more detailed, we will also make decisions regarding those edges. As discussed, those decisions are not easy and often subtle.



At this stage we have the basic foundation in place. It is time to add more intermediate values and more colors to the costume and skin tones. I also want to soften the interior edges of the arms. Right now, the edge between light and shadow is hard with no transition. That is what I will work on next.



Above left, I have created those transitions. I’ve also made some corrections to the left (our right) shoulder area, and begun adding more colors to the dress and the skin. I am not happy with the neck and her left shoulder and arm. I want to soften those edges and the edges of the back of her hair where it comes down to the neck. Those areas are too noticeable.

On the right is the final version. I am pretty happy with the variety of edges and there are actually some lost edges – something I rarely accomplish! I created some lost edges at the back of the head and neck, also between her upper left arm and the costume, and a few other small ones! I added some reflected light to the bottom portion of the arms and I also reinforced the lightest lights, using some Degas-like visible strokes!

OK, now it is your turn! There is no doubt that doing an entire figure can be intimidating so it is quite alright to do just part of a figure as I have. Feel free to use any of the examples from the Masters from earlier in the lesson.

Practice doing the stick figures. Work on some value maps – keep it loose!

Play with edges. Have fun!

Feel free to use some of the reference photos from Lesson 5. And here are some more references from the Masters!

Another Degas:



Two additional Bouguereaus:





And here is a Rubens from the lesson, without the arrows in the way!



For those who are really ambitious and also into wildlife art, here is the entire painting!



I'm almost speechless! What a painting!!

Special thanks to the many websites I used to gather these paintings by the Masters! Here are some:

http://www.edgar-degas.org/

http://www.bouguereau.org/

http://www.peterpaulrubens.org/

Olga's Gallery: http://www.abcgallery.com/

http://www.pierre-auguste-renoir.org/

http://www.renoirgallery.com/

Please visit them often!

OK, the lesson is over, but really, it has just begun...Let’s Paint!

Please post your paintings, experiments, stick figures, etc. right here in the thread! Please ask any questions. Post your observations and experiences. It’s a classroom – let’s learn from one another!

Next lesson: We’ll discuss Rhythm, Foreshortening, Flesh Tones, Distortion and anything else I can think of to wrap up these lessons!
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:31 PM
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

Wow, thank you, Don, for the very very detailed lesson on lighting and edges. I haven't noticed these small points before and have learnt a lot just reading through this. I'm excited about trying a piece finally.
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:51 PM
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

Wonderful! Especially love your "comptetition" with Degas!

This lesson has to get stars!

Charlie
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Old 09-12-2009, 04:05 PM
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

This is my first time using soft pastel for a person of some sort and I am not sure what I am doing really in colors. But I did draw a grid and colored over it and when I sprayed fixative over it, it blew away the top layer and so the grid surfaced again. This is Canson 90 lb watercolor paper 9x12 inch with acrylic ground brushed on it and it has markings of its own after it dried.



I don't know how to use the square pastel stick to put outline to the arm holding the sponge in the front without it looking like a line. I used a little brush to mix it but it only brushed the blue away.
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Old 09-12-2009, 04:20 PM
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

don this is an incredible addition to your lessons. i have observed a lot , but i think i will have to read this a few times!!! many thanks. ginger
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:40 PM
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

Hi Sandra! Wow, that was fast - I wasn't expecting any paintings yet! As someone who worked in pencils for the early part of my artistic career, I am not usually sure what I am doing in colors either! If you look closely at most of these lessons, you will see that my colors are quite monochromatic! And, of course, that is one approach - to keep the skin tones fairly monochromatic. On the other hand, you have used a good approach as well, using a light warm color for skin in the light and a cool color (blue) for the skin in shadow. I think that makes a good foundation, but usually you will need some additional colors and values to fill things out a bit more. Which leads to the next question when using pastels - how many more layers can I apply? And can I apply additional layers without just plowing through or pushing away the layers that are already there. So the type of paper can make a big difference, as well as the hardness or softness of the particular brands of pastels being used.

Although I have heard of some folks using a brush with pastels, in my experience it just brushes pastel away.

You mention outlines, but I think the arm mentioned is quite successful. The color for the bottom of the tub comes up against the arm creating a definite edge. One thing that I would recommend - although many people are successful working fairly small in pastel - is to work larger, because it is hard to create thin lines or areas in pastel. The pastel I do in the demo is 16" x 24" and it is zoomed in to a half figure! I could never do this reference on paper as small as 9" x 12"!

This painting looks good, by the way! The proportions look quite accurate! I look forward to your next painting!

Don


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Originally Posted by gakinme
This is my first time using soft pastel for a person of some sort and I am not sure what I am doing really in colors. But I did draw a grid and colored over it and when I sprayed fixative over it, it blew away the top layer and so the grid surfaced again. This is Canson 90 lb watercolor paper 9x12 inch with acrylic ground brushed on it and it has markings of its own after it dried.



I don't know how to use the square pastel stick to put outline to the arm holding the sponge in the front without it looking like a line. I used a little brush to mix it but it only brushed the blue away.
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:42 PM
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

And thank you Sandra, Charlie and Ginger for the nice comments!!

Don
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:47 PM
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

sandra! good for you!!!!! i always loved this painting! ginger
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:59 PM
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

Oh, it pass inspection? haha...Thank you, Don. Really appreciate your comments. I read from the last lesson that you actually use large newsprint for soft pastel? It really works and even without fixative or acrylic ground?

Thank you, ginger, for your comment.
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:28 AM
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

Don, This is absolutely one of the BEST things going on WC!!! 5 stars!!!
I'm so happy that school is back in session...I promise to not be tardy
Thank you so very much!!!

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Old 09-13-2009, 12:31 PM
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by gakinme
Oh, it pass inspection? haha...Thank you, Don. Really appreciate your comments. I read from the last lesson that you actually use large newsprint for soft pastel? It really works and even without fixative or acrylic ground?

Thank you, ginger, for your comment.

Sandra,

I used to use newsprint in college for my pastel figure drawings - they really were more drawings than paintings - and they were extremely simple, maybe using no more than 4 or 5 pastels. Perhaps I'll get a chance to post a couple. And yes, they were sprayed with fixative. Those college pieces are over 30 years old now - yikes!!

There was no layering of pastel, really, just side-by-side blending mostly. I'll have to do an experiment with newsprint to see how it compares with Canson! Of course, newsprint is fragile, so I wouldn't really recommend it for anything you want to save.

Don
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:32 PM
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Re: ESP - Portrait & Figure Fundamentals - Lesson 6: The Figure, Part 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracy Lang
Don, This is absolutely one of the BEST things going on WC!!! 5 stars!!!
I'm so happy that school is back in session...I promise to not be tardy
Thank you so very much!!!

Tracy

Thanks, Tracy!

Don
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