Sunday 25 November 2012

Drawing from the Masters -Tone

This weeks session at the National Gallery was on tone and I'm starting out this time with what  I achieved - my interpretation of 'The Virgin in Prayer' by Sassoferato. It took me long time to choose a subject to draw  despite having choice from a limited  number of rooms so I only had an hour. But I'm learning to look beyond the subject matter which doesn't necessarily appeal to the underlying structure. The more I drew , the more excited I got, finding repetitive shapes (especially triangles) and connections  and I realised that  it reminded me a lot of the neoclassical period of Picasso.

As in previous weeks we started with an hours gallery tour picking out particular aspects of a few paintings. The first was Leonardo Da Vincis'  Burlington House Cartoon .  It's modelled with relatively few tones - the same tone can look different optically  according to what it's' next to   so it's critical to keep making comparisons. This  was what we were to look for and bring out in our sketches - so no pressure then!  
After looking at  the 'Virgin of the Rocks' to see how that had been carried through into paint,  we spent some time debating whether the background blue of Bellinis's 'The Doge, Leonardo Loredan'was the same throughout (it is) as it looks lighter against the RH side in shadow . The complimentary orange of his cap adds to this.
The effect was even more dramatic in the Chiaroscuro of ' St Francis in Meditation' by Zurbaran
We finished by looking at Seurat's 'Bathers at Asinieres' ( and the  oil sketches alongside). While we waiting for a slot among all the tour groups, we were shown some of the sketches in an exhibition catalogue where he'd started  with details such as folds in the  shirt fabric but then had simplified.   I'd forgotten how much I liked  his drawings,   so was pleased when I got home  to  track down a book I bought  over 30 years ago.
Next week we have 3 hours 'sustained drawing' putting everything that we have learnt on form, tone and composition into practise. Ideally we have to know what we want to draw beforehand so  the tutor can track down where we are!  I've  narrowed it down to about 8 (!)  and will  probably go a bit earlier than normal see  what the light's like ( some rooms are a bit dark) and whether there is comfy seating nearby  before I decide.

1 comment:

Margaret Cooter said...

This looks like a real eye-opener! Even at second-hand, feel my eyes opened ... what must it be like to be getting the guidance on looking, and then sitting down to look and draw!