WORKS IN PROGRESS
This is what is currently on my easel and hopefully will show the process I use in creating my artwork.
Conte Figure Study
Updated July 13, 2006
June 28, 2006
Now that East Meets West is signed and off the easel I'm going to finish up this conte' figure study I've started.
17 x 7.5 inches on Fabriano Tizianno medium gray
I wanted a chiaroscuro effect (light fading into darkness) and cool shadow temperatures. I have worked down to the waist since this stage and will upload an update soon.
July 1, 2006
Here are two stages...to the waist as promised and with the top buttock blocked in. Conte works a bit differently than oil, I use many layers, but since they are opaque I use my finger as sort of a pouncing tool allowing not only the under color to show, but sometimes I allow some of the paper tone to work with me also. It's not an exact science, the order of the colors I lay down change area to area. I'm using yellow, blue, magenta, pink, salmon and occasionally a hint of white or charcoal. Once in awhile I toss in a touch of orange for a reflected warm in the cools. Right now I'm trying to get color temperature and a flow of tonality to round the form. At the end I will go back in to emphasize color.
I had planned to take this a bit further today, but I am drawing this in natural light and we've got unusual wet weather for this time of year, so decided to leave it until I have better light to work with. I am still basically blocking in colors and tones, but I will have to go back to curve things a bit more, and recede some areas. I brought in some warms for accent of key areas but will need the right color temperature transitions to make them work. Once the whole figure is blocked in it's a lot easier to see the areas that need work. I guess I'm more concerned with tonal contrast at this point, and getting the basic skin colors down. This is about 2 hours worth, I went back and softened/cooled the shoulder blades and the muscles lying next to the spine and worked on getting the weight of the body to show its effect where it rests on the surface.
The contes are interesting to work with, similar to pastels, but with a much more limited range of colors. But they are easy to blend if the darker color is applied first with a light layer over it and soft pouncing to the correct tone. In the very lightest areas I start bright and pounce back to a warmer or cooler color.
Well, can sure see a huge difference! This photo is a touch exaggerated, due to the smoothing from compression when I scale it for web viewing. But the colors and tones are very close and the background warms are showing up more due to the warming in the figure. What's different is the smooth effect...in real life the drawing marks are more evident, and not quite so plastic in appearance. So...I did a little re-arranging of the shoulder blade as it was a touch off and not quite the line I wanted, and lightly ran the warm orange tones into and over some of the cool areas to get more of a glow and contrast with the areas I want very cool. I'm pushing some of the warms to keep the attention where I want it, at this point I'm finally starting to see the drawing begin to match the picture in my head.
July 13, 2006
Well, am calling this done. This is as close as I can get on a digital photo to the true colors and softness. My objectives when I started this study were to use color temperature contrasts and to allow the figure to fade in and out of the paper surface. The colors are softer and more diffused now with what I hope is a realistic glow. My biggest challenge was getting the legs to properly recede while still showing the shape of the inner knee and calf muscle. I completely put away my reference the last hour, and spent as much time studying this away from the easel as actually working on it. Every time I'd think that's it, something else would catch my eye, but eventually it gave me the flow I was looking for and I signed it. Yes, the signature is there but I like to choose a color from the composition that will not be prominent, as the work is about the subject, not the artist, at least in my view. I hope you enjoyed following along on this piece...stay tuned as I'll be starting a new WIP in the near future!