Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Will Take All The Help I Can Get!

Page from: Basic Design Principles Vol 1, Manfred Maier
It has taken me a bit longer to set up the cello and cornet still life than I had anticipated. Perhaps I should just not anticipate but just let it be what it will be. I had to rearrange and re-rearrange my little studio area to find a way to set it up and still be able to draw and paint it. As it is, it is tight quarters. This painting will push me into a lot of firsts. This will be the largest painting I have made to date. I wanted to make it about life size. After setting up, arranging the composition, taking photos to analyze the composition, and then rearranging the composition, I have arrived at a starting point. I will have to build my own canvas, another first for me. The canvas will be 22" x 40". Only about half of the cello will be visible. 
I had visions of having the cornet sort of floating above and to the side of the cello at a rather saucy angle. It just looked too strange. I ended up bowing to reality and grounded the cornet on the same plane as the cello. 
This afternoon I started the preliminary drawing and block in. I am working on getting the proportions and angles set. As I was working, trying to gauge where the scroll of the cello will fit on the paper, I had flashbacks to art school and a particular exercise that included the scroll of a violin. It is a pretty challenging object to render. When I was in school, our teacher showed us some wonderful books by Manfred Maier. They are a four volume set called Basic Design Principles. I will add right here that they are out of print and quite pricey. I was smart enough a few years ago to immediately buy a copy of Vol 1, which seemed the most helpful to me. It was expensive then, but the price has pretty much doubled since I bought it. The books are technical and this one shows complex lines of perspective and construction. As I stared at the cello scroll and thought... uh oh.., I fortunately remembered I had this book and it had a rendering of a cello scroll. The picture above is a photo of the page. Of course, I have the cello in a completely different position and angle but looking at the drawing steadied me enough to take a deep breath and know that I will be able to do it. I should mention, the drawing is not to copy but to give me the direction needed to interpret and render what I am seeing in front of me. It really is a huge help!
I plan to film the process and put it into a time lapse video, another first. I am thinking that I will post video chapters here and then put it all together in a final video when the painting is through. 
It feels good to be going on this. Once it is well under way I will add another composition to work on and trade off. 
The blog posts on this one are going to start off slow. I have a deadline in mind for this painting so I will have that to drive me through the challenges.
A final image for you, as I sit here creating this post, night has fallen and the tide has come in. I can hear the ocean roaring away in the background. My dog Twill is stretched out at my feet in front of the woodstove. Sounds more like a winter scene but Spring has been cold and wet here, and slow to show her face. May you all be surrounded by peace and beauty. 

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