Thursday, January 11, 2007

Last of the 'Drawn' Portraits

Two sketches today because yesterday my drawing time was spent in a traffic snarl resulting from a four car accident. Things like that always make me thankful to arrive home, even when late.

Anyway, this post represents the last two of the more "drawing-style" portraits in the book I am working through. Sargent's next thirty or so are in more of a painterly-style. He also did the rest in charcoal as opposed to pencil. They should be quite a challenge for me. I hope to stay with pencil myself as I work through them - with 3 little boys around I need a more "drop-at-a-moment-and-dash-to-the-disaster" kind of medium than charcoal, we'll see.

As for these two, there are a few points of interest. The first is a man with predominantly white or graying hairs on an equally light background. My first instinct would be to throw in a dark background to reveal him, but I assume that would have changed the mood to something Sargent didn't want. His sparing use of line creates the illusion of all that bushy white hair even on the light background. (NB. The lips are suggested with two blotches of darkness! Sargent is a master!)

Secondly, on the Duchess of Marlborough portrait I'm going to make a wild conjecture. He saw her turn at this angle and fell in love with the line of her face and neck. As you look at his work, the line down the side of her face and her neckline on the same side are two bold, confident strokes. There is evidence (in his drawing) of work around her left eye for the right shape, but the rest of it is very plain vanilla tonal work and outline to get the basics. So, I'm guessing that the edge of her face and neck entranced him. (On other work I have dashed to capture a specific line or edge I see that grabs my interest and then found that the rest of the object I just didn't care about.)

That's the offering for today...

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