Monday, April 30, 2012

Painter's First Necessity: Harold Speed 6

This colored pencil drawing I did as part of an oil painting class with Susan Carlin. This drawing was built up in masses of color - refined to different degrees throughout it.
This post contains highlights from chapter 5, entitled Mass Drawing, of Harold Speed's book on drawing. This is the sixth post in the series, you can find all of the posts on my favorites page.

"If only the accurate copying of the appearances of nature were the sole object of art (an idea to be met with among students) the problem of painting would be simpler than it is, and would be likely ere long to be solved by the photographic camera."
-- Harold Speed

"...the problem of painting would be simpler than it is..." Another way to say that - it is harder to be more than camera than it is to be just a camera. In our day and age, where everything seems to have a camera as part of it, it is vital to be more than a camera as an artist. After all, add a photoshop sketch filter to the camera set up and you have a accurate camera drawing.

"The reducing of a complicated appearance to a few simple masses is the first necessity of the painter."
-- Harold Speed

Speed doesn't say how to achieve those simple masses - that is coming up in another chapter. He also makes the point that the painter must deal with masses as he has a brush fat with paint in his hand and not a pencil. With the limited painting experience I have, he is indeed right - it isn't easy to maintain a fine line with a brush for very long in painting.

I work with pencils and not brushes but I do try to work in masses first. Especially with colored pencil - a medium requiring lots of layering - it has improved my work to think in terms of big chunks of color that I refine with each layer. I might make small thin lines individually, but I lay them down in big masses on the paper (all jammed together).


Teresa said...

Wonderful post and your painting is awesome! Wow!

Rose Welty said...

Thanks Teresa!