Sunday, 23 March 2014

Analysis of Reproductions

Analysis of Reproductions - Darks
Based on "Lighthouse at Two Lights" by Edward Hopper
3 March 2014
Graphite Pencil on Paper
16.5cm x 11.5cm (6.5" x 4.5")

I am persevering with the Composition from Reproductions and Analysis of Reproductions exercises from the Natural Way to Draw (see Composition from Reproductions). Kimon Nicolaides suggests doing the exercises for 4 years, so I have a few years to go.

The Composition from Reproductions exercise involves drawing small gesture studies from works of art. Nicolaides specifies they are to be done quickly and I use a two minute time limit for each study. The Analysis of Reproductions exercise is an extension of the basic exercise and uses the gesture studies from the original exercise as a starting point. It has three variations:

  • Take one of the gesture studies and spot in the dark areas of the composition
  • Turn one of the gesture studies upside down and use it as a starting point for a gesture study of something you have recently seen or done
  • Take one of the gesture studies and analyse the straight and curved lines in the composition

I approach these analysis exercises in a more relaxed way and spend up to 10 minutes on each study.

I work on a 5 week cycle - Composition from Reproductions exercises for 4 weeks (studying a different artist each week) and Analysis of Reproductions on the fifth week. So far I've studied works from 48 artists. I aim to spend about 40 minutes a week on the exercises, but when I am busy, this is the first thing I drop from my schedule.

I have a love hate relationship with the basic composition exercise. It’s enjoyable to study an artist’s work for 40 minutes, but sometimes I question the benefit of the frantic scribbling. If nothing else, it provides input for the analysis exercises which I always enjoy and find useful.

The Edward Hooper study at the top of the post is from my last round of analysis exercises (you can see the original here Hopper makes dramatic use of light and dark. His pictures lend themselves to this sort of analysis. After completing this study, it struck me how this exercise has correlations with the simplified landscapes from chapter 7 of Keys To Drawing (see Keys to Drawing - Chapter 7) and the Studio Rousar Memory Drawing Group exercises (see Studio Rousar Memory Drawing Group - Weeks 24 to 27.

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