Alma-Tadema, Self Portrait
Hayez, Self Portrait
I have always had a difficult time with labels. I understand the human need for order out of chaos, but grey areas are always difficult to classify. That is one reason I do not know how to respond to the well-intended compliment, "Your drawing looks just like a photograph!"
I have been working here in Florence, Italy, for a while now and one thing that I am focusing on is design. Namely, that what appears as realistic in art is actually an organization of abstracted shapes created by the artist, but inspired by Nature. While I do consider photography to be an art form, I am now speaking of the traditional fine art media of drawing and painting - and generally how they differ from the look of photography.
To try to fully understand this concept, I have been studying portraiture. I include on this page
some images I had on hand of 19th century British and Italian paintings and drawings. I think it would be safe to say that even someone unfamiliar with art and its lingo would call these works "realistic" while at the same time never confuse them with photographs. These artworks LOOK like real and believable individuals, but without the reality of standard photography. Does this help you see what I am getting at? It is a visual concept and so images are the best way to describe the process.
I am also including here some recent images of a drawing that I started on this week. While I am drawing Jessica's full body, these close-up images of the face show my process of design a little bit (and how often I change my mind about the shapes and tones). Perhaps you can see the star-shape of the shadow in the eye area? The shape of this shadow changes depending on whether the model's eyes are open or closed since the 'legs of the star' are created by her eyelashes. I get to choose the shape that pleases me.
Follow my blog if you would like to watch the creation of this drawing.
Artist: Leighton Burton