Tag Archives: James Gurney

Master Studies

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ffgnbfskulderblad_casen_feb_14Above: a master study of John Singer Sargent’s amazing portrait of a beduin.  I’ve never done master studies before, so decided to try them out as a way of developing a deeper understanding of how color and images work. I have never really understood why artist do master studies before I listened to this great video my the skilled Noah Bradley (video here). Studies of the work of established artists and image creators helps one understand what really goes into creating a drawing/painting. It also helps you in develop an understanding of when a painting is “finished”. I learned so much from doing this short study. Had no idea about the variety of colors that went into that image. For example the eyes are yellow if you color pick them, but your mind still tricks you into thinking they are white, because “that’s the color eyes should have”. Amazing!

So much red in a portrait that looks brown at a first glance. I did a fair amount of color picking with the tool in Photoshop, but even so I learned a lot. Next challenge will be to only use the color picket to double check if I managed to pick the colors correctly by eye. Hopefully in the end I will not need it at all, and then be able to create my own images from scratch.

The onion study is of an onion I found in my kitchen this afternoon. Onions are great objects to practice light and shadow with since they have a lot of interesting reflections going on. It’s also pretty easy to look for all the different light and shadow properties like the core shadow, the terminator, cast shadows and so on. It’s a bit like buying a marble and painting it in Lambert gray to do light/shadow studies, but more convenient and cheaper. After reading (and re-reading on the flight back home) the excellent book “Light and Color” by James Gurney the past week I feel so excited and hyped about really sinking my teeth into all that stuff. It’s like when I read Andrew Loomis’ books last year; I get so many revelations about art I feel like I have been guessing my whole life when painting or drawing. It makes you realize how much you actually suck, but that’s OK. You can’t improve if you don’t learn how little you actually know about something!

Some heads that I made in my sketch book while on vacation last week, and some anatomy studies of bones. I’m trying to go back to the basics and really learn them properly. Kinda dull work, but It needs to be done since I seem to lack A LOT of understanding about anatomy, perspective, light and color.