Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ear Cast Drawing Process, Part 2

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The drawing is 9.25" x 6" inches
     I have learned much about modelling form during the process of drawing the ear cast.  This post is a summary of the important aspects of modeling form that I gained insight into from my instructor, Jeremy Deck, at The Cambridge Street Studios.  Footnotes are included in this post to indicate which sentences in this post are summarizations of ideas that Jeremy Deck has explained to me.

     One of the most important things that I have learned is the importance of being deliberate about the decisions that I make while drawing.  Although graphite allows for endless reworking with no loss of a smooth surface quality it is important to be deliberate in the decisions one makes while drawing.  The practice of deliberate drawing allows for the facilitation of the transition from graphite to paint.¹  Because the opaque quality of paint in direct form painting causes the loss of a smooth surface with the addition of multiple layers of paint it is important to be deliberate about one's decisions when painting.  The goal of practicing deliberate decisions in graphite is to develop one's ability to make deliberate decisions while painting.¹  This practice is very important if a smooth finish in the surface of a painting is desired.  And that quality should be desired if the highest resolution of accuracy in a painting is the goal because the final surface of a painting describes the forms depicted within it.  Deliberate decisions in paint not only produce a surface with a high resolution of form but more importantly, deliberate decisions allow for more of a tactile evaluation and realization of form both in graphite and paint.  Towards this end, I try to be as deliberate as possible about making sure that each micro-plane I draw is accurate so that I will have little reworking to do.  Of course I still  have to rework a lot but I have found that the more I practice deliberate drawing the less reworking I have to do when I start a new strip of form.
     Also while drawing the ear cast I learned the importance of the planarization stage of modelling. By skipping the gradation stage of modelling a strip and going straight to the planarization stage one can gain a more accurate representation of the forms that one sees.¹  It was important for me to practice the gradation step at the beginning of my cast drawing so that I could develop the skill of seeing past the values of shapes and see that the values of the shapes are rolling towards and away from a light source.  But once I understood that concept it became more beneficial to start modelling a strip of form with planarization.¹  I noticed that by focusing on the planes at first I was able to more accurately resolve the shape of the planes and their position in relation to a light source.¹  I realized that the more accurately that I draw the planes of a form before marbling the less reworking I had to do.¹  The same process of laying in a strip with lines that run at a perpendicular angle to the most amount of change of light on form that was used during the gradation stage is also used in the planarization stage with this process.¹
     I was surprised by how much I learned about modelling while drawing the wall.  Although the wall seemed flat at first I realized that it contained many subtle rolls.  And I developed greater specificity in marbling form by modelling the wall.  One process that really helped with modelling the large planes of the wall that were barely turning was to include the details soon after I started to marble a form.¹  Below are photos of my drawing of the wall before and after I included the details.

 I found it much easier to marble between smaller areas of details than to try to marble large planes of form.  Rolling in and out of the small details allowed me to get a more tactile sense of the form.  Once that tactile believability was created it was much easier to connect the larger form to what I had already marbled.
     Another effect that I had to deal with while drawing the wall was penumbra.   The diagram below is a visual example of the concept of penumbra.

Light comes from all directions in the light source but only certain light rays travel at an angle to touch the sides of an object.  Umbra is caused by the light rays that extend to touch the object and create an area of shadow that is completely occluded from the light source.  Penumbra is caused by the light rays that extend to touch the object and create an area that is partially occluded from the light source.  The less an area of penumbra is occluded from the light source the lighter it is.  My instructor, Jeremy Deck, showed me how to make a diagram that represents the effect of penumbra.

 This 3-D diagram of penumbra that has been divided into quarters may provide an easier way to see the concept of the penumbra becoming lighter as it is more exposed to the light source.  The area of penumbra closest to the umbra is quite dark because it is very much occluded from the light source by the cube above it, while the furthest out area of penumbra is very light in value because it is exposed to much of the light source.
Having an understanding of the concepts that create shadows allowed for me to have a clearer understanding of what I was drawing while I was drawing  the area of penumbra and shadow on the wall.  Although the penumbra looks soft in life it is actually composed of many specific areas of shadow. So I approached the drawing of the penumbra by conceptually organizing my gradations in the penumbra to their respective values.  With this type of specification in thought I was able to more accurately evaluate the subtle gradations within the penumbra.

     Also, the wall offered me my first opportunity to deal with fall off in value.  Although the ear cast is small there was a slight amount of fall of in value on the wall in relation to the ear because the wall was far enough away from light that was focused on the center of the ear.

By placing a flat piece of paper next to my cast I was able to discern just how much the fall off in value was.¹  Due to this effect I had to be careful to only compare the planes on the wall to itself and not anything inside of the ear.
     The only other new phenomenon that I learned about while drawing the ear cast was inter-diffuse reflection.  It was amazing to see that because the hollow spot in the ear is placed directly behind a form that is facing the light the diffuse reflection bounces back and forth between the two surfaces to reflect so many photons of light that the hollow spot in the ear cast becomes brighter than any highlight on the ear cast.
     I definitely learned a lot from this cast drawing and am excited work on my next cast drawing.  

¹ Jeremy Deck, personal communication, 2013.

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