09 May 2009

If you have taken a class with me in the last five years then you will remember "passages" or you really had some substance help you forget. After giving my "painting as process" tour tonight at the Met to a few private students, I am very heightened to the fact that the artists 
from at least the 15th century have found the surface and form of the elements of the picture, people, plants, cats, Jesus, etc. to be worthy of depiction (showing). The space around the elements become a factor of unity, literally, physically painted or drawn to link all the elements. So consider drawing the surface and direction of the form you are depicting in a tangible way.

This generalized depiction, from a model, shows the torso in two views from the hip. It emphasizes the combination of lines in length with lines around. So a passage is a channel, a way through and not a style. Voyage, path, progress, change; a few more definitions of passage. All are pertinent to the practice. 

07 May 2009

One of the most important practices I stress in class is to create multiple figure compositions from the random (or deliberate) poses
of the model you work with. Understanding the linking of bodies as a compositional force is fundamental to the design of a work. Here, the three 7 minute drawings were done consecutively, the frontal standing one first. The layers (overlap) emphasize the space in the page. The placement of the feet and hip establish a consistent ground-plane. The order is this: on the page, in the same space, on the same ground-plane. Only this last condition includes the previous. You can practice with objects on a table and short studies, 7-20 minutes, identifying the forms and space, not the light and shapes. Try it out.

24 April 2009


There are countless examples in drawing history. Some really grand ones are shown in detail from Michaelangelo, Klimt, Matisse and Augustus St.John. 

23 April 2009


Some recent demonstrations showing the use of passages, a term I use in class to describe lines that will follow the form surface, with its length or around it. It is important that it is a general term and not a strict technique so that it can be played with as an idea in practice. 

 ©Stephen Gaffney 2009