Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Figure Studies IV

>acrylic on bristol, 19 x 24"

>acrylic on bristol, 19 x 24"

Figure Studies
Those of you with astute eyes will notice that I posted old, student paintings in lieu of last week's figure drawing session. The drawings I did last week were boring, and I was craving for a large piece of charcaol or a brush loaded with paint. In my excitement, I brought a pallete, some tubes of acrylic, and a variety of brushes to the following workshop -- and forgot how damned difficult it all was, missing the immediacy of the pen while mixing colors or cleaning the brush. This was probably the second time I had painted the figure in short poses, so everything was new and frustrating. Sometimes you need to destroy what you've built up to gain new insight and direction. After winning his first major European art award, Rauschenberg destroyed his silkscreens so that he wouldn't recycle himself. So out of the whole night, I ended up with a couple of figure studies which assumed a coherence that was unexpected and refreshing.


P said...

Great works. The top one is filled with so much energy and sexuality. the way you caught her glancing at you is nothing short of extraordinary.
Sound to me that you are rethinking your illustration work process... or maybe I'm reading stuff between the lines that is not even there.

12:56 AM  
Juan Navarro said...

I think both sets have there qualities. While this yes, has much more expressive brush, the other shows more technique and skill, relying on that cold pencil line to tell us everything. Both equally make ashamed of my skill as rush back to draw and hone my talent a bit more. Bravo.

5:53 AM  
Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Keep up the great work!

12:51 PM  
jed said...

The second one is a little symbolly, the first one, though nicely done--I think you have a natural tendency to idealize when the information isn't available to you. You clearly have the ability to be very observant in these longer studies, and idealization is perfectly suited to illustration, but in these short poses--I just get the impression that when you went to render the face, though I'm sure you got the light quality right, you reflexively started making it one of your "faces" instead of really being observant. In a short pose like this, less is probably more. If you spent less time trying to render that face, which is admittedly, a very nicely rendered face, and just generalized the light quality of the whole figure, and worked up the whole figure, it might prove more useful as an excercise.

Not to say I'm any better at what I"m suggesting YOU do, and I hope you don't consider it presumptious of me to make the suggestion, (I'll never be the draftsman you are), but with the ballpoint drawings it seemed more like you were really looking. So I think you could stand to "destroy what you've built up" even further, and not even attempt to make an attractive result.

3:14 PM  
Uncle Phil said...

Hot dog! Nice stuff james.

6:14 PM  
jon said...

these are absolutely FANTASTIC!

8:35 PM  
A. Riabovitchev said...


4:00 AM  
kb said...

those chicks are hawt! i love the face on the top one. she looks like she should be one of those ultra-vixens on the cover of a true crime magazine from the forties.

10:43 AM  
W. said...

What you refer to as boring is probably considered delicious by us! Please post the figure drawings anyway!

I'm also curious as to why you haven't posted up many of the illustrations you do for Spin's backpage--- to my surprise, I uncovered 4 new illustrations I haven't seen by you.

11:05 AM  
cooked Art said...


these blow me away...

10:56 PM  
Process Recess said...

p - love your doodles! makes me think I should post scans of my doodle paper. Yes, I am constantly disatisfied with my work. There are moments that sustain me, but I'm fearful of stagnation. Gotta keep evolving . . .
juan - thanks! shame and guilt are great motivators
jason - thanks!
jed - again, very insightful comments, and spot on. I'm not really interested in capturing light or form, but letting accidents happen. The fact that the figure is recognizable allows us to appreciate the magical confluence of strokes and colors, which I hope are surprising and unpredictable, but are logical in a confusing way. I love contradictions.
phil - too bad you can't make it to the workshop - Jim and I are having a helluva time.
jon - fantastic design work on your blog
a. - awesome drawings on your blog as well! Very classic.
kb - lovely drawings on graph paper! Yeah, the models in CA tend to be quite hot. This one was a real bird.
w - there are quite a few illustrations and covers that I've done that I aren't on my site. Sometimes, certain pieces don't make the cut.

11:38 PM  
Jed said...

Ok. Gotcha--its more of a painting excercise than a draftsmanship excercise. That helps me look at them more as you intend them to be seen. But considering this, I still think you get a little distracted in your aim when you try to render too much.

Which, ultimately, doesn't make them bad paintings at all, but I'm still looking forward to seeing future painting experiments in your figure sessions.

Incidentally, I recently got addicted to the Sakura brush pen (I think that's the brand) that everybody talks about. I always thought it was a cheat, but it's just a more efficient way to get more or less the same result--mainly for the fact that you don't have to keep refueling the brush, and reforming the point. I'd imagine this would be good for things that aren't going to stay still for very long.

4:51 AM  
Process Recess said...

cooked art - very accomplished work on your site! I wish we could see the eyes on some of the models.

jed - I got some of those brush, but they seem kind of wimpy. I like to smash and sqaush the brush until it cries uncle.

11:40 AM  
Jed said...

The main thing I like about those sakura brushes is that I can take it with me without making a mess, and it still feels like a brush. Just the idea that I can take something brush-like with me anywhere without taking a jar of water and a bottle of ink kind of rocks.

But yeah, I'm pretty brutal with brushes myself. I occassionally do a little drybrush, and I like to use those big enormous Chinese brushes. I just got some nice spendy Kolinsky sables, which I haven't gotten in a while since they're too expensive to routinely abuse, and I'm looking forward to abusing them. My favorite synthetic blend is the more affordable Winsor Newton Cotman.

12:13 PM  
Jorge Iván Argiz said...

Great art!!!

4:55 AM  
kristy schmisty said...

these are absolutely stunning! I like your student figure paintings too!

6:09 AM  
eunice said...

im just one of your fans wandering around.. i usually dont leave any comments but i HAD to write on this one. haha, 'cause i recognized that model! im so challenged by your drawings, i hope i can do a better job when i have her again in my figure class. thank u so much for posting up your figure drawings. you are my role model :)

6:42 PM  
McD said...


8:57 PM  
Youko Fujima said...

Hi, I just found out about your work about a couple of days ago through "Fables..." and you honestly have absolutely stunning work, I am just blown away by the work you do.

The figure drawings here are just amazing. Everything flows so well...just amazing (sorry for lack of variety in my vocabulary...just an amateur passing through)

10:36 PM  
Smook said...

Wonderful! WONDERFUL work! Your life drawing is absolutely stunning! Thank you for sharing them!

8:05 AM  
delu said...

Oh, i didn't know you had this illustrated blog! I discovered you on the Fables covers and admired all of your works since then.

You don't only have a good hand but also a peculiar mind ;-)


3:03 AM  
daiyag said...

How do you do?
It is a nice work.
It notices feelings.
It is wonderful.

6:54 AM  

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