Monday, 19 August 2013

Online Portrait Drawing Course!

Study portrait drawing with me from anywhere in the world in my online class Drawing the Portrait in Charcoal. It begins January 13, 2014, enrollment is limited, sign up today! Hosted by the great people at LAAFA!

I've done my best to make this class the strongest such class on the market, it includes nine fully illustrated,  jam packed audio/video lectures, twelve video drawing demonstrations showing a wide variety of subjects, techniques and materials, and weekly homework assignments that will build on themselves to teach you a clearer, better way to work from life.

I'll work with you personally each week, you'll get a full audio/video critique of your work where I'll talk through with you what's working in your drawing and what can be improved. I'll draw over your image to give you a personalized demonstration for every assignment you turn in.

This class is designed to show you how to make drawing cease to be a source of frustration and become a pleasure, I'm looking forward to working with you.

Friday, 16 August 2013

ART FRAUD

"What is robbing a bank compared to founding a bank?"
                                                            -- Bertolt Brecht

This morning's newspapers bring the fun story of a massive art fraud, in which 63 "newly discovered" masterpieces by the greatest abstract expressionist painters (Rothko, de Kooning, Pollock, Motherwell) turned out to be forgeries, painted by a local artist in his garage.

fake Jackson Pollock

The paintings were sold over a 15 year period by prestigious art galleries for more than $80 million. 

The New York Times reports, "How imitations of the most heralded Abstract Expressionists by a complete unknown could have fooled connoisseurs and clients remains a mystery."  No it doesn't.  Not in the least.

See if you can spot the worst fraudsters in this food chain:  The painter who created the fakes first attempted to earn a living selling his own work on the streets of New York, but ultimately turned to painting masterpieces instead.  He was paid $5,000 to $7,000 for each painting.  His fakes were then sold as originals by Glafira Rosales, an obscure art dealer, who reaped millions of dollars in profits, peddling them to venerable Manhattan art galleries with distinguished reputations, such as Knoedler's.  The venerable art galleries then reaped even greater profits, reselling the paintings to Wall Street executives and investment bankers. (For example, Knoedler's sold $63 million worth of the paintings, keeping its "fee" of $43 million and paying only $20 million to Rosales.)  The Wall Street executives could afford the paintings because the executives had become fabulously wealthy using slippery tactics to manipulate the financial system at huge social cost to pension funds, home owners with mortgages, and individual investors.  Because the Wall Street executives had no personal taste for art, they paid huge fees to consultants and advisors who claimed to have impeccable judgment and great expertise.  These advisors would never stoop so low as to purchase art from a painter selling his work on the streets of New York. 

Ah, but the nest of parasites does not end there.  There is now a blizzard of law suits from the purchasers of the fakes, who are indignant at being defrauded.  My initial reaction to these lawsuits was, "If you were inspired by the beauty of the picture when you first bought it (as you claimed in your press releases) it looks exactly the same now, so sit down and shut the fuck up."

However, one must keep in mind that these lawsuits are likely to generate millions of dollars in fees for large corporate law firms, and as a lawyer I don't want to write anything that might discourage this worthy outcome.  How else could law firms afford to do pro bono work for impoverished artists who sell their work on the streets of New York?

 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

ROBERT FAWCETT, IN LINE AND TONE

Here is another spot illustration by illustrator Robert Fawcett, this time a small ink drawing of his friend Austin Briggs who was giving a slide show presentation:


Despite the sedentary subject matter, close ups of the original reveal a vigorous knife fight:  


Pausing over details, we begin to appreciate the extraordinary variety of Fawcett's marks on paper :




Over the last few days we have focused on Fawcett's ink work, but before we move on to different topics, here is one of Fawcett's pencil drawings for a different perspective:


This life drawing was included in Fawcett's book, The Art of Drawing but by looking at the original we can see that Fawcett (who was color blind) supplemented his drawing with shading from a red pencil.  Fawcett's eyes can't help but impose lines on a form:


 but he understood tone and value as well:



Monday, 5 August 2013

Landscape Quicksketch






















Sketches in the vicinity of Crystal Springs Reservoir, California.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

ONE L0VELY DRAWING, part 44

I feel this blog performs a public service on days when I can share close ups from an original Robert Fawcett drawing.

 This drawing had everything going against it:



  1. It's a tiny, low budget spot illustration for an industrial brochure...
  2. drawn from a photo...
  3. of a deadly dull topic: a middle aged, anonymous instructor at a correspondence school, working at his drawing board.
Yet, for Fawcett even a boring subject could be like working in a firecracker factory.  

He starts out working fairly tightly on the head, even using a little white paint to sharpen his focus...


... but from there, he quickly gets wilder:




 



With energy and integrity, it's possible to overcome even the most uninspiring subject matter.  

In the next few days, I will be  posting more unpublished original work and some of Fawcett's handwritten notes about his approach to drawing.