1000 Hours

Between 1st January 2012 and 1st January 2013 I will commit one thousand hours to drawing and painting, and progress will be posted here.

150 hours update

Submitted by Sam on 17 February, 2012 - 00:44

One and a half-months in to my 1000 hours of art challenge and I have just passed the 150 hour mark. It has been difficult keeping up the pace alongside a full-time job, freelance work and the vestiges of a normal existence, but I have settled in to a productive routine which gives me time to enjoy both the process and the progress.

I know my materials better now, and have manufactured several guidelines which I use in my workflow for the Bargue plates:

  • Start the initial sketch with a hard-grade pencil, say 3H, and work with very faint lines. These are much easier to erase later than heavier lines made by softer pencils, which tend to leave a shadow no matter how hard they are erased.
  • Keep light areas light by dabbing the putty-eraser to pick up loose graphite.
  • Don't over-work the dark areas, otherwise they will be spoilt by a reflective sheen.
  • Don't start shading dark areas with 2H's and above, as it is hard to lay softer and darker grades on top of them.
  • Keep all the pencils seriously sharp, so that line quality is tight and inconsistincies in shading (perhaps caused by the grain of the paper) can be addressed at the smallest level of detail.
 
I have uploaded high-resolution scans of all of my Bargue studies so far, which can be seen in the gallery. The most challenging was Plate I, 30 - Legs of the dying slave, which I made many attempts at, and still haven't got completely right. Here's the best one:Plate I, 030 - Legs of the dying slave - Attempt 4Plate I, 030 - Legs of the dying slave - Attempt 4

100 hour update

Submitted by Sam on 30 January, 2012 - 00:55

Almost a full month in to my 1000 hour challenge, and I have completed 100 hours of Bargue drawings. I have most enjoyed Plate I, 24 - Arm of Moses by Michelangelo, which is the first drawing in the course not to have a helpful preliminary sketch to work from. I made two attempts at this plate, the second of which is below.
Plate I, 024 - Arm of Moses by Michelangelo - Attempt 2: This is my second attempt at this plate.

The plates which look simple, particularly the legs, are boring to do, and the easiest to get wrong. There aren't very many internal reference points in these, and it's easy to get angles slightly off and ruin the whole thing. I tend to lose interest in this kind, and don't have the discipline to go back and re-do them -- hardly the level of rigour the course intends!

Plate I, 027 - Leg of Germanicus, front view

Submitted by Sam on 30 January, 2012 - 00:38
Plate I, 027 - Leg of Germanicus, front view

Measured by eye, holding a thin paintbrush in front of the image and marking lengths with my thumb.

Plate I, 025 - Leg of Germanicus in profile

Submitted by Sam on 30 January, 2012 - 00:31
Plate I, 025 - Leg of Germanicus in profile

The foot is much too big vertically, I can hardly bare to look at this one again!

Plate I, 024 - Arm of Moses by Michelangelo - Attempt 2

Submitted by Sam on 30 January, 2012 - 00:23
Plate I, 024 - Arm of Moses by Michelangelo - Attempt 2

This is my second attempt at this plate.

Plate I, 024 - Arm of Moses by Michelangelo - Attempt I

Submitted by Sam on 30 January, 2012 - 00:22
Plate I, 024 - Arm of Moses by Michelangelo - Attempt I

This is the first of the Bargue plates in the sequence that has no initial drawing to follow. I put in my own reference lines, and put a corresponding vertical plumb line on the original. I abandoned this and started again when I realized I'd got ratios wrong.

Summary after nearly 70 hours

Submitted by Sam on 22 January, 2012 - 02:04

It's the fourth weekend into my drawing challenge, and I have done about seventy hours of Bargue plate copies. I'm beginning to be more patient with each drawing, and I definitely spend much longer than I used to on the initial sketches.

I'm currently experimenting with different ways to replace the sight-size technique that the Bargue course recommends, largely because I haven't yet enlarged and re-printed the plates to copy them at the size I want to work with, and because I don't have a big enough easel to take both my sketchbook and the print side by side.

Currently I crudely measure relations using a bit of card (i.e. this bit of the forearm is 1/2 the size of that bit, and so on) and translate and enlarge the measured points to my drawing. 

My favourite drawings so far are all arms, and have all been done in the last week or so.

Plate I, 23 - Man's arm, bent: A timelapse video of this drawing is on youtube: 

Plate I, 19 - Flexed forearm of a man, interior view


Plate I, 22 - Woman's arm bent: Woman's arm bent [while holding a piece of drapery to her shoulder]


Plate I, 23 - Man's arm, bent

Submitted by Sam on 22 January, 2012 - 02:00
Plate I, 23 - Man's arm, bent

A timelapse video of this drawing is on youtube: 

Plate I, 22 - Woman's arm bent

Submitted by Sam on 22 January, 2012 - 01:57
Plate I, 22 - Woman's arm bent

Woman's arm bent [while holding a piece of drapery to her shoulder]

Plate I, 21 - Child's arm, exterior view

Submitted by Sam on 22 January, 2012 - 01:54
Plate I, 21 - Child's arm, exterior view
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