After seeing the Caravaggio and His Times Exhibit in Rome last week I did some rough-ish drawings of some of his paintings in conte crayon. The man certainly could draw very well in the manner of his day. That did not make him unusual as an artist for that time. Rather it was his perfecting the dramatic use of lighting in his paintings.
I recently was asked to do a book cover for a small publisher by the author who is a fan of my Music series of pen and ink drawings. These drawings are done at the Palau de la Musica in Valencia while in the audience. The lights are dimmed and typically we sit in the balcony where the sound is best. It is a fair distance from the musicians. So between the low light and the distance, I can not see the drawing I am making and the musicians are a bit on the fuzzy side, the faces and hand in particular being particularly small. Thus the results, which I do not see until the lights come up, are unpredictable and totally spontaneous. These are circumstances that are hard if not impossible to duplicate without renting the auditorium. In addition the author had a particular figure in mind and probably would not want half of him to be represented by a blind swipe with my water brush and be missing other body parts and the gesture altogether. So I had to mimic my own art under normal lighting and distance circumstances yet maintain major aspects of the figure in the photo she sent. It was a challenge, frustrating at times, but in the end she got a drawing she liked and thought would work well for her.
Here are my first versions, which is similar to the final one but which has far more detail in the background than the latter, which only has 3 shafts of light. I did not realize how stark she wanted it to be. It gives the figure so little context. But it was what she had in wind.
Both of these drawings are available for purchase.
Looking to capture the image and personality of this attractive and strong young woman, I was again guided and inspired by the principles of portraiture laid out by Rembrandt.
Looking through the double glass doors, the terraza stetches about 10 meters along the street 5 floors below. The sun hits portions of the walls and floor of this outdoor area. A neighbor looks on.
I did this portrait following as closely as I could Rembrandt’s approach to portrait painting. However he used oil paints and I use acrylics. Blending with acrylics is problematic as they dry so quickly so you have to paint afresh where planes join, although retarders help. His models were in person whereas I use photos, as do most of us given the hours and hours it takes to paint a portrait. Some do a combination of a sitting during which they take photos and work from them later. In the British national portrait competition they had a model and all the artists worked from photos while the sitter could move around freely and talk to the interviewer. Not all photos are professionally done so the lighting is not easy to deal with, as was the case with the photo I used here. The subject was in a snow scene, cheeks red here and there from the cold and hardly any shadows from the diffuse lighting.
Patrick Stewart has aged, making for interesting challenges for an artist, so I took it on.
Patrick Stewart b. 1940 an English actor, director and producer. He started as a Shakespearean actor before going to television and film. He has been nominated for multiple awards. He is one of my favorite actors. I watched some episodes of Picard just to see him do the part. It was otherwise a not series I found particularly interesting. The popup control panels were astonishing.
Portraits of members of my family.
Her first name was really Sebastiana, an Italian name, but she went by Diana since around 1928. She was born in Brooklyn. Her sister was born in Sicily, probably Partanna where her father, my grandfather, was born.
Mathew, as we knew him, was born in Partanna, Sicily. He was our uncle. He came to the US around 1914. His last name differs however. I obtained his birth certificate. Unlike the others, the parents names are not stated. We have no idea who his father was.
Camillo was born in Marsala, Sicily (yes, home of the famous wine). My brother says his hair was not curly as I have depicted it. He died during WWII while at work at the Brooklyn shipyards. I found his death certificate, upon which my mother’s first names were both used. I needed this to show the Italian consulate that Diana and Sebastiana were the same person. This allowed me to claim Italian citizenship.
These next two are my more creative and less realistic portraits of older relatives
From the story of Julio and Alicia in El Gran Hotel. The story takes place in turn of the century Spain. Julio looks for his missing sister at the Hotel, finding work as a waiter. He finds a sympathetic ear in Alicia, who is forced to wed a crooked partner of her parents. In the ethos of the time Alicia must not wed below her status as a well to do heiress. She finds this secret room in the hotel, hidden between two guest suites. Here they meet. I did a version in chiaroscuro here http://garyjkirkpatrick.com/couple-views-eclipse-from-bed-in-chiaroscuro/
A rendition of Peg with our Spanish friend Sari.