Researching Hands

A Practise Drawing Hands

I’ve been completely messing up on hands so far in this Part 4 : Drawing Figures, and so far there hasn’t been a project that has let me practise them so I decided to have another read through ‘Bridgman’s A Complete Guide to Drawing from Life’, particularly the hands section for some research and  to get myself some practise.

A Practise Drawing Hands
A Practise Drawing Hands
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Masters of Detailed Drawing 2, Modern Artist, Eliot Hodgkin

Eliot Horgkin Large Leaf 2 Tempera on Card

For this research point I was asked to find two artists who exemplify mastery of detailed drawing 1 from the 19th century or earlier and a modern artist. I already researched the 19th century artist Thomas Hartley Cromek in ‘Masters of Detailed Drawing 1, 19th Century, Thomas Hartley Cromek‘ and it was now time to find a Modern artist. Again I wanted to find an artist that I wasn’t familiar with so I started my search on Google looking for British artists of the 20th century. A list of names of British artists came up on Wkipedia so I went down the names looking at their work 1 artist at a time.

I came across the name Eliot Hodgkin, a name that I was very familiar with but I’m not sure from where so I took a look at his work to see if I recognised any of his paintings. I had never seen any of his paintings before but what I did see was truly inspiring and perfect for this part of the course. With the image below Large Leaf 2 particularly catching my eye as near my school there are some very similar large leafs that I would love to draw for this part of the course.

Eliot Hodgkin Large Leaf 2 Tempera on Card
Eliot Hodgkin Large Leaf 2 Tempera on Card

Curwen Eliot Hodgkin was an English painter born into a Quaker family in Purley-on-Thames on 19 June 1905 and was the cousin of abstract painter Howard Hodgkin. Eliot Hodgkin was educated at Harrow School but his artistic life began at the Byam Shaw School of Art and then at the Royal Academy Schools where he studied under Francis Ernest Jackson.

Eliot Hodgkin Seven Brussel Sprouts
Eliot Hodgkin Seven Brussel Sprouts

Hodgkin had already established himself as a still life and landscape painter by the mid-1930s and regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy. In 1937 Hodgkin started working in egg tempera a recipe that was given to him by his close friend and former teacher Maxwell Armfield.

Hodgkin stated that he wasn’t attracted to tempera as a medium as it was used by Italian primitives and their work did not do anything for him, he simply used tempera as it was the only medium that allowed him to express the unique character of the objects that fascinated him.

Hodgkin said that his conscious purpose was to ‘show the beauty in natural objects’- that people would usually think unattractive such as ‘Brussels sprouts, turnips, onions, pebbles and flints, bulbs, dead leaves, bleached vertebrae, an old boot cast up by the tide.’

When i did a search for his paintings and saw his work the first thing that went through my mind was how beautiful his paintings were and yet his compositions are so very simple. I have heard of tempera before but as far as I know I have never seen anything painted in it until now and I knew at firs glance that they were painted in a medium other than oil or acrylic.

He depicts the texture of his objects wonderfully and his paintings are so crisp and life-like but still he manages to express them in a way that makes u aware of the beauty of these objects for the first time with wonderful contours and a brilliant balance of light and dark tone, whether it be a dead leaf or a toilet roll.

Toilet Rolls Eliot Hodgin
Toilet Rolls Eliot Hodgin

Like Eliot Hodkin Says ‘ People sometimes tell me that they had never really ‘seen’ something before I painted it, and I should like to believe this… For myself, if I must put it into words, I try to look at quite simple things as though I were seeing them for the first time and as though no one had ever painted them before.’

For me I agree with others that to see these objects in his paintings is to ‘see’ them for the first time with detail and beauty that you would never notice before. Hodgkin really makes you notice every part of the object, every leaf, every crease and every pattern on the objects surface.

Bibliography – Wikipedia

Research – Antonio López García

Antonio López Torres’ House, 1972-75

My tutor suggested that I should look at the works of Antonio López García a Spanish painter and sculptor known for his realistic style. As usual I started my research by popping onto Wikipedia to see if I could find some valuable keywords that could take me elsewhere and seeing that he is still alive I looked on YouTube to see if I could find a documentary or interview and i found a small part of an interview here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2rXX2FhUeI

It’s not only good to hear the artists voice but it’s also good to check any contradictions.

Antonio López García was born into a farming family in Tomelloso 1936 and was probably expected to carry on the family tradition as a farmer until his uncle, Antonio Lopez Torres a local landscape painter took an interest in his drawing when he was 13 years old.

As he says in his interview “…at 12 and 13 he didn’t pay much notice of me, I did the kind of drawings that all children do and he didn’t pay much attention to me…at 13 he saw something that made him intervene. He told me not to copy illustrations, that this was not good and I should do things directly from nature”

Antonio moved to the Spanish capital in 1949 to study so that he could qualify for entrance to the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, which he did and won a number of prizes while studying at the school from 1950-1955. While attending the school he met his future wife and several friends who would later form a realist group together in Madrid. In 1955 he won a scholarship which enabled him to travel to Italy where he studied paintings from the Renaissance.

From the moment i saw the examples of his works that my tutor sent me I realised why my tutor suggested that I look at this artist. Facebook can be a bit of a demon sometimes and since I started this course I’ve been receiving regular posts from various hyperrealism pages which I think have had a big influence on my finished pieces. As a painter I seem to follow a more surrealistic path but this course has taken me in a very different direction. However the negative side of this like my tutor says is that I tighten up while working on the finished pieces.

Antonio López García was regarded by the critic Robert Hughes to be ‘the Greatest Realist alive’ with his style sometimes deemed hyperrealistic and yet his works are still very fluid, something that my drawings lack at this time.

López García has devoted himself to creating images of everyday subjects such as buildings, plants, his bathroom and even the red brick wall in his backyard but then he expresses them in such away that make them both beautiful and captivating.

As the artist explains, “the pictorial nucleus begins to grow and you work until the whole surface has an expressive intensity equivalent to what you have before you, converted into a pictorial reality.“-Wikipedia

At this time I can genuinely say that I can see this artist having an influence on my future work especially now i have discovered new mediums and I  am beginning to develop my drawing skills. I have had very similar ideas from time to time but lack of skills and knowledge of mediums have prevented me from putting my ideas on canvas or paper. Two of his works that particularly stand out to me at this time are ‘Antonio López Torres’ House, 1972-75’ which my tutor sent to me in the sample of his works and ‘Sink and Mirror, 1967’.

Antonio López Torres’ House, 1972-75
Antonio López Torres’ House, 1972-75
Sink and Mirror, 1967
Sink and Mirror, 1967