Thursday, September 10, 2009
That made me realize it would probably be wise for me to learn more about the anatomy of the hand so I spent several hours yesterday studying two anatomy books for artists: An Atlas of Anatomy for Artists by Fritz Schider and Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist by Stephen Rogers Peck. The first one was particularly helpful because it showed first the bones of the hand in great detail then the muscles and tendons and ligaments that cover the bones. I had always thought that if I just copy what I see in a picture or in front of me that I would end up with an accurate representation of the object and that it wasn't very important to know about what was underneath. Several teachers lately have talked about how helpful it is to them personally to know anatomy, so I decided to give it a try. After doing the study, I drew a picture of my own hand in my sketchbook. It's so much easier to draw in pencil than paint in oils, it's amazing! I can get completely detailed and fanatical in a way I can't do (yet!) in oils. I simply don't yet know how to finesse the details, and I don't have the skills with the brush (or is it that I don't have small enough brushes?) to get all the details. I'm also not convinced that I want the hand in the painting to be as detailed as my drawing. The rest of the painting doesn't have that much detail unless I paint every single square of the tulle, and I have no intention whatsoever of doing that! I'd rather walk across roasted marshmallows! I'd rather be able to give the indication of fingers and hands and do it detailed enough that it all feels right, but I have no need for the viewer to be able to count the hairs on her knuckles. The piece would suffer from so much detail.
So a learning process is happening, and it's fun! After teaching math and Spanish and English, etc. all day, it's nice to come home and use my brain and hands together to discover new things about art. It's good to exercise a different side of my brain.