Sunday, February 17, 2013

Project Doodle (Day40-42)

I'd like to start this off by addressing all the people who have commented on this blog.  I just recently noticed that there is a "comment" button and a "reply" button on this thing, so if you have never received a response from me it is probably because I've been commenting instead of replying this whole time... I swear I read/appreciate/respond to all of your comments!  I just still don't understand how the internet works.

Anyway, lately I've been working with the idea of making random forms with color and turning them into something recognizable.  Since I make most of these doodles between class or while I'm studying, I had to use what was on me, which was highlighters and permanent marker.  I'm hoping to upgrade my supplies for my next couple doodles, but for now here is Day 40-42:
Day40 - Airhead
Day41 - Hat
Day42 - Sunflowers
So I think I had my Post-Impressionism through Surrealism class on the brain while I made these last two, because they bare a striking resemblance to these two paintings:
Doodle 41 inspiration - Woman with the Hat, by Matisse, 1905, oil on canvas
Doodle 42 inspiration - Sunflowers, by Vincent van Gogh, 1888, oil on canvas
Okay, so I definitely looked at the Matisse painting when I drew that doodle.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Project Doodle (Day22-39)

Update on Project Doodle - I'm still behind.  But not as much as I was three days ago, when I was at a whopping twenty doodles behind schedule.  I finished up a series for "emotions" in French, and then in order to quickly resolve my feeling of shame, I did the first thing that came to my head - I scribbled with a bunch of different colored pencils and turned them into tiny doodles.  It still... counts.

Also, don't take my French translations as the correct or common translations... I'm pretty sure people in France don't call cupcakes "small cakes," but that is what told me.
Day22-27 - "Emotiones" 
heureux (happy) "Un petit gateau!!! (A cupcake!!!)
and triste (sad) "Pourquoi est mon front si grand..." (Why is my forehead so big...)
gene (embarrassed) and furieux (angry)
effraye (afraid) and perdu (confused)

Day28-39 - "Couleurs"
Day 28-30
vert (green), jaune (yellow), and pervenche (periwinkle)
(^^^That was suppose to be a mustache on the green guy)
violet (purple), rouge (red), and bleu clair (light blue)
orange (, noir (black), and mauve (mauve)
ambre (yellow-orange), turquoise (aqua), and arc-en-ciel (rainbow)
Even though it happened out of a fit of desperation, I kind of like the idea of taking a random form and turning it into something recognizable.  I might do this for future doodles.  And not just when I'm lazy and haven't done anything for weeks!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Figure Drawing Reunion

It's been too long.  After a long hiatus from figure drawing during winter break, I was finally reunited when the new semester started.  I'm taking Figure Drawing II with the same teacher I had last semester, and instead of focusing on fundamental skills of drawing from life, our focus is now on using different media.  This is also sadly my only studio art class... but that is the sacrifice you have to make if you want to finish at least one degree within five years.  

Anyway, our first mini project was a series of torso studies using white charcoal on black paper.  Instead of doing cross-hatching like this piece from my last class, I decided to do a meshy/swirly effect.  Mainly because it didn't take 10,000 years to do.  I really like how these turned out, they kind of remind me of Greek sculptures.  

Side Note: Our models had to wear black stockings that covered their arms and legs while standing in front of a black backdrop to help us focus on the torso.  This is now what I imagine when I see the Venus de Milo.
Venus de Milo, by Alexandros of Antioch, 130-100BC, marble

By the end we made two 40min torso studies of three different models over the course of four days.  Here are muh favorites:
Torso Study 1
Torso Study 2
Torso Study 3 (left) and 4 (right)

Our new project is working with conté crayons on cream colored paper.  As you can see, my first attempt on the left was nottttt so good, but by our final full figure study I got a little better.  Definitely need to practice this...
Conté Study 1 and 2 (40min each)
Conté Study - Full Figure (80min)

And since my first exam-Hell week is over, I finally have time to write about other artists!  Today's scientific illustrator is Ernst Haeckel, a revolutionary comparative anatomist and illustrator during the late nineteenth/early twentieth century.  If you have ever taken an Intro to Biology or Animal Diversity class, you have most likely seen his work.  In 1857, Haeckel abandoned his recently licensed career as a physician to study comparative anatomy.  He earned his doctorate in 1862 and conducted research focused in evolution and embryology for the next fifty years.  Throughout his research, he helped describe and name thousands of new species, and mapped the first full genealogical tree containing all life forms based on morphology.
"Tree of Life," from The Evolution of Man, Ernst Haeckel, 1879
One of his most prolific compositions of illustrations was his book Kunstformen der Natur, published in 1904.  It contains one hundred prints of organisms ranging from protists to vertebrates, many of which were first described by Haeckel.  His extremely detailed and almost psychedelic illustrations exhibit some of his tendency to use artistic license in his scientific descriptions (for which he got in trouble over a few times), but regardless, they are amazing.  If you're interested, Wikipedia has an AWESOME page for this book that includes more prints, as well as labels for many of them that list the old and revived classification names of all the species in a print (I put the individual links under each page).
Chelonia, Ernst Haeckel, 1904 - Wikipedia
Chiroptera, Ernst Haeckel, 1904 - Wikipedia
Arachnida, Ernst Haeckel, 1904 - Wikipedia
Nudibranchia, Ernst Haeckel, 1904 - Wikipedia
Prosobranchia, Ernst Haeckel, 1904 - Wikipedia
Trochilidae, Ernst Haeckel, 1904 - Wikipedia
Discomedusae, Ernst Haeckel, 1904 - Wikipedia
Acanthophracta, Ernst Haeckel, 1904 - Wikipedia

Aside from his contribution to natural illustration and classification, Haeckel also advanced the evolutionary development theory of recapitulation, of which he made this scientifically and socially controversial drawing comparing embryos from multiple vertebrates:
"Recapitulation Theory" from Anthropogenie, Ernst Haeckel, 1874
Haeckel summarized this theory with the phrase "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny," meaning that our evolutionary ancestry (phylogeny) can be seen through morphological phases during developmental growth (ontogeny).  For example, Haeckel pointed out that human embryos have pharyngeal slits during a phase in development, which he related to the gills of adult fish, proposing that a fish-like ancestor existed within our phylogeny.  Haeckel's illustration was later debunked as a false representation, however, as he overemphasized similarities among these embryos to better suit a simplified version of this process.  While the theory of recapitulation still exists today, it has been largely modified to acknowledge the complexities of how development correlates with evolution.

Haeckel overall had a wide range of influence in evolution and biology, both good and not-so-good.  On the downside, he was against Darwin's theory of natural selection (believing in Lamarckism instead), was notorious for taking large leaps in his scientific claims without thorough evidence, and was even a leading proponent of "scientific racism," believing that Caucasians were higher evolved, and therefore more intelligent than Africans who were closer related to apes.  But biology has Haeckel to thank for many things.  He was the first to coin the terms ecology, phylogeny, and stem cell.  He was one of the first to consider psychology a branch of physiology.  And his illustrations helped expose the theory of evolution to the public for the first time.

To honor his greatness, Haeckel now has two mountains named after him in California and New Zealand, as well as an asteroid.  These have now been added to my life goals, along with getting my face on a dollar bill like Maria Sybilla Merian.

One last thing: The tumblr blog Cave to Canvas did a really cool expose on Ernst Haeckel a couple days ago (where I got many of my images from), and they focus on a different artist every day in all types of media and fields.  You should check it out!