Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sketch of La Madre dell'Ucciso

I recently wrote about a sculpture - La Madre dell'Ucciso from a 19th century Sardinian artist. The gamut of grayscale values offered by the overhead lighting on the sculpture enticed me into sketching it on paper. At first I tried it on an A4 paper. The likeness of the face didn't satisfy me and overall it didn't reflect the stoical expression of the old lady in the sculpture. In the sketch, her left shoulder is smaller than the right one and her head seems displaced on her left side. Apart from that, it looks like she is bent in her back a little unlike the proud straight posture of the old lady.

Failed first attempt

After 2-3 days of erasing and tweaking around, I abandoned the first attempt.  I spent some days doing nothing more than pointlessly surfing internet like a lost feather in wind gusts while the A4 paper lied there on my desk. I think this time is not really wasted, it is like recharging the battery; like what the quote says: "Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."

Finally I took a bigger and firmer A3 paper. The extra space gave me more room to fiddle around with the minuteness like wrinkles on her cheekbones and the veins on her hands. Lines and dots are nasty little things, a touch here and a touch there can drastically change the perception of a three dimensional object rendered on a flat paper. I think apart from her face, most difficult part was her hands. I spent more than a couple of hours just getting her hands right. Somehow it didn't seem to fall into place, neither the proportion nor the spatial depth seemed correct. Later I realized that I was focusing too much only on her hands and was forgetting the possible effect which the shadows beneath her hands could have. Only after giving up trying to selectively perfect her hands and fingers and after adding the dark shadows beneath, her hands started to reflect the three dimensionality I was looking for in them. Similarly her feet and toes were problematic to sketch at first but after the experience with the hands, they took comparatively less amount of time.

Half the way through the second attempt. The hands seemed out of place before adding the shadows beneath them.

After many small sittings and adjustments through a week or two, I realized that I need to stop somewhere before the adjustments end up being detrimental. Though the sketch is proportionally acceptable, I am not quite satisfied with the final result. Her face still looks different. But anyway, it was a good exercise from pure photo-realistic observation point of view.
Final Sketch. Just ok.