Figures into Shapes

Sketchbook studies
I have returned from my holiday hiatus.

The last post was about a scene in Bordeaux, France of a very famous fountain / walking area.

I have decided to go forward with this painting . . .and in a bigger way . . .I will be using it as a demonstration, later. But first, I needed to build a degree of comfort with the story being told by the postures of the people there.

In order to have a sense of instant recognition of what is transpiring there, it is most important to do so with shape rather than details. So, I believe my notion of gesture to be correct. Shape must tell the whole story. It isn’t necessary that the shape be accurate to what each person looks like. Quite the contrary: We are dealing with extreme value contrast in the forthcoming painting. The silhouettes aren’t even true to the actual color or value changes that appeared in the actual place. Instead, it is the entire shape . . .even complex, combined shapes which must speak about a minute story. The shapes cannot be static. They must appear to be in a moving state, though slowly moving . . .and they must provide a rhythm of sorts. That rhythm must exist in size changes, intervals between the shapes, attitudes of the shapes and their individual directions . . . vertical or oblique. I seek a feeling of promenade or strolling with children playing, people enjoying a connection in an odd but relaxed atmosphere.

This will be a challenge. Such as it is, I must practice and practice and practice more with the figures as a singular shape with complete concern for how they relate to each other rather than the details. Here’s the first of the practices. A good 2 to 3 hours work in the sketch book . . . .so I will be able to pick and choose from the poses in the paintings that will be done from this subject.. . . and to be completely acquainted with the gestures that make up the whole.

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