Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Horses of Roan - second Sargent sketch

"Horses of Roan - more preliminary sketches" - 5 x 7" approx. graphite on paper.
Copyright 2007 (still sounds weird) Maggie Stiefvater.

Okay, today I worked some more on my sketches for the John Singer Sargent project, because I read this following passage in his words:

"A sketch must be seriously planned, tried and tried again, turned about until it satisfies every requirement, and a perfect visualization is attained. A sketch must not be merely a pattern of pleasant shapes, just pleasing to the eyes, just merely a fancy. It must be a very possible thing, a definite arrangement -- everything fitting in a plan and in true relationship frankly standing upon a horizontal plane coinciding in their place with a prearranged line. As a plan is to a building, so must the sketch be to the picture." From:

After reading that, I realized that I had not done nearly enough prep work. I hadn't tried more than two positions on the horses. I hadn't tried different crops, groupings, value patterns . . . No, I'm still nowhere close.

But with the sketch up top you see that I'm closer. A little. I brought them closer together and changed the crop since my intended canvas is a whopping 30 x 40" which is more square. I knew I wanted the two horses farthest away to be darkest but the jury is still out on which horse is going to be my focal point and how to treat the foreground. More study is needed, I think, to see what Sargent would've done.

But there's still a lot of January left, right? I would like to call y'all's attention to my Fine Line Artist friends who have now begun to blog their progress on this project.

Katherine Tyrrell's blog, full of information and a wonderful breakdown on her process.

Nicole Caulfield's blog, tackling a still life in Sargent's style.

I have a few sketches from readers so far, but please, I would love for everyone to try this who has even the slightest inkling, so please, google Sargent's work, get excited, and email me your sketches and blogs! And keep those suggestions and comments coming!


Casey Klahn said...

Very exciting, and a good drawing. You will be dreaming about this drawing, I'll wager.
Because I just finished an intensive month long class, I can't afford the time for this project. My loss!
I hope to do something like this later on, however.
I'll be watching your progress on your site. Cheers.

Rita said...

Hi Maggie,

Looking good so far, I suspect this will become a consuming project for you.

If I may make a suggestion I would make the middle horse the focal point. My reasoning for this is that he looks like he's leading the rear horse and at the same time is pushing the "lead" horse forward. I'm suggesting this based on the body posture of your three horses and, to me, it clearly indicates that your middle horse is "in charge" and is holding the power. Heck I can already picture the lighting for this one!

That said, he's also in the middle of your picture so perhaps a different crop is in order?

I'm just thinking out loud...


PS- I have too much on my plate right now to participate but if you ever use VanGogh for another of these projects I would make Vinny!

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Thanks, Casey! We'll be doing another artist next month I think. . . I don't know if it will be Van Gogh or not. ;)

Rita, keep thinking out loud. You confirmed what I was thinking . . . which means another sketch, doesn't it?