Research Workbook Task (the next 20 sides and beyond)
‘True art takes note not merely of form but also of what lies behind.’Mahatma Gandhi
In the next stage of your project you will observe and record yourself in a range of 2-dimensional media. As always you will link your Studio Work with your Research Workbook studies. By next marking day you must have completed:
At least 8 sides of portrait observations of yourself in materials including, but not limited to: PENCIL, PAINT, COLLAGE, PHOTOGRAPHY, CHARCOAL, OIL PASTEL, and BIRO (PEN).
Some pages may be a compilation of rapid studies, others might be longer, more precise single images. Use several mirrors, try drawing yourself from unusual angles, in the back of a spoon etc! Do some ultra detailed close up studies of eyes, mouths, noses etc. Do several continuous line drawings on the same page from different angles.
At least 12 sides of research into portrait painters and painters of the human figure. This should include studies from their work in appropriate media (thick, impasto brush marks if you are working from Van Gogh for example). You should compare the work of 3 or 4 different artists. You should choose painters who have approached the portrait in diverse ways. For example the dynamic, heavy, slow expressionism of Frank Auerbach compared to the delicate precision of Albrecht Durer.
Your writing should explain when, why and how the portraits were made. How does the time and place in which they were painted affect the final painting? Is it an image of a King painted by a well-paid official court portraitist or a group of 19th Century Dutch peasants painted by an artist with an interest in describing social problems and poverty? Your notes are as important as your images – your RWB is not just a sketchbook. Write about brushwork, style, technique, colour, mood, composition, realism versus caricature. How do the pose and the costume of the person being painted tell us a story of their life, status and character? Are they naked on a bed or gazing down at us in full battle armour on the back of a horse? Are they placed higher or lower than the other people in the painting? Does the painter aim to flatter them or to show them as they really are - ‘warts and all’? Why?
Consider if there is still a place in the world for the painted portrait in the age of photographic and digital imagery. Can a painter tell us something about the subject that a photographer can’t? How?
Do you agree with the quote by Gandhi? How can a painted portrait show us what is underneath or inside of the character of the person being painted – or is painting only meant to act like a camera: recording the image created by light reflected from the object/person in front of it?
Some Names: Frank Auerbach, Frans Hals, Picasso, Rembrandt, Jenny Saville, Frida Kahlo, Tom Wood, Berthe Morisot, Artimesia Gentileschi, Lucian Freud, Gwen John, Matisse, De Kooning, Georg Grosz, Hans Holbein, Gilbert & George, Giotto, Klimt, Hundertwasser, Munch, Roualt, Francis Bacon, Durer, Gauguin, Modigliani, Giacometti, Chardin, Dubuffet, Caravaggio, Botero, Egon Sciele, Goya, Van Gogh, Velazquez, Otto Dix, Alice Neel, etc.
Some Useful Web sites:
http://www.artquotes.net/ Quotes about Art (yes writing!)
http://www.npg.org.uk/ The national Portrait Gallery
http://saintgeorgesart.blogspot.com/ Art at Saint George’s
http://www.artchive.com/artchive/F/freud.html Lucian Freud
http://members.aol.com/fridanet/kahlo.htm Frida Kahlo
Site about Jenny Saville (work shown above)
(Mr Morgan’s favourite – Rembrandt!)
‘I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.’Frida Kahlo