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Entries in Vanitas (12)


Vanitas 19

I just finished a new drawing Vanitas 19 today. This was a little tricky to do because this paper had so much roughness to the surface texture which I did not realize until a half way into the drawing. Somehow I managed to keep it under control though. This was a small drawing and took me just a week to complete. Nice change of pace before I move onto my next large piece...


Mansfield Art Center 74th Annual May Show

Recently I received good news that my 4 pastel paintings from Vanitas series were accepted into the 74th Annual May Show at Mansfield Art Center, Mansfield Ohio. And one of the pieces "Vanitas 14" won the best of show. It was totally unexpected and was a really nice surprise!


New piece Vanitas 14 completed

Just finished my latest piece from the Vanitas series I have been working on for a while. This is #14, done all in pastel on Arches board. 18" x 12". Initially I was planning on doing this in graphite but I changed my mind after realizing that this composition really could use strong chromatic contrast to enhance the dramatic effect. I think it worked out well.


Vanitas 2 update (8-10-2014)

I had to teach a photo workshop to high school students for a week and my work on this piece slowed down a bit. Now I am back on track. I have completed the pomegranate and I am in the middle of rendering the fabric. Naturally it is one of the most time-consuming subjects to render. I am not completely happy about the way the left half of the fabric under her lower body looks in my original reference photo. So I am going to collage that part of the fabric from a different shot taken during the same photo session. The pictures below are just quick snapshots. I am going to do proper photographing of the piece once it is finished, which I estimate will be sometime next week.


Vanitas 2 Day 6

I have nearly finished the lower half of the figure. The large smooth areas like these legs are a little tricky to render, especially when you are working from photographs. If you didn't carefully look at the subtle value shifts, you could end up with the surface that is not too convincing about its 3-dimensionality. Observing subtle value shifts on the surface of the human body and trying to make sense of them is an intellectual game like solving a puzzle. It gives me a chance to recall what I learned about how all the bones and muscles are connected, and to imagine what they are doing under the skin in this particular situation I am drawing.

I think this drawing is compositionally complex and interesting. It has a semi-bird's eye view of the model. The surface she is lying on is basically a flat tabletop, and yet there is an illusion of exaggerated spatial depth created by the conversing edges of the fabric. Then the perception of the space is optically further distorted by the use of a wide angle lens in shooting. The back edge of the table neatly cuts the picture plane at the 1/3 from the top, creating a flat space in the background that doesn't seem to belong to the rest of the picture and stops our expected spatial perception of the typical one-point perspective. There is a nuanced interplay between flatness and three dimensionality, which, come to think of it, is a recurring visual game I have played many times throughout my work in various mediums.