Sharing some images from the INCREDIBLE Morgan Library Sargent exhibition which is on display until January 2020. If you can get over to NYC to see it, then I really encourage you to. The portraits were outstanding. In person, the charcoals are softer and somewhat more diffused than they appear in photos. I really learned a lot from observing them today. Awesome day.
I took a trip to the MET this past weekend and was joined by a friend who hadn't been before. We got to see a lot and I took some photos of my favorites. One in particularly is a absolutely amazing full length figure by Sir Frederic Leighton titled, "Lachrymae" (1894). I first saw this painting years ago and hadn't seen it again since this weekend so it was really a joy to see. The first sculpture pictured below is by Bernini and was notable because Bernini was 16 when he made it! The other sculptured pictured at the end are just ones that I found entertaining.
One thing that I took note of is how thickly Sargent paints certain works. If you look at the photos below, you can see some details that really show this. He wasn't afraid to apply thick paint. This is something that I want to take onboard and use in my own works. I painted my most recent commission more thickly, but I want to go thicker in my paint application. Just something that I gotta remember..
I was sketching my friend Tim last night and it hit me so suddenly, the importance of accurate values. It's way more important than color, proportion, detail or any other aspect to representational painting.
This revelation came at the perfect time to me because I was really struggling with a portrait and didn't know what I was going wrong. I think the roadblock I used to have before was to be almost afraid of making the values too dark. This fear is really impeding because most accurate values are towards the darker value range.
So a simple 3 step process for the painting below that I did was:
1. Start with a simple charcoal outline to get the basic proportions
2. Use a large brush and smudges of more opaque paint with accurate values. Don't worry about details at this stage. (squinting helps)
3. Once the basic forms are in place, then you can add minor details and refine it a little bit more, but don't go overboard and lose the planes.