Sunday, March 29, 2009
Sublime And Complicated
“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.” This is something a madman might say, or, maybe an artist. Actually, Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881 – 1973, said it, and I will share a few more of his sayings. Love him or hate him, Picasso changed the course of art history and became one of the most famous people of all time. He also said, “Everything you can imagine is real. And, “I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
I share Picasso’s passion for pursuing imagination, and trying to do that which I cannot. It is what led me to give up my home and journey around the world for a year. Now that I have returned to Santa Fe, I am exploring what I can do with some of the over 10,000 photographs I took. I bought a large inkjet printer for my studio and can make prints up to 44 inches wide and any length. It prints on paper or canvas, and furthermore, the color and sharpness can be strikingly good. Recently, I made a painting of a sunset that I then photographed and printed on canvas the same size as the original. Then I stretched it on stretcher bars, coated and painted on it until it became as vibrant and impressive as the original. Now it can be sold as a semi-original piece of art, at a fraction of the cost.(See: http://stevenboone.com/giclee.html)
It is such pleasure to draw from the naked human form. I have been doing this for thirty years and never tire of it. Now that I am settled in one place again, I have rejoined a group of artists that gather once a week and draw a nude model. It is so sensuous and invigorating to look intently over every square inch of a naked person, and consciously trace their form onto paper. Some artists are better than others at this, and everyone has their own style, although techniques can be the same. It is quite difficult to arrive at a successful outcome that warrants attention. Serious artists spend considerable time studying anatomy. I took artistic anatomy in college, and learned how bones and muscle give contour to the human form underneath skin. And then, proportions are important, and the angle from which a figure is viewed directly influences proportion. (Click to see Steven Boone figure drawings.)
Some artist models are better than others. For me, the best are those who have something of the artist in themselves. They are comfortable being gazed at while they are naked, and intuitively strike poses that are challenging and enticing. Models that are self-conscious sometimes just get into yoga poses, and often it is boring to the eye and not particularly fun to draw.
It is amazing how prominently the human form figures in art history. Check it out—look through an art history book sometime and notice how artists through the ages have focused on the most sublime and complicated feature of our existence: the human form.
“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.” Picasso
“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.” Picasso