Sunday, July 29, 2012

Drawing from Oliver Wendell Holmes

Charcoal and White Pencil on Gray Paper
Sometimes a portrait "drawn from life" isn't from a real person. Drawing from plaster casts provides a means to sharpen drawing skills and study how light defines a form. The plaster cast "model" doesn't replace real live models but allows a unique opportunity to more thoroughly explore light and shape in a model that never moves and needs no breaks. You certainly don't want a plaster cast that breaks! 

The drawing shown above is from a plaster bust of Oliver Wendell Holmes by Cyrus Edwin Dallin (1861-1944) in the collection of the Springville Museum of Art in Springville, Utah. Even though my drawing kind of looks like Holmes after some unfortunate event in a flour mill, I immensely enjoyed drawing it and was able to learn a lot by doing so. Whatever the level of skill attained, whatever level in one's professional career, improvement is always possible and desirable, so I look forward to more opportunities to learn from plaster casts.


L.E.Reynolds said...

When I first glimpsed this sketch I thought, 'why does that man look unreal?' and then I read your description and realized he WAS unreal! You captured the character of the bust along with the character of its subject!

James Gunter said...

Really unreal. The good Dr. Holmes himself was unavailable to pose in person.