Monday, 9 November 2009

Art Monday: Lights portrait series

This is the series Lights I began for my drawing course at York. Our project was to draw between 5 and 30 heads. The idea and compositions I set for myself are fairly simple. Draw portraits of living biologists, each with a light source on their heads, and incorporating a double helix form.

I've shown Richard Dawkins and Craig Venter before here, and Jane Goodall here. This time I've included Eugenie Scott and Jerry Coyne.

Jerry Coyne.Eugenie Scott.
Jane Goodall.
Craig Venter & Richard Dawkins. (I couldn't resist one of my DNA Candles on Dawkins!)

I think of these more as sketches now. All I can see are their flaws.
-Richard Dawkins needs to be re-done, with his head turned to a three-quarter view.

-I made Craig Venter's face too interesting (though it was by far the most popular with my class.)
-Eugenie Scott's hair looks too dark. I tried to use the books to show education and poise.
-I think I need to re-work all of Jerry Coyne's piece. I like the firefly, kinda. The rendering is too rough.
-Jane Goodall's I am happy with the portrait - very happy - but it's hard to make out the helix-gorilla looking down behind her.


Damn, it was an arrogant thing to sit down and expect myself to polish off decent portraits (of people I admire!) in a couple of weeks, in my spare time. Not sure what I was thinking. It wasn't until the last one that I realized this was kind of a folly.


I'm posting these perhaps as some insight into my thought processes. The York University motto is "The way must be tried."


So, um, there.

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3 comments:

Peter Bond said...

The Portraits are looking good, Glendon! Don't be so hard on yourself - it is still early in the process. What do you plan to finish the final piece(s)? Oil? Sketch?

You have given yourself a lot of critique, and most are well-founded. Jane is my favorite by far, but Eugene looks great! And I also love the firefly (great sketch) concept.

How do the books on Eugene's head indicate light?

llewelly said...


"How do the books on Eugene's head indicate light?"

Knowledge is the light which chases the darkness of ignorance from the human mind.

Glendon Mellow said...

Not a bad answer, Llewelly!

Actually Peter, I intended for the double-helix halo to be the source of light in this one.

I'm not sure what's next, whether colour or not. This is my third attempt already with a concept like this with Richard Dawkins, and I feel like I have to keep going until I'm happy.

Next one.

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