Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ignore the Pear

Click Here to Bid (6x6in. - starts at $100)


When I draw/paint cups, I am always shooting for pretty accurate proportions, so that the cup makes sense in the scene. If it's a little fatter or taller than in real life, that's ok, no one will complain, but if the proportions of the ellipse don't jive with the height of the cup, it will look "weird," and that will make viewers uncomfortable.

So, I measure, and here's how. I hold my paintbrush straight out from my body, with  my elbow locked, brush parallel with my face, and my thumb near the end. First I measure the height of the ellipse, as shown in the picture, with the tip of the brush at the top, and my thumbnail at the ellipse bottom.

Next I measure the front (side) of the cup, with my thumb in the same place. I'm basically trying to find out how many of that first measurement (we'll call that 1) will go into the side. You will see from the pictures that the ratio of ellipse to side is 1 to almost 4. What I normally do is place my boundary marks first (from yesterday's lesson), measure the cup, then measure my drawing to see if my guess was correct. The more cups I draw, the less often I need to re-establish my boundary marks.

You can use this tool to measure other parts of the cup too, like over-all width to over-all height or ellipse width to ellipse height. You can also use it to measure, well, just about anything that you're drawing/painting. It can be especially helpful when you've got objects receding in space. You know they should get smaller as they recede, but your brain is going to try and keep you from drawing it that way. Believe me. So measure and prove it to your brain.


Ruth said...

I found out about you when Jane Font mentioned your book on one of her YouTube videos. I started following your blog, and decided it's finally time to own your book.
Thank you for sharing bits about your painting and techniques.

Glenn Tait said...

When you measure this way are you painting in a sight-size or comparative way?

Carol Marine said...

Glenn, I think I understand what you mean. Let me say it this way - the cup in your painting doesn't (necessarily) need to be the same height that you measure with your brush/thumb. It's just that the RATIO needs to be the same. So whatever the height of the ellipse is in your painting, the ratio of ellipse to front side needs to be the same that you measured with your brush/thumb. I think this is what you're calling "comparative," rather than "sight-size."

Glenn Tait said...

Yes, that's what I would call comparative. Sorry, I should have elaborated a bit more on my terminology. Sight-size, in a nutshell, is painting or drawing something the same size that you are seeing/measuring it. I have enjoyed your blog and work for many years now. Thank you for sharing so much.

Carol Marine said...

Now I know something new too! : ) Thank you.