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The Fairy

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Re: The Fairy

Postby Stanley Anderson » 11 Dec 2008, 23:42

Áthas wrote:I can't even see her as absolutely evil because she doesn't really seem to be interested in the ultimate purpose of the NICE and the Head.


And in fact, Lewis says as much in the book. I can't quickly locate it, but somewhere Wither and Frost (I think it is, though it may be someone else) talk about how Fairy doesn't have the sort of "qualifications" to become one of the true "insiders" whereas Mark, who I doubt many of us would say is worse that Fairy, apparently does have what they might be able to twist to their purposes -- to be one of the few "initiates". It's a scary thing to think that "obvious" evil may not be the worst kind...

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: The Fairy

Postby moogdroog » 15 Dec 2008, 23:06

I'm terrible :snow-frown: I've been meaning to post some art of our lovely Fairy Hardcastle for an age; I moved house and misplaced my sketches of her (or perhaps they mischievously fluttered away...). I find it so hard to go back to drawing something I've already done...I think it's frustration at having to start all over again! In any case, I found my first sketch of her, so I added a bit more to it this evening. It's very rough, and doesn't quite 'get' her...but I'm hoping to make a decent second sketch of her looking a bit tougher and more 'sneering'. The image is a bit big to post here I think, so I made it into a link.

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Re: The Fairy

Postby Áthas » 16 Dec 2008, 09:43

Hm. I realy envy you for your talent. Still, she looks kind of too nice and orderly.
To thine own self be true!!! (Shakespeare)
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Re: The Fairy

Postby Stanley Anderson » 16 Dec 2008, 16:35

What wonderful rendering ability! I love the style of the drawing and you clearly know what you are doing there. I had thought at first that she looks too "attractive" in your drawing -- and she probably is too attractive here, I think (I would have thought more "bulky" perhaps -- not as extreme as the "prom picture" I posted of course). But it occurs to me that part of that "attractiveness" is due to the large eyes -- smaller eyes generally portray shiftier personalities I suppose. And then I realized that the cheroot is lit and that she is exhaling smoke. Since we know her cheroot is rarely lit except on "special occasions" -- like her interrogation of Jane, and we also know what sort of "pleasure" she gets out of it, that "look" she has become a bit more menacing and creepy. I'm intrigued by the idea. I also find the teaser snippet of the image above the "click me" link interestingly done.

Please, ma'am, may I have some more?

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: The Fairy

Postby moogdroog » 17 Dec 2008, 16:55

Stanley wrote: Please, ma'am, may I have some more?


Why, of course *tips hat*.


Thanks for the comments, Stanley and Áthas - any ideas and criticisms are most welcome. I've never had any art training, so I really appreciate other people looking at my pictures and giving me ideas on how to make it better. I'm finding our friend difficult to draw. I followed Stanley's advice on smaller eyes, and I think it helps. I've not got the aspect of the grotesque or of bulkiness down though. Still, if I keep trying, Fairy may manifest herself in the end :snow-smile: At the moment, something of Grace Ironwood keeps spilling into her face, especially in the second sketch. I might use the second sketch as a base for Grace Ironwood, and use the first one as a base for the Fairy, and keep them as a visually similar 'pair'.

Image

[1] and [2].

I hadn't remembered that her cheroot is only lit on those 'special occasions', so that was something of an unintentional effect...but glad it works :snow-smile:

Edit: Just remembered the Fairy's hair is cropped short, not just scraped back into a hairpiece - so ignore the bun detail. And also, looking at the second sketch, I *do* seem to have drawn Grace Ironwood when I fully intended to draw Fairy Hardcastle. How did that happen?!
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Re: The Fairy

Postby Stanley Anderson » 17 Dec 2008, 18:10

moogdroog wrote:I've never had any art training


!!!? Wow. Now I'm doubly impressed. I'm trying to do some art and drawing training with my son (age 17 -- we homeschool him) -- any methods or books you might have used that you would recommend? Whatever you've done has worked admirably!

Ooohh! I love this. Keep posting the progress (though the ones so far are wonderful in themselves). It's simply fascinating to watch the gradual changes as they occur!

I followed Stanley's advice on smaller eyes, and I think it helps.


Probably a good idea, but I may not have been very clear in my previous message -- I meant to imply that a person's eyes dialate (not the same thing as "big eyes" I realize) when they are in a, how shall I say, "mood", and since Fairy's cheroot was lit, that meant she was actively engaged in that "mood" -- thus I meant that the larger eyes may have been appropriate in that setting, if you know what I mean. But still, probably better smaller for the general task of portraying her -- though I'm not sure what might work -- often unexpected twists turn out better than one might expect.

I might use the second sketch as a base for Grace Ironwood, and use the first one as a base for the Fairy, and keep them as a visually similar 'pair'.


I love this idea too -- especially since it fits so well into the chessboard view of THS.

...looking at the second sketch, I *do* seem to have drawn Grace Ironwood when I fully intended to draw Fairy Hardcastle. How did that happen?!


You must be standing on the St. Annes side of the chessboard -- you need to travel over to the other side:-) (*pictures the large chessboard in Portmeirion where The Prisoner was filmed* -- you were the one that was actually there and posted pictures, right?)

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: The Fairy

Postby moogdroog » 17 Dec 2008, 20:58

Stanley Anderson wrote: I'm trying to do some art and drawing training with my son (age 17 -- we homeschool him) -- any methods or books you might have used that you would recommend? Whatever you've done has worked admirably!


Thank you for your kind words! I feel very encouraged :snow-smile: I always wanted to do art at school, unfortunately, I chose a mix of subjects that meant I had to sacrifice Art so I could follow the school's timetable. From then other studies started to weed out my time for drawing. I'm still very 'raw' and in the process of learning myself. I have stops and starts - I often don't pick up a pencil for months because my other work gets in the way, but I've made a resolution for the New Year to try and draw something every other day.

I copied (as a teenager) faces and bodies mostly from renaissance art and manga (hm). I don't think copying from manga/comic work is a good idea for someone starting out - you learn a very distorted sense of anatomy. As I can't go back in time and slap my 14-year-self for learning how to draw women from pictures of bosomy school-girls with eyes the size of half their face, I'm having to 'relearn' the mechanics of the face, head, and body. I'm working my way through a wonderful art-book for students called Drawing the Head & Figure by Jack Hamm. He's an American author so should be available in the US, and was first published in the '60s. I can't praise it highly enough - it's excellent for teaching figures, faces, and anatomy. Ah, found a link to it: Amazon US, Drawing the Head & Figure. It's really worth getting - it has a very friendly and encouraging tone without being patronising, and is super clear on the techniques and artwork.

Things that I have learnt with 'home-schooling' myself:

- learn the rules of anatomy from good sources. Photography, anatomy art books, classical/renaissance art, etc. Breaking bodies down into cylindrical shapes, or blocks, is a technique that works for me, but the book I've mentioned above goes through a lot more. My own technique is to get a sense of the body or face structure, and then be 'scribbly', i.e. just let my pencil kind of 'free-form' draw over the image in a very loose way, creating shadows and highlights etc. You can see that in the first sketch of the Fairy that I posted, and it usually works well for working out 'where things go' in a preliminary sketch.

- get a sense of the face and body all together, with the lines and proportions worked out before 'fleshing' (pun intended) out a particular feature, like eyes, hair, etc. It's a waste of time to focus on one bit before you've worked out where other things go.

- Copying pictures upside down is a good exercise. This forces you to copy the picture very rigorously, and doesn't let you alter or distort perspective and proportion as much.

- use a mirror against whatever you have drawn. A good rule of thumb is that an image of a face or body should look just as 'symmetrical', or nearly as symmetrical, in the mirror as well as on paper. This really helps you check that things like facial features are on the same 'line' of the face/in proportion.

- pencils appropriate for the job. I started out drawing with 5B and 6B pencils and used to leave black smudges everywhere (desk, schoolbooks, walls, my face). In the above pictures I've used HB for most of the sketching, B for softer and darker areas, and 2H for finer lines (e.g. the eyes are a mix of 2H and B).

I would love to hear of any techniques you hit upon, too. I'm poor with drawing artificial things, like buildings, and I find perspective difficult too, so if you find any ways of dealing with those things, I'm all ears (or eyes?).

You must be standing on the St. Annes side of the chessboard -- you need to travel over to the other side:-) (*pictures the large chessboard in Portmeirion where The Prisoner was filmed* -- you were the one that was actually there and posted pictures, right?)


Yes, that was me, Port Merion is a wonderful (and surreal) little place. I need to move over to the dark side of the chessboard :snow-laugh: On a slight tangent...wouldn't the Fairy make a fantastic Number 2? "By hook or by crook....or by my lit cheroot, my little Number Six!"
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Re: The Fairy

Postby moogdroog » 17 Dec 2008, 23:11

Another step in the Fairy's evolution. I think I'm getting closer...hopefully this image is small enough to display and won't mess up the page.

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Re: The Fairy

Postby Stanley Anderson » 18 Dec 2008, 16:14

moogdroog wrote:
Stanley Anderson wrote: I'm trying to do some art and drawing training with my son (age 17 -- we homeschool him) -- any methods or books you might have used that you would recommend? Whatever you've done has worked admirably!


Thank you for your kind words! I feel very encouraged :snow-smile: I always wanted to do art at school, unfortunately, I chose a mix of subjects that meant I had to sacrifice Art so I could follow the school's timetable.


I wonder if that wasn't an advantage? Or at least over taking art in college along with everything else, as opposed to going to an art school specifically. I say that because through high school and early in college I wanted to try to double major in math and art and took quite a few art classes, but I was just a bit too lazy and let it fade out eventually, sticking to just math in the end. But my point is that though I learned a lot, I was somewhat frustrated because of the "theoretical" aspect of many of the art classes -- I wanted to learn how to draw a hand or a figure running or whatever, but we often got more abstract lessons on experiencing the negative inverse of non-existence (that's an exaggerated phrase I made up that I later used as an acronym, NINE to describe a particular philosophical theory of mine). As a contrast, my wife, who was valedictorian material in high school, but never went to college, studied medieval history and literature on her own after high school and ended up being much more knowledgable than many college grads that I knew. It sounds like you did on your own much of the sort of thing I hoped to learn and do in classes.

Anyway, the thing that strikes me about your drawings is that they are very well formed and yet the standard method of "getting there" is to do a lot of figure drawing from live models and such. Can I assume that you didn't have that opportunity? I think it is quite valuable if one can do it of course, but it's not really available to me and my son to much extent right now. So it would be encouraging to think he could get quite a bit out of "books" if that works as it seems to have worked for you.

He has used my wife and I for drawing faces and such, but that gets old fast, especially for a teenager to draw his parents -- yuck, right? And yet it is awkward to try to draw friends too. And then there is the whole "undraped" (as they called it back then) models that are the most beneficial that we can't "access" at the moment:-)

(And by the way, I don't say that out of prudishness -- as I've related to lots of people, including my roommates in college at the time, it's hard to believe that one could be so "neutral" while drawing those undraped models, but perfectly true. I have -- or had -- not sure if they're still around somewhere -- pads and pads of innumerable 30 second, 2 minute, 5 minute, half-hour, and such, sketches from my figure drawing classes. My roommates would look through them and gasp in wonder saying "you had that woman in front of you the whole time like that? Wow, must be pretty enjoyable". But they would laugh in scorn at my protestations that it wasn't at all suggestive when you're there drawing -- you're rushing so fast to get a sketch done in 30 seconds or whatever, that it really is just an abstract object to draw up there. They simply couldn't believe it and thought I was just being insincerely "intellectual" about it, and I couldn't convince them that it was absolutely true!)

Anyway, I would like to think that one could still learn a lot -- perhaps even more than I did with actual classes -- by just doing drawings without models, as you seem to have done.

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: The Fairy

Postby Stanley Anderson » 18 Dec 2008, 16:18

By the way, I like the new drawing. And as a side note, I'll mention that I always thought Pam Ferris as Miss Trunchbull in the movie "Mathilda" was a pretty good possible image for Fairy Hardcastle:-)

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: The Fairy

Postby moogdroog » 18 Dec 2008, 16:51

Stanley Anderson wrote: I wonder if that wasn't an advantage? Or at least over taking art in college along with everything else, as opposed to going to an art school specifically. I say that because through high school and early in college I wanted to try to double major in math and art and took quite a few art classes, but I was just a bit too lazy and let it fade out eventually, sticking to just math in the end.


Now you point it out, I suppose the freedom of drawing whatever you want is an advantage in many ways (the disadvantage being it could take you a very long time to discover a technique a teacher could point out to you in five minutes). I'm assuming you are talking about taking art at university level, as a joint degree with maths? The schooling system is a little different here. I meant that I gave up art lessons at 14. I remember some vague things from those lessons - self-portraits, drawing objects, etc, which surely did help (we were too young for theories such as NINE, which, incidentally, sounds very interesting and very complex).

With regards to your wife (*waves to a fellow medievalist*), I think when you are left to your own devices in literature, you are doing what you would be doing in university anyway - reading and reading and reading. And more reading. And, of course, the advantage is you can really focus on what you want to learn, and your time isn't taken up by having to study things you aren't particularly interested in (for me, those were things like the 18th century birth of the novel form, and post-modern feminism - bleurgh).

Anyway, the thing that strikes me about your drawings is that they are very well formed and yet the standard method of "getting there" is to do a lot of figure drawing from live models and such. Can I assume that you didn't have that opportunity? I think it is quite valuable if one can do it of course, but it's not really available to me and my son to much extent right now. So it would be encouraging to think he could get quite a bit out of "books" if that works as it seems to have worked for you.


I've never copied from live models. Everything I've learnt is from copying things in books. I'm sure there would be a lot of value in the experience of copying from a live model, but on the other hand, a decent art book will show you very accurate images of the human body/face anyway. Perhaps it doesn't matter, for the beginner, learning from a 'secondary source' rather than a 'primary source'. I mean, the way to draw, I think, is just to keep drawing and copying and drawing and copying, atlhough that is possibly old-fashioned. Emulation is how people learn. And pictures stay still longer than people.

They simply couldn't believe it and thought I was just being insincerely "intellectual" about it, and I couldn't convince them that it was absolutely true!


It sounds like what would happen - you have to 'reduce' the body to an object, or a series of objects to draw it. And 30 second sketches would hardly give you much time to appreciate, in a dilating pupil kind of way, anything being presented :snow-wink:
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Re: The Fairy

Postby moogdroog » 18 Dec 2008, 16:54

Stanley Anderson wrote:By the way, I like the new drawing. And as a side note, I'll mention that I always thought Pam Ferris as Miss Trunchbull in the movie "Mathilda" was a pretty good possible image for Fairy Hardcastle:-)

--Stanley


An excellent idea! I'll try and find a good image of her, and use it as a base.
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Re: The Fairy

Postby galion » 18 Dec 2008, 17:11

Mrs Trunchbull? Yes, I can relate to that! :snow-toothy:
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Re: The Fairy

Postby Stanley Anderson » 18 Dec 2008, 17:39

moogdroog wrote:
They simply couldn't believe it and thought I was just being insincerely "intellectual" about it, and I couldn't convince them that it was absolutely true!


It sounds like what would happen - you have to 'reduce' the body to an object, or a series of objects to draw it. And 30 second sketches would hardly give you much time to appreciate, in a dilating pupil kind of way, anything being presented :snow-wink:


My son, as a ballet dancer, experiences somewhat of the same thing. Especially this year in the Nutcracker, he is doing the Arabian pas de deux portion. For those not familiar with it, though still decent and proper, it is perhaps the most "sensual" portion of the ballet, in that the two are in fairly skimpy costumes and the dance involves very "intimate" lifts and such. One in particular has the guy at one point lying on the ground on his back with his arms in the air and the girl lays her hips onto his outstretched hands and "floats" horizontally above the boy in the air. Then, after a bit, he brings her down on top of his body so that she can slide off and get up to do the rest of the dance.

I always remember one of the girls's father saying jokingly that when his daugther got to the point of being able to do Arabian, she would be wearing a burka:-). And I was talking with the mother of the girl our son was doing the dance with this year and we were joking about the dance too, and she said her husband was amazed by a description of the dance, wondering how the boy would be able to complete that lift without touching his daughter:-). Anyway, the point of all this is that we were talking about how, as sensual as the dance looks from the audience, the fact is, that when one is the boy doing the lifting and such (and I've done much of it myself, helping out in the pas de deux class for the last six or so years) and the pressure of being on stage, NONE of those thoughts are going through one's head -- it is simply a hundred pound weight that you are trying desperately to balance and make look graceful and hoping it's over soon.

By the way, I looked around for a video of the Arabian dance on youtube and obviously couldn't find anything exactly like the one we do (there are lots of different variations of the dance), but here is one that gets across something of the flavour of it -- this one is a bit more "sensual" perhaps, but it has several of the same sort of moves and lifts that Gawain does at various points.



Not sure if the youtube displays properly here. If not, here is the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8qIFVjqSZ8

--Stanley
(I bet there is a way to relate some of this to THS in SOME way!:-)
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: The Fairy

Postby moogdroog » 20 Dec 2008, 12:53

Stanley Anderson wrote: My son, as a ballet dancer, experiences somewhat of the same thing. Especially this year in the Nutcracker, he is doing the Arabian pas de deux portion. For those not familiar with it, though still decent and proper, it is perhaps the most "sensual" portion of the ballet, in that the two are in fairly skimpy costumes and the dance involves very "intimate" lifts and such...when one is the boy doing the lifting and such (and I've done much of it myself, helping out in the pas de deux class for the last six or so years) and the pressure of being on stage, NONE of those thoughts are going through one's head -- it is simply a hundred pound weight that you are trying desperately to balance and make look graceful and hoping it's over soon.


The Nutcracker is a wonderful performance - best of luck to your son and his partner, I'm sure that they will be fine :snow-wink: I can imagine the pressure to get it right, the mechanics of weights and movements, and making it look graceful add up to a very tricky equation.

Something struck me while watching the YouTube video. When watching ballet, I am always in awe at how graceful and sensual the dancers are, while never having a even a slightly sordid, or overtly sexual note to the movements. I think ballet dancing, and other forms of classical dance, gives us a glimpse of how beautiful and sensual the human body can be. Perhaps dance, in this pure and skilled form, is a shadow movement of the dances in heaven - a pale reflection of the 'true reality' of dance itself. Similarly, beautiful musical pieces that seek to touch upon something of heavenly glory are shadows of the praise music - or of music itself - in heaven. Mm, perhaps that relates to THS in some way :snow-smile: well, at least the Lewisian idea that things beautiful and things pleasurable in this world are weak echoes of their true, divine correlations, their 'actual' reality in heaven. In that way a wonderful piece of art, or a beautifully performed dance, are things capable of inferring, or indicating, this kind of 'heavenly' glimpse to the observer.
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