It’s been a very short week for me and I’ve managed only a little art. I’ve been home for three days, all of which were taken up by much housekeeping and preparation for a further time away.
I did manage to get started on a digital drawing. While I was drawing this I was reading about sfumato, a technique that Leonardo da Vinci used in his painting. Alright, by now I should know all about that, having studied da Vinci in art history and through books I have, including Walter Isaacson’s biography of Leonardo da Vinci. And yet, though I admired the concept of creating smokey edges, especially into the shadows where you can’t really see what is going on, I didn’t have a clear idea of how to create that effect. In this drawing, I emphasized my outlines as I’m prone to do, but somewhere along the line, I decided I didn’t want that hard cut-out kind of look.
I searched Youtube and found Michael Schmitt. To my mind he does and excellent job of describing and illustrating sfumato in this video.
Thankfully, I can go back and ease up on some of the harsh lines.
If you are like most people who studied art at university in recent years, you will not have learned much about drawing or painting technique. At my university it was all about modernism and post-modernism, and who cares about chiaroscuro and sfumato. Now, I’m finding myself interested in some of the old ways.
Artists are like that–always in progress.