Sunday, October 30, 2005

O. (3)

O. leaning against a wall, not drawn, near her right shoulder.
Exercise in composition: can you detect what makes this pose so interesting? there is a clear dominant curve that defines the whole figure in a single swooping motion. Can you see it?
"It is simply a confortable position."-she said.
Yes, and as a friend of mine who's into Yoga would probably say, we spend a lot of effort constraining our bodies into very rigid, very uncomfortable, very ugly positions. There is a social tendency for the straight line that functionally and aesthetically belongs maybe in architecture (and even there only sometimes) but not in anatomy. Gravity, muscle and bone, left to themselves, find aesthetics very easily, in curves such as these.

Details: the hands, folded back below the wrist make a lovely whirly stop to the motion of the arm. Many lines and planes - the arms, the end of the jacket, the imaginary line from the shoulder blade that envelops the ribcage and emerges beneath the breast, the plane of the shoulder girdle, etc. crisscross the main curve, giving variety and balance to the pose.

O. (2)

I found this pose extremely captivating and raced to get it while it lasted. O. was leaning forward, and you can clearly see, from left to right: the bulge of the tricep, the form of the deltoid enhanced by the plane change, then a very beautiful and not so common view of the left shoulder blade brought up again through the shading, and a lovely sugestion of the space between the shoulder blades, defined by the extension of the cloth covering that space. From syntax to semantics: Personally, I love the detail of the fingertips of the right hand peering out cutely from the sleeve.

O. (1)

"O." was both a pleasure and a challenge to draw. She would adopt the most interesting and elegant poses, and keep them only for a couple of seconds. I was actually first drawn to the clear spacing between the hairline and the ear, often so hard to see and here so clear due to the way she held her hair up high. But then it was the motion that got to me, so fast and varied and unpredictable. Look at the way she held one thumb in the other. Delightful, and lasting what, a whole ten seconds? The face is wrong, I am afraid. I could only see her for a moment when she detected me and then quickly looked away. After that I couldn't really correct it, because you couldn't stop smiling, could you, O.? :)

Friday, October 28, 2005

on the move

Exercise in drawing as an extreme sport: Follow behind a walking stranger, drawing as he/she goes. Try to keep a steady hand and casual look, and avoid being arrested as a paparazzi/weirdo/stalker. Good training for a would-be private eye (or paparazzi/weirdo/stalker, of course). The artistic value of this? Good for learning how to freeze a motion and/or compose a picture from various brief and slightly inconsistent frames.

Oh, hell, I just do it for the fun!


Hobo #622 - Kid Silverhair, the man of indeterminate age. Quick answer to a BoingBoing challenge.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Faculty of Letters, University of Lisbon

Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon

Non sequitur

Classical art was the art of deception - "le trompe l'oeil". Modern art (Karma being such an unforgiving bitch) became the art of self-deception.


I couldn't actually see her properly (see the vestiges of the wall?) so I actually got up and walked behind her as she left (yeah, kind of like a creepy stalker or something :)), drawing as I walked - which is sort of "drawing as an extreme sport" and should make for a nice adventurous exercise in itself. :)

subway (Oriente-Alameda)

still on the train

Clearly wondering how Tokyo will open :)

Thursday, October 06, 2005


This one was actually on the Lisbon-Braga trip. It was night, and the carriage was much emptier then. He was the only subject around and I couldn't get a straight angle on his face, so I had to draw his reflection on the window instead, which gave him a sort of chiaroscuro look. I believe he spotted me once or twice but we didn't speak. From his furrowed brow I could see he was concentrating on something, so I just let him be...

He was a curious looking fellow with a slightly mad, slightly lonely aspect. I wondered where he was going, all alone. I had the impression he was wondering the same.

still on the train

A Spanish boy - if I recall correctly - travelling with his family.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bach to sleep

Apparently, it was a chamber music lullaby :)

My favorite moment on the train is always when people fall asleep...I get a chance for a more relaxed drawing and for real observation, which is what drawing is all about. She had the most beautiful eyebrows, so thin and soft they were almost not there. The hair parted and changed directions half way down its path. The lips had a fascinating form I just couldn't catch. The beauty spot had to be carefully placed.

The nap was unfourtunately too short. I realized I had made a mistake in perspective that ruined the portrait (yes, the nose is too long, etc etc). But we were in Lisbon, and thus ended my attempt.

I still like it, though. Just like memory, a little bit skewed, but pleasurable.

Braga-Lisboa (3)

Gymnastics by my right, music by my left. By my side, Johann Sebastian was having a meeting with John Cage. Or something like that. :)

I was allowed to record it for posterity...

as long as you don't make any noise! - she said , as she turned her bach on me.

shhhh.....(musicians are so temperamental):)

Braga-Lisboa (2)

I was struck by the intensity of this motion: the tensed strength of the achiles tendon, the boldness of the heel, the agile flowing of the whole scene.


There is nothing quite like travelling by train. Sometimes just a great opportunity for reading, almost always a great opportunity for drawing. Sometimes, just sometimes, a chance for a wonderful chat with an interesting stranger. Thanks for the great conversation, and here is that drawing of you, the most youthful and unruly passenger on the train that evening. The lines are so fast and furious because I just knew you wouldn't keep the pose for long... :)