In my sketchbook I have looked at elf-portraits by many artists from the “early masters” to early 20th century painters in order to try to understand the cultural, visual, and historic context of the work.
Contemporary Artists:- Jenny, Saville, Chuck Close, Lucien Freud, David Hockney, MarleneDumas, Elizabeth Peyton,
David Hockney – it seems like over the decades Hockney has investigated a huge variety of mark making and tonal qualities. From his early line based drawings through more tonally based paintings and onto rather flat surface images – particularly with his use of the ipad.
Lucien Freud – was always essentially a mark maker whether in drawing or using the paint as mark and. It almost feels like he hollows/chisels out the paint making very stark lines though the use of tone.
Chuck Close – has developed over time to produce his wonderfully colourful pixilated paintings which upon inspection are more and more complex. The build up of the contours via the method of intricate filling in of each square/rectangle. An amazing colourist.
Marlene Dumas – as discussed early she tends to us a rather flat tone throughout her drawings/paintings concentrating on the features as if penetrating the surface of the face. Line is minimal.
Jenny Saville – Her very complex drawings and patintings often allude to multi-view images with surface layered on surface to create the depth and tones. Drawing seems to be very traditional in her approach the compositions making them very contemporary in their structure and context.
I don’t know or don’t want to know what the title of this painting is but I call it “Juggling Babies” it is very reminiscent for me of the experience of motherhood – which is far from the idealised Madonna and child. I particularly like how she incorporates the painting with drawing adding to the density and energy of the image.
Elizabeth Peyton describes her faces with flat application of line. Tones in the main are implied rather than shown. There is a directness about the gaze that she produces from her sitters.