Friday, March 30, 2012

Gord the Hamster Complete

What?  LOL  Yep, the little guy is now forever immortalized in graphite.  Whew!   My son and I discussed the options, after my last post.  Due to the light box throwing off the intensity of the darks in the hamster, my son still wasn't 100% sure how it should be finished.  But once he viewed the original art in natural light, he was adamant that the drawing should have the background added.  (He worried initially that the dark lettering would over power the main focus.)  We both felt that the added letters would or should push the central focus forward... We were not disappointed! :) 

As I finished up the details this morning,  my son ambled into the studio to see the progress.  His facial expression was the same as when viewing the "Dani" drawings.  I knew then,  this composition had been completed to his satisfaction; although, I still agree with my initial feelings and blog comments that this drawing could have been just as effective with or without the background. 

This is just a fine case of familiarity bringing a personal touch to a drawing.  Even though the hands were distinctly my son (by far my favorite hand model), the sweatshirt brought him into the composition in a stronger sense... for him and even for me too.  This feeling was all wrapped up in his choice of apparel. ;)  The shirt was bought on his first major trip without the rest of the family.  It was purchased right before graduating high school and not long before acquiring his first two pets (the little hamsters!).  After giving the situation many hours of thought, in a serendipitous way, the shirt represented the hamster's owner just as much as the hands.  Just one of those quirky things, I guess. ;)

This brings another interesting question floating into my thoughts.  Had my son wore a plain or raggedy work tshirt, would this discussion be taking place?  I seriously doubt it.  After reading the comments left by fellow artists in the blogosphere, I am even more certain that it would not have taken place.  That is a main reason why I do not list original photos with the work.  It keeps my followers from becoming tainted by a preconceived notion of how the finished work should look.  In a sense this is unfair to my viewers, but I am lucky to be in a group of very talented individuals that will speak their piece when different scenarios are played out.  I am forever grateful to have their opinions.  The day that I stop listening to their thoughts is the day that I no longer grow as an artist.  I hope that day never comes! :)

Many thanks to the comments from Andrew, Sally and Teresa.  Their sites can be visited by clicking their names in the comment section of my previous posts.  And before I post this up for view, I will be putting a blog roll to the right side of my page.  Each of their sites will be listed for viewing, along with some other talented people that I like to follow! :) 


Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

Thanks Brenda ! I think the drawing looks great, & even more important is that your son is pleased!

Brenda said...

Thanks so much for your help Sally... I really appreciate it! It is great to see my son happy with the momento of his little buddy Gord! :)

Laure Ferlita said...

Something you don't mention in your post is the element of curiosity...I love the work of the sweet faced hamster, but you've also tickled my curiosity about who (whom?) is holding him. By adding in the details of the sweater shirt, you've given me other clues but still not enough to know for sure!

Beautiful work and a great "finish!"

Sandra said...

Beautiful rendering! Lovely composition.

Brenda said...

Thanks Laure... That is a great point! I am fascinated by the questions, answers and thoughts that this discussion has inspired. It makes me miss being in an artist's group, hanging our work on the wall, and getting some candid observations. I loved that part of class. *sigh* Art should inspire a wide range of interpretation that lets our personalities peek through. :)

Your observation is something that I definitely would never have thought about-- being so close to this project. Now that I AM thinking about it, I see your point of view clearly. It gives even more depth to what I might have considered a pretty straight forward composition! Thanks again for taking the time to comment! :)

Brenda said...

Thank you so much Sandra... I have promised my husband that someday I will attempt a cat! Your graphite rendering on your last blog post is an inspiration! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate your opinion! :)

Teresa Mallen said...

For me, adding the shirt makes the piece complete. I like the fact that there is enough letters for us to know what the word is. I don't know why but I prefer this as opposed to say just a really large letter or two.

I find it interesting that this business of adding the shirt or not really comes down to the whole point of the piece. Before I start a new work, I ask myself 'what is the story I am trying to tell'. Even when I am doing a botanical, there is something I am wanting to investigate, explore and share. seems that the story here is not just a portrait of Gord but a depiction of a relationship - one between the person with the shirt and hands and the hamster of course. Adding the shirt really sealed the deal in telling that story. Once you added that, for me the intent of the work became clear. So congratulations to you and your son for seeing this. It has become a stronger and more powerful piece because of the shirt. And I am someone who usually finds lettering to be superfluous and distracting! Just goes to show that each work much be its own unique self!!! :-)

Oh and you did a fabulous job on the lettering too by the way!

Brenda said...

You make a really interesting point Teresa... When I began working with Rags Magazine (my Raggedy Ann watercolor work), I always imagined the story or moral that I wanted to convey and then began the layout of the work. Was it because this work came from my imagination or that it was tied to storybook characters? I am not sure. When I started to work from photographs, I became fixated on composition, capturing the visual essence of the animal or human and if the work felt well rounded as I viewed it. This last piece has given me a lot to think about.

You hit the nail on the head. I just took my usual "round about way" of getting there! LOL I knew in my heart that an intricate piece of the story was missing. (And your initial question would have settled it from the start.) I've always relied on my love of a composition, instead of asking myself, "Why do you love that composition so much?" My "love" which has always been the story behind the piece.

This experience will be a great help when working with future clients. Since obviously parts of this composition meant a lot to me, I will take the time to ask them their feelings behind their photograph that they want to commission. I would not want to selectively leave out any special meaning/details for them.

I am excited to spend today looking for a new subject. I feel like Dorothy from "The Wizard of OZ". I guess, I always new there was a deeper meaning to my choices... I just forgot to listen to my inner voice. ;)

Thanks so much for taking the time to give your thoughts. A wealth of information can be found in the blogosphere. I wish we had this available when I was starting out! :)