The Sultry Science

15 Oct

These are some sketchbook drawings from my book Life’s Too Short For Nuance. They are from right outside my building in Yonkers, N.Y. to a bar in Vancouver, British Columbia. These are all real people. At their best the drawings seem to capture both the body and soul of the person. As with any drawing, this essence lies in the gesture. The kinetic armature of the body and its implied movement (slowly grinding into the earth, courageously championing on down the road). This is the foundation of a successful caricature. I have often told students that the still body holds the promise and expectation of movement. Like an actor on a stage, every movement and pose is anticipatory. The artist’s challenge is to accentuate the implied and that informs the narrative content of the drawing. Is the subject happy or sad, triumphant or deflated, strong or weak, vile or virtuous? The gesture is often the sole guide for the expression of the subject.

 I am attracted to atypical subjects. Old ladies with powder white skin with broad smiles, people promoting corporate logos on clothing with bodies that reflect too much trust in fast food, old men and women soldiering on, real estate agents with forced smiles, lonely men and women in bars, and bored suburban mothers to mention a few. With some exception, the drawings are statements of honest observation and reflect my perception of the subject’s interior world. That is the beauty of reportage drawing. With little time for second guessing and a near total surrender to intuition, the drawings are a powerful synthesis of the thoughts and perceptions of the moment. Like all drawings, they embody the sum total of your experience as a draftsmen. Because of this, they are as true a barometer of your total being at that moment than any other medium.


5 Responses to “The Sultry Science”

  1. Mary N October 16, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    Lou, you’ve reached a new level of finesse-ing and coaxing the inner spirit out, of illustrating how the ‘eyes are the windows of the soul’, or something Dantesque to that effect. It’s manifested in the body for certain, but your new lines draw me to the face. Kudos. You have an uncanny talent for filling the voyeur with both fear and delight.

  2. Bill Maxwell (Max) October 16, 2009 at 7:54 pm #

    This is my first time on your blog. Very intriguing.
    Good work. Max

    • thecakeater October 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

      Thank you Bill. I appreciate that coming from you. Best of luck!

  3. Tamara April 6, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    I was in your computer class at CNR & I am student teaching now. Preparing a lesson for AP drawing/painting students on gesture portraits and was thinking about your work you showed us in class so I was checking out your blog. I am going to print some of your work to show them (these above I love). I think it will be very inspiring for them! Thanks! Tamara

    • thecakeater April 7, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

      Sounds great Tamara. Good luck with the teaching. I would also look at Felix Topolsky. One of the best gesture artists to pick up a pencil.

      Thanks and good luck with the teaching.

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