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From the Sargent notes found on Craig Mullin's site:
"At the start he used sparingly a little turpentine to rub in a
general tone over the background and to outline the head (the real outline where the light and shadow
meet, not the place where the head meets the background), to indicate the mass of the hair and the tone of
the dress. The features were not even suggested."
I'm confused on what the difference is between the two, the contour of a head and where the 'light and show meet.' I've read and tried to understand this several times but no luck, please help. I just hope it isn't something very obvious...
EDIT: I figured it would make it easier for whomever to explain this if I added some images
Last edited by M.A.C.; July 2nd, 2012 at 04:58 AM.
He's talking about a shadow plan or abstraction. You establish the shadows and ignore the lights, letting the tone of the canvas represent them at this stage. No need to draw details or things, just the masses. Like this David Leffel. The mistake most people make starting out is thinking they need a detailed drawing to paint from, those paintings end up like colored drawings. Sargent and that style of painting paints the masses and big shapes and ignores details. The idea being if you get the value and color and shape right including its edge it will look right and no details are necessary.
Ahh I see, thank you very much.
This is basically a chiarascuro approach that focuses on building/sculpting form with value, shape and edge as opposed to a linear or construction approach.
If you're interested in a deeper understanding of this approach I highly recommend William Maughan's book, "The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head".