Even if you had no idea who the man in this painting was (and for all I know, you might not) you'd have some opinions about him based on how the artist has composed this painting. The hand on the hip, the other hand gripping the finial, the bold stance - all this indicates determination and a powerful personality. Sargent is remembered not only for his virtuoso technique, but also for his ability to indicate personality in his portrait and figurative work through gesture and setting.
Knowing how to use body language to artistic advantage in a painting is important to any figurative artist, whether or not one intends to paint portraits.
I'm teaching a 3-day workshop in October which will explore aspects of constructing a figurative painting or portrait to reflect the subject's characteristics through the use of body language and composition. We'll work on a fairly large canvas so that we can include the subject's posture and at least the hands, which can incredibly expressive of character. We'll be working with the same model throughout the workshop, so we'll have plenty of time to discuss subjects such as lighting, pose and clothing. I taught this class a few years ago and it was great fun.
"Character Reveals Itself: Painting the Portrait Figure"
October 17th - October 19th, 2014
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
9:00 - 4:00
There are still some openings for the workshop - please contact Scottsdale Artists' School for more information.