Friday, July 16, 2010

Ted Seth Jacobs and Sadie J. Valeri

Thanks to Paul at Learning to See I came across the invaluable set of notes by Sadie J. Valeri (Sadie J Valeri) about Ted Seth Jacob's teachings about how to see and how to draw.

I've organised links to her posts below with a commentary on what they are about

But first a caveat from Sadie
My notes don't necessarily accurately reflect the teachings of my instructors, in fact my teachers may disagree or find some of my expression of their ideas to be inaccurate. The best way to understand their teaching is to buy their books and take their classes.
Ted Seth Jacobs - Figure Workshop
I've begun Ted Seth Jacobs' 6-week figure drawing workshop, offered through the Bay Area Classical Artist Atelier.  So far I have come up with this summary of my impression of Ted's method for figure drawing. (Note: This is my impression, and not a direct quote, he may describe it differently) My favorite concept so far from Ted:
The simplest definition of a 'gesture' is an action showing intention, or desire.
TSJ on "Structure"
Ted lectures in the mornings, and in the afternoons we draw from the model.  Below I've summarized some of his concepts and diagrammed my drawing to show how I am attempting to apply his techniques
All the forms of the body are arranged on curving pathways, never straight or angular.
TSJ Workshop: Melissa, Day 1 and Day 2 - focusing on feet  
You can see Ted's sketches of the structure of the foot and head in the top image, which he drew for me when he came around to critique my drawing.
Day 3: pencil on paper, 12 x 18 inches, detail
with annotation on drawing feet by Ted Seth Jacobs

TSJ Workshop: Melissa Day 3 - trying to create the smaller forms according to the philosophy Ted has been teaching us.

 TSJ Workshop: Melissa Day 5
My idea is melding the two approaches. Blocking-in with straight lines to get all the tilts and distances to be accurate. Then using Ted's way of seeing to express the myriad organic structures that make up the whole form.

TSJ Workshop: Head Study - I decided to try a new drawing of just the model's face and hand these last two days of the pose.

TSJ Workshop: Head Study Day II
Ted has been teaching us about "rounding and ending" a shadow. This is where a shadow is shaped by the light falling over the rounded edge of a form, which makes a soft gradated edge. Then the shadow ends in a crease, a hard edge, before the next rounded form begins.

TSJ Workshop - Reclining Nude I
We are now in the 4th week of Ted Seth Jacobs' drawing workshop at BACAA.  This week we started drawing a 3-week pose. Today is the 4th day, and I spent the first 3 1/2 days struggling with the block-in.

TSJ Workshop: Reclining Nude II
I have transcribed some more of my notes from TSJ's teachings. These are some of his overall themes, the ideas he repeats no matter what specifics he is showing us:
"I am not your teacher: nature is your teacher. But you have to have knowledge of the principles of form to understand what nature is showing you. These principles are helpful only as far as they help us see nature. If nature disagrees with a principle, nature is right, the principle is wrong. Nature is our teacher always."
Ted Seth Jacobs

TSJ Portrait Workshop: Mona
Ted is showing us how the principles he taught us for figure drawing apply to portraiture.

18 x 24 inches, pencil on paper (about 30 hours)

TSJ Portrait Workshop: Melissa
I feel like Ted's lessons are really starting to sink in, and my drawing is much improved since I started working with him. He's taught me to think of the 3-dimensional forms of what I am looking at (and subforms, and subforms and subforms...), and to try to understand everything in 3 dimensions, instead of just "copying" a pattern of lights and darks. The result is a much more solidly volumetric drawing.

TSJ Portrait Workshop: Bridgette
When I am drawing now I feel like my pencil is actually touching the surface of the form, like sculpting. Previously I only thought about copying lights and darks, so this is a totally different approach for me.

Ted Seth Jacobs - Drapery Study
A recap from 12 weeks studying drawing with Ted Seth Jacobs at BACAA. Highlights the 4 main principles Ted taught Sadie to apply when analyzing form

Other comments

I've got Ted's book - Drawing with an Open Mind - and am kicking myself right now as it's not where it should be (on the shelf of drawing books) so I can't quote from it!  He's always struck me a very thoughtful man who aspire to instill excellence in all those who study with him.

However Jeff Hayes commented about him as a teacher in this 2005 post about Ted Seth Jacobs
Although he has a very kindly and unassuming manner, I was immediately thunderstruck by both the depth and breadth of the knowledge and insight be brings to bear on the practice of painting and drawing. In the space of just a few sentences, he would touch on physics, anatomy, geometry, optics, engineering, art history, pedogogy, physiology, materials, perception, oh, and philosophy to boot. And these were not the abstracted mental meanderings of a scattered intellectual. Rather, all his comments had direct relevance to the subject at hand, which is to say aspects of drawing the human body. It was really a virtuoso performance, indicitive of a lifetime spent deeply pondering the problems of making art.
More resources for portraiture and figure drawing

I'm going to be developing a post for next week which is about portraiture and figure drawing.

In the meantime here's a link to my information site about Portraiture - Resources for Artists

1 comment:

  1. Timely, excellent post, K. Finding a masterful artist, who is also an articulate and generous instructor teaching good drawing is like catching an art genie in a bottle. I have his book, but I *wish* I lived close enough to take classes from him.


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