Sunday, July 13, 2014

Taking another look at Kent Williams

Now that I've been learning some new things about painting, and especially because I'm starting to work loosely, it's time to re-examine KWMS. I'm actually pretty surprised at how carefully and accurately rendered his figures are - especially the outer edges. No matter how loose or crazy his technique might seem to be, those outer edges are meticulously and precisely drawn. Also his flesh painting technique is not as crazy as it seems at first glance. Usually what seems to be wildly splattered or slashed paint turns out to actually be carefully controlled for the most part, and even blended down to the necessary amount to make it hold together rather than fall apart into a mess.

That crazy coloring on the neck and chest - if you're looking at the face which is the focal area, it sort of visually blends into a nice flesh tone. And of course the strong black shape surrounding it contains it. As long as he maintained the strong contrasts of darkness around the outside and light values within it's going to work. I think it's because of that strong outer black shape that he was able to get away with such wild paint work inside. And of course some of the obvious brush marks of blue/white on the face are because it's makeup sitting on top of skin. But looking at just the edges both interior and outer, they're very carefully done. It's clear he maintains a careful balance of good technique with wildness, and I suspect he has a plan for how to keep it from getting too wild.

How much is distortion, and how much is realistic depiction of an extremely skinny model? The hand is obviously exaggerated in a very Egon Schiele way, but the painting on it is again careful and accentuates the solid form and shapes.

In his drawing you can really see the precision of line and shape. Slightly exaggerated I suppose - it's hard to tell really. Is the exaggeration on this one mostly just in the background? I think there's a little on parts of the arm and hand. Was it just the little bit that he was unable to avoid, or was it deliberate? I'm going with the theory, at least on this one, that he mostly tried to be as accurate as possible but a little wobble crept in here and there.

EDIT - it's also clear that he draws very directly, for the most part putting bold lines down and not going back to change anything unless it's really off. This is very different from those artists who draw very light guidelines and carefully check proportions/measurements before beginning to solidify it. So he seems to use a rather organic approach - state it boldly but with every intention of complete accuracy, and then mostly go with what results. If something is slightly off he doesn't seem to worry about it. There;s a strong element of improvisational commitment in how work, it seems to serve as a recording of his attempts, his state of mind when he did it. Almost a form of performance art. Rather similar to straight-ahead animation really. Get into the right headspace and go. If something goes off a little keep going, if it all goes wrong scrap it and start over, or bust out the eraser.

Aside from the deliberate dismemberments the figures are done almost completely realistically. The wildness and distortion is almost all in the background.

Looking back now at my latest, that hand is really sloppy!!

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