Got the chance to visit a couple of museums in December 2018 - March 2019. Always an inspiring experience. I got interested in sculptures because they are good surrogates for models :-). I get to take several pictures from different perspectives, without asking for permission and without the self-consciousness of looking at someone that looks back. Trying different things, to varying degrees of success.
Elizabeth Vernon - née Bingham
This is from a sculpture of Elizabeth Vernon, née Bingham, by sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington D.C. We were lucky: this was before the Smithsonian ran out of money, in what ended up being the longest government shutdown by the idiotic crook Donald Trump.
Beyond the idiocy--and demagoguery-- of the shutdown, the cynical and idiotic republicans were threatening to stop funding the Smithsonian, putting an end to an American institution, an a United States exception: free access to the museums. I found fliers for various free outreach cultural events. The criminally minded republicans will, of course, put an end to that under the hypocritical pretense of fiscal responsibility--while at the same time pushing for tax cuts for the wealthy, digging the the deficit even higher.
Enough about the politics: the pencil drawing was not bad (if I say so :-)), but I failed to capture the very subtle shades, gracieuseté of soft lighting and marble.
A study in pencil
The nice thing about this sculpture is, like I said in the intro, I was able to take pictures from different angles, and take my time trying out. Pencil allows to endlessly play with shade, until you get it right.
Dealing with light reflections
I don't know the material the sculpture was made of, but whatever it is, 1) it had a rugged surface, and 2) it reflected light almost in a metallic fashion. Because of its rugged surface, the parts that reflected light were not continuous blocs of light, but collections of dense reflective surfaces, sort of like a bunch of wet pebbles would reflect light. A tough effect to reproduce for the beginner in me. So I kept going back and forth between audacious high-contrast blotches of white against a dark background, and more gradual shades which are more lame. This is the effect. I need more experience to get it right. So I decided to distract the viewer with the background :-)