La Sirene

Edward G. Nilges, “The Siren”, Pencil, fuser, Gimp tone and highlights, A4 size, 16 Dec 2010

The basis of this drawing a local Lady of my acquaintance who is distinguished by a poshy British accent and who’s a woman of the world, widely traveled and highly intelligent (but not smarter than me, unlike my quondam art padrona, an American).

L’Anglaise is a belle dame sans merci who always speaks her mind without deference towards older gentlemen such as myself. One has to earn any respect or accolade from her, which makes such praise true gold. For example, she tested me on British pronunciation and said I did well. As she did so, I realized that she’d learned the International Phonetic Alphabet.

However, she’s wrong on poetic metre. It need not be a fixed pattern although it must harmoniously reconcile any chromatic violation.

At this time, the drawing does not look like her. It looks more like Nicole Kidman in the sea, which is where film directors liked to put Kidman back in the day (such as in Dead Calm).

I bought the Lady a drink last night and she sans merci deconstructed the errors in the drawing having been herself to art college. We concluded that I need to work from life or several photographs. I need to do several drawings from different angles to form a better idea of her three-dimensional and lovely noggin.

This is very far from my 1964 dream of being the Subject to the Object, for in my art practice today, I use an idea based on Open Source, I open up the practice to community criticism, or “struggle” as we call it in China.

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3 Responses to “La Sirene”

  1. Explain fuser, tone, highlights effect briefly please. Started with gimp mostly for sizing now and cleanup/erase original hand sketch.

  2. spinoza1111 Says:

    A fuser is a roll of paper that you use to smooth out penciled shading.

    “Tone” consists of the gradations of light and shade AND how a surface reflects light so that light or darkness predominates on that surface.

    Highlighting effects are the use, here, of white on a middle-toned piece of paper to dramatize light. Drawing in pencil or charcoal on white means that the highlights are only the places left empty. But when you start on a middle tone paper or canvas as did the Old Masters, or use the Gimp free Photoshop to add a translucent Layer of colour, you can add more detailed and refined highlights, here to show the play of light on the Siren’s skin.

    Gimp was NOT used to cleanup the original sketch save in exceptional circumstances. Ever since I tried and failed to draw with the original Mac’s mouse in 1984, I’ve realized that all good computer art starts with a hand-drawn work!

    This is because cyberspace, in terms of the availability of electrical power alone, is strictly superstructure to the industrial base needed to produce and maintain it. I could see that the complexity of a very simple computer (the 1959 IBM 1401 with 8K RAM) used all sorts of pre-existing precision industrial technologies that had to fit together. Therefore I use Gimp to enhance and not, in most cases, to correct.

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