Part 4. Project 2. Research point. Foreshortening.

 

I like the way foreshortening turns the body into a series of shapes.

 

Fig. 1. Self portrait. Ballpoint pen. The head is a bit big.


 

 

 

 

Fig. 2. Dad. pencil.

 

Fig. 3. Life drawing. pencil.

 

Jenny Saville

The artist Jenny Saville takes foreshortening to grotesque extremes in some of her paintings. In Prop. 1993 The model’s knee, thigh and stomach loom towards you. You know what you’re looking at – but are the proportions really true? Or are they exaggerated? And what effect does this have?

Lorraine Shemesh

Artist Lorraine Shemesh painted a series of pictures of swimmers which featured foreshortening and refraction. http://www.lorraineshemesh.com/art/pools/CD1_09.html. Again, some of these pictures have elements of the grotesque such as the hands of the woman at the back in this picture: http://www.lorraineshemesh.com/art/pools/CD1_50.html

She also makes beautiful drawings:  http://www.lorraineshemesh.com/art/drawings/pools04.html

So, why does foreshortening often make images cartoonish or grotesque and why does an artist do this?

There is an element of “in your face” to extreme foreshortening. You have to be very close to someone to get the effect that part of their body is massive. If you move even a short distance away there is still foreshortening but it isn’t so extreme and unsettling. In all my drawings (Fig. 1; 2 and 3) the distance from the model makes the foreshortening much less extreme.

 

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