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March 25, 2009

Drawings of People by Brantley Phillips

Graphite: "photorealistic" drawing

Portrait of a friend

Brantley Phillips loves to draw people, and I wish I could share more "people" drawings with you but as of now he is, in order to learn, mostly copying drawings that he very much admires. These, above, he did on his own, and he will certainly be doing many more in the future as he enjoys drawing people so much.

I am making one exception, adding a drawing that he drew from a self-portrait by Rembrandt, but it's a very special picture for him, and I understand completely how he feels about it. Also, it's not a drawing of a drawing, but a drawing of a painting.

At the Webmuseum site, you can see the painting that he drew this picture from.

Charcoal: Brantley's Muse - Rembrandt
The drawing above is, of course, from a self-portrait by Rembrandt. This drawing is very special to Brantley, as for him it is an inspiration, to have "Rembrandt himself" (though Brantley's wife says it looks more than a little like Brantley) watching him as he's drawing.

Says Brantley: "It's true...there's a little of us in all of our artwork, don't you think? :)

"I do have a very sincere reverence for portraiture. I get all giddy and stupid and have fun with drawings of landscapes, animals, airplanes, whatever . . . but when it comes to people, my spirit quiets down a bit and awe sets in if what I'm looking at is done really well. I can think of no higher calling for an artist than to draw or paint portraits. That's just me, personally . . . . but to see the vibrancy of John Howard Sanden's work, or the energy in Casey Baugh's charcoal drawings . . . or Henry Yan, who can breathe life into a charcoal drawing in 20 minutes or less . . . if I could do what those gifted masters do . . . wow . . . . Like Robert Henri said, 'Yours should be the drawing of the human spirit through the human form.' These guys have achieved that. I want to achieve that, too.

"That's one reason I like my Rembrandt drawing so much . . . I drew it because I admire Rembrandt a lot . . . he pioneered chiaroscuro and loose painting at a time when the establishment wanted polished paintings. But he was sure of his abilities and no one could deny his pure, raw talent. He did the polished paintings, of course, but my favorite paintings of his are fresh and not overworked. Like his self-portraits. So I wanted to do a portrait of him in that same style . . . . sketchy, fresh . . . Hey, that'd be a good nickname for me and where I want to go with my art, wouldn't it? Just call me 'Sketchy Fresh'... :)"

In the last month or so I've put up three posts on drawings by Brantley Phillips, and this is the last of this little series. The other posts are on his aircraft drawings and his dog drawings. In January, there was a post on his art workspace. I wanted to introduce not only his artwork but also Brantley himself, so there's quite a bit about him on all these posts, as well as samples of his drawings. I hope you've enjoyed these posts as much as I've enjoyed . . . I was going to say "as much as I enjoyed writing them" but the truth is that Brantley has written them along with me. It's been a pleasure.

Brantley and his wife's boat
'Bye just for now, Brantley
You're so awesome, Jean, thank you! . . . and yes -- 'bye, just for now. :)"

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March 16, 2009

Brantley Phillips - Dog Drawings

Graphite Drawing: Moose
Graphite Drawing: Lilly

Graphite Drawing: Two Dogs

Brantley's wife skating ahead, their dog Adak pulling Brantley (who took the picture)

Brantley Phillips lives in Alaska. Here's an earlier post, on some of Brantley's aircraft drawings, in which you can find out more about him. "He's a stud, just take our word for it...(Jean, don't you dare post that on your blog!)" Okay, Brantley, I promise I won't post -- What was it you didn't want me to post?
As you can see, Brantley's dog, Adak, is not a homebody. Brantley loves his dog (and obviously Adak thinks of enough of Brantley to willingly tow him across a frozen lake), and he loved drawing his friends' dogs shown in these pictures. Brantley adds:

"That day on the frozen lake was literally one in a million. The lake (Portage Lake) is huge, about 5 miles long and 2 miles wide, and because of perfect temps and (lack of) precipitation, it had frozen perfectly and had the surface of a wet-mopped ice rink. Carrie was going to skate, I was going to use the kicksled (basically dog mushing without the dog), and Adak was going to trot along beside us in his little ice booties to our intended destination, Portage Glacier on the other side of the shore . . . but 5 minutes into it my feet were freezing and I didn't think I would make it. Carrie, however, had recently taught Adak how to pull a sled and he loved it (Rottweilers are traditionally working dogs; they are at their happiest when they have a job to do, like pull, herd, carry packs, whatever) so she suggested we hook him up and let him pull me on the sled. I had never done this with him before but was certainly willing to give it a try . . . He was so excited as we readied his harness . . . He kept looking back at me with this child-like anticipation . . . When he was secure I yelled out "Hike!" and he took off, ripping me across this gorgeous landscape, and all I had to do was steer the sled and enjoy the ride as this surreal scenery went whizzing by . . . That day was amazing . . . We got to the glacier and people were playing hockey, setting up tents . . . it looked like an Antarctic block party. When we started back Adak kept running up to me and looking at the sled, he wanted so bad to "play sled" again . . . so, of course, I hooked him back up and I don't even think I got to yell out the "go" command this time . . . he just saw me step on the sled and zip! Here we go again! He was such a blessing to me that day . . . and he was actually disappointed when we got back to the car and made him get in for the ride home. From that day forward I had a new-found respect for my dog...."
"I do love animals, by the way. How can you not? As we speak I have our cat, Chess, sitting in my lap, purring . . . or snoring . . . I'm not sure which . . . :) I'm not an animal activist or anything, but I just can't help seeing an animal in the wild, or meeting someone's beloved pet, and not feeling a respect and appreciation for them . . . long live the furry creatures of this world . . . ."
Moose outside the window at Brantley's house
It's no wonder Brantley's dog drawings are so sympathetically and sensitively done.
It's so easy writing about Brantley and his artwork, as I hardly have to write a thing - His pictures speak for themselves! Also, Brantley speaks very well for himself. His pictures, though, have not been seen on a blog or website before and I'm proud that they're first being shown here.
There will be one more post coming up on Brantley and some of his drawings, as I want to make sure I include different subjects, confining each post to just one. The last post was on his aircraft drawings.

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