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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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