PLANES AND VALUES

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FOR 
GREATER SOLIDITY
 OF FORM,

 LOOK1NG FOR BIG PLANE CHANGES.
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THE HUMAN FIGURE IS COMPOSED OF AN INFINITE ARRAY OF PLANAR FORMS. THE MOST STRUCTURAL AND OBVIOUS PLANES ARE THE FRONT, SIDE AND BACK SURFACES UPON WHICH ALL THE OTHER MORE SUBTLE SHIFTS OCCUR.

AT ITíS CORE, THE HUMAN FIGURE IS COMPOSED OF SIMPLE, BOX-LIKE, CYLINDRICAL AND ROUNDED SHAPES (A). LOOK FOR THE ORIENTATION OF THESE SHAPES TOWARD EACH OTHER. THESE SHAPES ARE USUALLY INTERLOCKED (B) OR BALANCED IN SOME SORT OF OPPOSITION, MOST DRAMATICALLY IN THE CHEST AND PELVIC REGION (C).

IN THIS CASE, AS THE CHEST TILTS BACKWARDS AND TO THE RIGHT, THE PELVIC REGION TILTS  CONVERSELY FORWARD AND TO THE LEFT. LOOK FOR THE ANATOMICALLY PARALLEL LANDMARKS LIKE THE NIPPLES, SHOULDER LINE, CHEST LINE AND THE PELVIC CREST TO DETERMINE AND EMPHASIZE THE CANT OF THESE FORMS. TO BETTER APPRECIATE THE BULK OF THE FIGURE, TRY TO IMAGINE A CROSS-SECTION SLICING THROUGH THE FORM (D). ALSO, NOTICE THE CENTER LINE IN PERSPECTIVE, PUSHED BACK BY FORESHORTENING.
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SHADOWS
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ON ROUNDED, ELLIPTICAL OR ROUNDED SHAPES, SHADOWS FORM AT RIGHT ANGLES TO THE LIGHT SOURCE (E). MEANWHILE, SHADOWS TEND TO FOLLOW THE VISUAL SIDES OR CONTOURS OF CYLINDERS AND BOXES (F).

THE HUMAN FIGURE IS A COMPLEX COMBINATION OF THESE MODIFIED SHAPES AND THEIR RESULTING SHADOWS. LOOK HARD FOR THE ACTUAL SHAPES OF THESE SHADOWS, RELATED TO THE POSITION OF THE LIGHT SOURCE (G).

FEW IF ANY HUMAN SHADOWS SLAVISHLY PARALLEL THE OUTSIDE CONTOURS. EVEN THOUGH ARMS AND LEGS CAN BE VIEWED AS CYLINDERS, THEIR FORMS ARE GREATLY MODIFIED BY OVERLAPPING, ROUNDED MUSCLES AND UNDERLINING BONES, AND THE INNER SHADOWS TEND TO FOLLOW AN OBLIQUE ANGLE TO THE OUTSIDE CONTOUR. IN FACT----IN THIS CASE--- THE ANGLE OF THE SHADOWS RUN NEARLY AT A RIGHT ANGLE TO THE LIGHT SOURCE ON THE ROUNDED SUB-FORMS OF THE DELTOID, BICEPS AND EXTENSOR MUSCLES. 1(H)
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The above information is excerpted from the class handouts that I give to the students in my Painting and Drawing Classes.


Gheno teaches at two schools: The Art Students League of New York, 215 W 57th St, New York, NY, 10019
And at: The National Academy of Design, School of Fine Arts, 5 E. 89th St., New York, NY, 10128


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LAST UPDATE: 11/11/99


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