An Artist's Journeys in Nature

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Mars Ares Drawing - Patricia HowittCinemascope had hit the big screen. And my mom and I went to see “The Robe” from 20th Century Fox.

Aside from Disney, of any film I ever saw, this film had by far the widest and most lasting impact on me.  I had already been studying Latin at school from quite young (thanks to that great Scottish education), and I found it rather dry.

Now for the first time, the Roman world began to come alive. I bought the book, The Robe by Lloyd C Douglas, was fascinated by it, and started taking an interest in the Romans and their culture.

Menenius Agrippa & Boxer Drawings - Patricia Howitt

Menenius Agrippa Sculpture & Roman Boxer Drawings

More than that though, I got a crush on the movie’s leading man, Richard Burton.  Ah me – the effect of getting a teenage crush!  But it was a very good thing for creativity, all the same!

Doing the usual teenage girl crush stuff of finding out more about Burton’s career led me into the world of Shakespeare at The Old Vic, Alexander the Great, The Dark Tower by Louis MacNeice, Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, Coleridge’s Rime of The Ancient Mariner, and some of Christopher Fry’s plays. This new world I stumbled upon had an exciting richness of spirit.   Shakespeare took on new life, and I began to look at literature with different eyes.

All of this impacted on my art – especially Alexander the Great : the door on Classical Greek Art and Architecture was opened for the first time.  That was hugely valuable, because Greek sculpture taught me a lot about anatomy – along with a couple of books I got for Christmas presents. I spent some hours drawing anatomical studies from pictures of Greek pieces (didn’t they used to do that in Art School? – never thought of THAT at the time!)

Heracles & Warrior - Patricia Howitt

Greek Warrior Sculpture and Heracles Vase Drawings

The human body is arguably the hardest thing to render convincingly in art.  Quite a number of people doing art struggle noticeably in that area, though the Photoshop ‘Artists’ just grab photos of models, and solve their problem that way. And they call it ‘Art’?  Ha!  Which goes to show : the good old Art School disciplines – canned in this modern age of ‘permissive everything’ – had some great value, after all!

A couple of years ago, I picked up the B/W drawing at the head of this post and worked it into a full color art piece.  Click on the image for larger size and more details:

Ares Mars - God of War : Patricia Howitt

Ares / Mars – God of War Drawing

Done from a Roman sculpture – this is the most ornate helmet I’ve ever set eyes on : isn’t it gorgeous?

Patricia

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