I have always been fascinated by Michaelangelo’s portrayal of eyes. If you look close, he does them in very solid confident strokes of color or line that sit RIGHT on the edge of the shape his is creating for the viewer. What this does is create these very well defined, almost puffy, billowing shapes.
I worked on this study, along with several others after spending some good time looking at his work, trying to work out an understanding of what he is doing to make this happen. I am convinced that his confidence in those painting and drawing ‘perfect’ shapes, and his ability to mentally break objects into those base primary shapes and apply them to a two dimensional surface is where it was at for him.
There is a great chapter in Visual Intelligence: How We Create What We See that describes this natural ability we all inherently have and depend on to create our own representation of the world. The great master painters and draftsmen are able to tap into this on a primary level and lay those shapes down. This takes a lifetime of training your eye and mind to see this way. I obviously have a long way to go, but I have a feeling I’m learning which way to travel.