Practicing figure & portrait drawing or painting. Driving down to Coeur d’Alene ID to Terri Lee’s studio last night I experienced another evening with fellow artists, painting and drawing from a live model. This is actually an alternate definition of “Heaven” to any artist. Figure drawing always improves my art.
Our model normally does nude figure poses in multiple positions allowing quick impressions and sketches. This evening she remained clothed for three hours, taking the same pose each session for 20-minutes with breaks between. The increased time enables us to get up close and concentrate on her facial features. She is a young lean gymnastically active figure. Her features include dark hair, smooth soft pastel skin, and beautiful green eyes. We all loved her bright red Christmas turtleneck sweater and her charming personality. I look forward to figure-drawing with her again.
Since Terri is off taking care of sculpture work in Montana, you can see a cool video about his sculpture process here. It was an all-female group this time and some gorgeous work came out of this last winter session along with friendly chatter about the ways of life for an artist.
I will miss these Monday night drawing sessions so I plan on getting more involved so Terri doesn’t have to handle all of it. Having this kind of opportunity to meet others and improve is absolutely priceless. I love my artist dates hanging out with “birds of a feather” as I strive to improve my individual art skills by hanging out with people more talented than myself. It is so inspiring to talk and share secrets with like souls in this creative profession. Every time I make the effort to set up my supplies and drive down to Coeur d’Alene ID to make it to this my soul comes home with lasting a smile. It is an infusion of hope and inspiration with contact with other artists.
I was so happy to travel to Coeur ‘d Alene for figure drawing class last night at Teri Lee’s studio. This is the first sketch portrait I did of our beautiful model. I used a piece of soft sienna chalk and then started to darken areas with black charcoal. Unfortunately, when the 20-minute timer went off, I had not completed the shadow darkening with the charcoal.
As the model rested, I did the self-critic thing that all of artists do, cause you know we are our own worst critics. Oops! The eyes were way off and crooked, and her corneas were absolutely humongous. It was not an accurate likeness but it was a great start after a few months off. I resolved to pay better attention to width in the next session.
Improving My Art
Life drawing is quite challenging as it strengthens my drawing abilities. It’s a favorite artist retreat for me and it really charges up my batteries. Some of them are my best friends there, and I love to be surrounded by them. The artists that attend are at all levels in the profession, some just learning, some are equal, and a few are phenomenally better than me. Artists are a special breed in the creative pool of life, and it is just fun to be around others like yourself. Learning from another artist is the way to go.
My third attempt was done using my favorite pencils for sketching which are the Palomino Blackwings. They are gloriously soft and easily darken with very little pressure, but, I wish they were not so expensive. $2.50 is way too much for a pencil drawing tool, but I do love them.
Carefully placed her features as I remained conscious of making her face closer to me I laid the basic sketch out in the first 20-minute period and then in the second 20-minute session I focussed on rendering each feature in more detail. This sketch was a much better representation of the model even though it was a little too slender. Not bad for not actually measuring every step of the way.
Drawing from a model in pencil. We had a great model for portraiture last week. After the drawing session, I did a quick sketch of her from a picture I got of her between poses. Her face is so expressive.
Here is a pencil portrait that is drawn from pictures of a friend when their family came out to visit. Her picture was just so perfect I had to see if I could capture her with a sketch. I think I have pretty much got her personality here. I love her fabulous bone structure and she is so very very photogenic.
You don’t often get photographs that actually relay the lively personality of their model but this little girl’s photo is the epitome of that. She is a person who loves to play in snow smiling and laughing often.
Here is my portrait AF in monochrome. Amalia Fisch is a fellow artist in the Spokane Watercolor Society Club. This portrait was done for the January challenge to do a painting in monochrome. What a challenge it is to do work using only one color. The single color chosen for this image was Dioxazine Purple by Blick Artist’s Watercolors. Below is the painting in the process after a few light washes had established the figure.
Yesterday was our monthly meeting at Spokane Art supply at 10 am. It was great to be able to see my artist friends again. Seeing their work is the highlight of the meeting for me. Being able to share and talk about methods is so valuable. I always learn from these meetings.
BO Monochrome Portrait done for the January challenge, to do a painting using only one color. Here is a fellow artist, Bill Okamura for this month’s Spokane Watercolor Society meeting.
What was the result? A realization that “monochrome” changes how I approach a painting. Basically, the values become key, and other colors are not there to distract me as I paint. Use value to get depth and shape.
Our monthly meeting for the Spokane Watercolor Society was at Spokane Art supply at 10 am yesterday. Seeing my artist friends and their work is inspiring to me. Bill did a monochrome painting of an old car that was spectacular! Hope he shares with us.
Being able to share methods and techniques is so valuable to me.
Here is a monochrome of Diane, the first of the portraits all finished. I am very happy with the look of this and hope it ranks well in the monthly challenge program at the next meeting. It is a veritiable challenge to get depth and shape in using only one color. I believe it was done using Ultramarine blue or cobalt, now I am not sure. Some day soon I have to go ahead and mark my watercolor wells on the pallet. The only sure fire way for me to keep the names straight. Honestly, I just dab into whatever color feels right to use rather than knowing which color should be used scientifically. It is the artist (lack of) logic in full force.
Can’t wait to go to the Spokane Watercolor Society meeting scheduled for January 18th (Saturday) at 10am at the Spokane Art Supply Classroom here in Spokane, Washington. Truly, a case of, “birds of a feather” hanging out together. It is so much fun to visit with other artists and compare methods. I haven’t been able to attend any meetings for quite a while. Health issues prevented me from doing much of anything for the past half year. It is great to be feeling better and I am hoping to be able to get out more now.
I’d be glad to have you come as my guest to explore your interest in watercolor painting. You’d probably like to come check out this meeting with me. It really is a great help to be able to hook up with others interested in art, as you are. Email me here if you are so inclined and we will work out the particulars about where to meet, driving or carpool etc.
Today is a happy painting and writing day for this person.
The pet portrait of Stella is done. I have been able to add tones of neutral brown to her body and face to read as gray to black fur and am now satisfied with Stella. The background is toned down and darkened enough to not compete with her face for attention. I do believe we are complete.
Note the crop lines around her that show the final 11×17 size. Here is how it looks after it is cropped.
My little girl’s face is shown with the mastic removed. Allowing me to continue with the details applied in layers of transparency. Mostly the focus is on darkening the shadows on her face, hair, around her eyes, and mouth.
Just finished adding the final hair strokes. Using White, blues for shadow, some oranges and some more white in eyes, bright skin patches, and eye specks. It’s All Pau which means all finished in Pidgin.
A precious little girl portrait is the subject of my next watercolor portrait. Here she is shown here holding a bird in my photographic reference. I love her great expression and hope to be able to capture that with brilliant colors.
Sketching is the first step so that I can establish a layout that works. After the initial pencil lines are laid down I begin deciding where the brightest light areas are on her facial shapes.