Life Drawing in Summer

Life Drawing in summer is one of the best ways to work on those old drawing skills. Here are 2 of my attempts at portrait drawings (25-minute sessions) from this Monday night’s “life drawing” class. We did portraits of a beautiful high school volleyball player who sat real still, which makes the drawing or painting much easier on all of us.life drawing 2

When I started going in January 2021, I was terrible. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get a likeness of the model. Now, things are improving. It is amazing what a little practice can do.

figure drawing 1This class is an artist date night for me. I get to see fellow artists and visit with what is important to us. We are a fun group of artists and we have all become friends. We meet for a three-hour life drawing session with a live model every Monday evening at Terry Lee’s studio in Coeur d’Alene, ID. However thanks to good old COVID, attendance dropped, so we changed to 2 Mondays each month for the rest of the summer. You can contact Terry at the link above or me anytime if you’d like to come to join us. There is nothing more challenging to draw than the human form.

Drawing on Mondays

Drawing Figure 04/19/21

Drawing on Monday, from a live model is wonderful. During the past two weeks, our models were interesting and held quite still. Last week, the male model posed in different positions for 25-minute sets, and here is my best out of the group of pencil drawings created that evening.

It is amazing how challenging it is to draw a human figure. A slight change in angle or lighting makes the drawing totally different. I dearly love the time spent at Terry Lee’s studio in Coeur d’Alene ID. Talking with the other artists and seeing everyone’s work is a true inspiration. We have artists working in watercolor, oils, pencil, and acrylics. There is a collection of some really talented local artists. Sometimes, I feel like I have just finished doing a 5 mile run after three hours of intense drawing, but it improves my drawing every time.

Figure 04/26/21The next week we had a female model posing for portrait night. This is where we have the same pose for all three hours. The model takes a break after 25 minutes and then comes back to the same position again after the break, throughout the 3-hour session. Here is the best portrait rendered in charcoal, from a group of three drawings for the night.

It is amazing how challenging it is to draw a human figure. A slight change in angle or lighting makes the drawing totally different. I dearly love the time spent at Terry Lee’s studio in Coeur d’Alene ID. Talking with the other artists and seeing everyone’s work is a true inspiration. We have artists working in watercolor, oils, pencil, and acrylics. There is a collection of some really talented local artists. Sometimes, I feel like I have just finished doing a 5 mile run after three hours of intense drawing, but it improves my drawing every time.

Dream Inspirations

Dream Inspiraiton, Jesus Focus With Dove
14.5″w x 17″h pencil on sketch paper. Jesus focus is embodied in rays illuminating out of His left eye, as he beckons us and His dove with his right hand.

Dreams

A lot of my images are gift dream inspirations. A vivid dream occurs with an image or sound and sometimes words are spoken. If I am lucky, it flashes through my mind right as I wake up and I run down to the studio to put it down on paper before it fades away. This pencil sketch is one of those dreams.

Answers

I went to bed worried about the state of the world asking, “What am I going to do Lord?”. You know, one of those times when the world’s troubles monopolize your mind making it impossible to feel any serenity.

Be careful when you ask the Man Upstairs for advice, cause you usually get a real direct reply. This was a reply with Him standing in the wind saying, “Don’t lose your Focus!” as He reached out to me, and right then, a bright white dove returned home to sit on His hand. His eye had a great sparkle that extended out making everything bright. Right then I knew everything would be alright.

Jesus Focus With Dove 1
Progress shot showing beginning layout with facial features.

Steps to do a pencil rendering of that dream. I first sketch out a very preliminary layout moving items here and there to get the basic idea down. I begin to search my image files and the internet for references for the hand position, and the facial expression. Next is a search for a flying dove image in my reference books and online. With the help of PhotoShop I am able to build a layout to work from that fits what I remember.

Jesus Focus With Dove 2
His right hand extending toward the viewer is rendered.
Jesus Focus With Dove 3
The background shading reveals the dove’s flight.
Jesus Focus With Dove 4
With the hair in the wind and other background surfaces shaded it comes to life.

A Child Pencil Portrait

child portrait EM
18″w x 12″h pencil sketch on paper

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.

Unethical

Unethical, Already Apprehended Sketch
24″w x 18″h pencil on paper. A window sill with a saying, “It is only unethical if you get caught.” Accompanied by a kerosene lantern on top of a bible.

Sketching About Unethical

It’s only unethical if you get caught.

Serendipity or is it just part of the plan? Yesterday I completed a pencil sketch of these items noticed on my window sill by my desk in the studio. Three items just happened to be right in front of me and it was a little freaky because….they made me think. Which is a scary situation all in itself.

Usually, I get inspiration from dreams that need to be drawn immediately. This was different because it was a realization when I was fully awake, similar to having a lightbulb come on for me as I gazed at the items on the window sill. Wow, check that out. The items themselves are not phenomenal by themselves but their juxtaposition created quite a thought process to spin around in my mind. There is more than one rendition of this scene on the blog, check the pen & ink drawing.

Thoughts

First off, that saying really caught my eye because it’s a thought I have had a lot of lately. Next to this contradictable saying sets an old-fashioned “source of light” (God). Then, a light source that lights our way when the electricity is out at our home. You can see that both of these items rest on top of my bible lying on the desk.
Unethical is Unethical

Jesus Focus

Jesus Focus
17h x 14.5 wide pencil on sketch paper.

Dreams

A Jesus focus is what I saw as I was dreaming last night. He was standing there in the wind saying, “Where is your focus? Focus on Me.”

Many of my paintings and drawings are derived from dream inspirations from the night before. If I go to bed with something bothering me, I can look forward to finding answers in visions and thoughts arriving vividly with full color and brightness.

Dahlia Closeup Watercolor

I am finishing this dahlia closeup watercolor this week. Here are 6 progressive shots of the painting’s progress. Dahlia Closeup Sketch B0820

12″w x 13″h watercolor on 300lb Arches paper.I establish the layout with a pencil sketch .

Dahlia Closeup B0820
12″w x 13″h watercolor on 300lb Arches paper.

Starting with a background wash of alizarin crimson I begin to apply highlight color washes on the leaves, then progress to the light washes on the flowers.

Dahlia Closeup B0820
12″w x 13″h watercolor on 300lb Arches paper.

Various shades of green and gray are applied to the leaves in the background.

Dahlia Closeup B0820
12″w x 13″h watercolor on 300lb Arches paper.

The next step is, to bring up the intensity of the colors in the blossoms by applying bright layers.

Dahlia Closeup B0820
12″w x 13″h watercolor on 300lb Arches paper.

To complete this piece, there is very little work remaining to be done. The process becomes a back and forth balancing act from here. I apply the darks and shadows. Followed by accentuating the lights until I get the look I want.

I will be sure to share the finished painting in the near future.

Crocus Plein Air

The previous post was photographs of the first crocus buds appearing 4.14.2019, following these are the first plein air paintings in a new sketchbook of these purple & white buds. A new 50 page 7″ x 5″ 130lb watercolor sketchbook inspires sketching to begin. 

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I have not done this kind of on-the-spot painting in a while and the blossoms seem a little rough. Next, here are some shots of the bright blossoms today. Check out the sleepy, little fuzzy guy in the blossom. Bzzzzz said the bee. He really is lethargic in the cool spring air but already covered with pollen. 

Aren’t the colors vibrant?

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crocus blossom with a bee
Crocus with a bee

Happy Easter…. from me to you, with crocus plein air sketches in the yard today.

Crocus Blossom sketch paint 01
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 01
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 02
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 02

First sketch seems a bit mushy but the second one is getting to be a style I could really come to love. Let me know what you think….

Clock Tower from Above

Plein Air Landscape

This is a view of the Riverfront Clock Tower from above at a bridge railing. Looking from above the Washington Street viaduct with a constant flow of cars entering downtown underneath seemed almost surreal. This specific view is a cozy little oasis (off-the-beaten-path) with its own cool bench. Virtually, a perfect place to set up water, brushes, and paint to your heart’s content with minimal interference from foot traffic. Initially, I was worried there would be no interesting views to paint at Riverfront park but I was proven so very wrong. I only had to open my eyes, to see great nature views, or people enjoying the nature views.

clock tower reference photo
above the clock tower

I am a member of the Spokane Watercolor Society, and we have a group of Plein air painters meeting once a month on the last Friday of the month at high noon to paint together. If you’d like to join us feel free to contact us and let us know at our Facebook page Plein Air and Urban Sketching – Members of SWS. It is a monthly art event that I look forward to every month. Fellow artists share ideas and methods and challenge each other to continue to improve.

It is simply a lot of fun!

I took some time to sketch the clock tower carefully before heading down to the riverside level. Subsequently, trying another view, nearer where the rest of the group was painting next.

clock tower above sketch
clock tower sketch

Working from memories and pictures taken at the scene, I finished this painting back at the studio on 4/5/2019.

Riverfront Clock Tower from Above
9″w x 12″h watercolor. Riverfront Park’s Clock Tower from Above D2219