Here are 2 of my attempts at portrait drawings (25 minute sessions) from this Monday night “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.
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.
This 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 artist’s 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 Monday’s each month for the rest of the summer. You can contact Terry at the link above or myself anytime if you’d like to come join us. There is nothing more challenging to draw than the human form.
We had wonderful models on Monday evening life drawing these past two weeks. 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 from the evening.
The 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 the 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 real 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.
This is a 7″ x 10″ watercolor on 140lb paper. It is my first watercolor from a class started yesterday. I am happy with the lighting because it does appear like it was, on the model.
So, the news is that I attended a session on life drawing on Monday night. Wow, what a refreshing exercise that is for me. Drawing from a live human being really brings the drawing skills out to play. The model can’t hold still forever, so you have to get those pencils to move fast enough to get the image down before the timer goes off. It feels a little stressed but so creative at the same time. I left feeling almost as if I had just had group art therapy and was ready to tackle the world. Well, at least the art world anyhow. I had forgotten how much fun this is and how great it is to work on our skills with other artists. Birds of a feather…
Hopefully, this kind of study will improve my figurative renderings in the future.
Things begin to take shape with the characters as I begin adding trumpet player skin and instrument tones. Progress continues along with the singer’s light washes showing the beginning of the skin tones and hair.
I am adding details to center instruments, the guitar is getting reds and golden tones, the piano keys are receiving shadow shades to accentuate the twists and curves as they wrap themselves around the curve of the guitar. Fun.
I tend to keep reference images right next to where I am working. You can see the first sketch of this idea original painting resting next to my current painting. I really enjoy the bright colors in this original sketch idea so it sits here to remind me.
The next step for me is to wet all of the background very carefully so I can start to apply a loose bright background. I love to drop large bright drops of color in my backgrounds. As long as I keep the wetness to specifically where I want the color to spread this technique works just fine.
Still working on improving my portraiture craft specifically in the realm of “realism” . This is a progressive shot of Little Ben’s portrait, where I am currently adding darks mediums and lights to get the values right so I can start on the details to finish. One step at a time 🙂
It is an honor to attend a class with Stan Miller at Spokane Art Supply on Wednesdays 1-4pm for Intermediate/Advanced Watercolor instructions. It is so inspiring to work with such a talented master artist. I am working on improving my craft specifically in the “realism” realm. Currently working with two grandkid images, this is Ben on the right. I am following Stan’s suggestion to focus up close and get the realism down pat… instead of doing the whole body layout.