Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Sketchbook: Westhampton Beach

I'm so lucky to have a friend with a place right on the beach. This past weekend, I drew the delightful view from their deck. Simple and quick -- just a quick sketch with pen, and a watercolor wash.

I'm still developing the skill of painting on location -- but you can sketch anywhere. And a weekend trip to the beach can provide an entire year's worth of inspiration for studio work!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Life Drawing - Sophia

Today, we drew a lovely model named Sophia. Here's what worked, and what didn't ...

After the warm up, a nice view of her torso:

This one drawing came closest to what Bruce Waldman, our drawing instructor, has been saying: Make one area stand out, to direct the eye.

Here, I tried to emphasize her tricep, with a bold line and shadow. But, I wish I hadn't added the shading to the right of her neck, or made the crook of her far elbow so dark -- it's distracting)

Next, I tried crosshatching instead of shading with the side of the charcoal (below, A).  While I love when other artists do this, for now, using the side just suits me better (B).


Next, a foreshortened pose. Those always give me trouble!

For the final pose, I added a few flesh tones plus black and white. The drawing is OK (other than the awful hand!) ...

 ... but there really isn't a focal point ... which brings me back to Bruce's key point:

For a more interesting drawing, find a focal point, and use contrast and line to make that one thing more important -- because when everything is equally important, nothing is.

I finally get it, and will try to remember to do that, going forward:)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Patti Mollica Workshop: Color Theory!

I had the good fortune to take a painting workshop with Patti Mollica. I have two of her books, and jumped at the chance to take a local workshop with her.

The goal was to learn color theory, in order to make better color decisions that help to 'bend reality'.  It was truly eye-opening to learn how to use the color wheel.

For instance, we painted the same coffee cup using different color schemes (monochromatic, analogous, complementary, etc. ), learning why some color choices work and others don't -- see above and below. I didn't get to all of the color schemes she talked about, but this is an easy thing to practice independently.

Patti is a wonderful artist and teacher. I highly recommend her classes/workshops!

Life Drawing -- more studies

I didn't love any of my drawings last Tuesday, but I always learn something in the process. My favorite was when I choose one accent color, as above.

Here are some others:

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Tuesday Life Drawing - Raven (more studies)

Today I used extra large sheets of craft paper. I love working life-sized!

As usual, started with short (1 minute) gestures. My favorite is the bottom left:

In this next pose, I got the gesture, if not the proportions:

Here's a longer standing pose (plus close up, for detail):

This twisted pose was tough. Wish I had composed it differently ... lost the arm and the head:(

The last pose was very foreshortened ...  a challenge!

Raven is such a wonderful model. A dancer, she possesses such grace -- she is a pleasure to draw. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Life Drawing Tuesdays: 'Raven" (Pastel on Paper, 18" x 24")

Today's model, a former dancer, had an amazing ability to create (and hold!) wonderful poses. I was pretty excited about how the final drawing turned out.

For the 30 minute pose above, I used an old piece of Wallis sanded paper (from an older pastel drawing that I washed off with turpenoid, leaving a streaky toned surface in a blue/burnt sienna palette. I just went with those colors. The composition worked out nicely, too:)

And, here are a few of the shorter poses leading up to it (working large, on oversized kraft paper):

Friday, June 22, 2018

Plein Air Thursdays - Stone Barns at Blue Hill

Weather permitting, a local group in Westchester, NY meets to paint 'en plein air', with painting instructor Andrew Lattimore. Today, I joined them at Stone Barns.

The idea of plein air painting is to complete a small work on location in a few hours. I am new to this, and tried a technique explained on artist Jennifer McChristian's blog.

She recommends:
  •  working out the composition in a notan (value study) 
  • doing an underpainting using two colors you might not expect (Indian Yellow and Thalo Red Rose)
  • working dark to light, and thick over thin 
I made lots of rookie mistakes, but enjoyed the attempt. Here are some progress photos:

I decided to eliminate the big tree in the foreground, but couldn't figure out what to do with the tree line. Then the light started to change. 

Jennifer McChristian makes plein air painting look easy:) ... I ended up wiping down the top third of canvas -- will go back to it next time. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Life drawing Tuesdays - 'Fred'

Today's model was a pleasure to draw. We started with short poses and graduated to longer ones.

Instructor David Fox says to start a longer pose exactly the same as a 1 minute pose. Get the gesture -- any added time is a bonus.

 For some reason, today I struggled with some of the most basic things -- placing the figure on the paper, and rendering his hands. Here are a few of the longer poses.