I totally forgot that I meant to post a charcoal portrait of my daughter in the last post! That was a major reason I did a non-art post, but I guess that’s what happens when you have someone like me, posting about who-knows-what. I try to stay on topic of art, but sometimes, I gotta stray.
Portrait of Anna
Granted, this portrait was done years ago, and I’m painfully aware I should do an update. Plus, I have other family members who have waited patiently for their turn, but since theirs is free, they have no choice but to sit back and… wait some more.
Portrait of my Dad
So now we get to go down memory lane…to 20 (yes, TWENTY!) years ago. I did a portrait of my dad that I submitted and won 1st place in a Father’s Day event. Looking at it now…I can honestly tell you his lips were not that “pretty”. Maybe a redo is in order… 😉
It’s a “stippling” portrait, made up of a bunch of dots. I did a few other drawings in the same fashion, but that’s another topic… Maybe I’m not that brave to show more of my work from high school, but it might be an eye opener for some who think you gotta be born with talent. 😉
So the original post disappeared shortly after it was highlighted on another webpage. Sorry it’s taken a few weeks for me to get the energy to piece it back together. (Very strange and since I don’t know WHY it happened, or even know HOW to find out why, I’m just going to add the photos back and go from there).
The beginning didn’t start out the way I wanted and I quickly discovered that my sketch wasn’t right. I remedied that by covering the entire panel in charcoal and then bringing out the lighter pieces with a kneaded eraser. At this stage, it’s pretty loose and messy looking.
|Beginning stage using vine charcoal and a kneaded eraser
Now I’m adding more detail now that I’m satisfied with the placement, but still using just charcoal and eraser. (There might be a little bit of pastel on the right ear).
|Refining the detail
It becomes more obvious that I’m adding color now, mainly a soft blue – both to the background and to the fur.
|Next step, adding pastels over the charcoal
Adding a second color, mostly a peach color to the fur, to play with the warm and cool sections. Blurring your eyes on the photo helps pick out different colors. I also take a piece of paper with a hole in it and hold it over the photo to identify colors. It’s amazing what you see there that your eye didn’t pick up before.
Getting into the nitty-gritty of the painting, playing with the colors and adding more local color to the nose and eyes.
|Playing with the peach and blue. Also added some pink to the nose and orange to the eyes.
Is this like watching paint dry? I can’t help but take tons of photos. I’m adding more black, darkening sections of the fur. I’ve also refined the nose a little more.
|Darkening the fur and softening the nose
The final step…you can see that I’ve softened the fur a little. One of my favorite spots is under his chin. It’s really soft there, almost as if he’s shedding and you can gently pull the hair right out. (Does anyone else love to do that? I could do that to these long-haired dogs for HOURS!)
|“Wooly Malamute” | 16×20 | pastel
I’ve been working on my newest animal piece on pastelbord. As you’ve seen, I did this cow with charcoal and a kneaded eraser. (For you city folk, this is NOT the donkey…)
I used vine charcoal only – which are the skinny ones on the left.
This eraser is my favorite…my progress stops completely if I can’t find one of mine…it’s called “kneaded” because…well, here’s what Cheap Joe’s says on their website:
“These erasers are great because they can last just about forever. Many beginning artists don’t understand just how great a kneaded eraser is because no one ever shows you how to use one.
But, here is a tip. These erasers are stretchy. This is great when you want to shape these erasers to fit into tight spaces or when you want to ball them up to eraser a swath a few inches wide. They are also kind of like silly putty in that you can shape them, then place them on an area that is a little too dark, press down and voila! You can instantly lighten an area and fix a compositional nightmare in an instant. But, here is the especially great part.
To clean these erasers just stretch them out, fold them over, stretch it again… and again. These erasers come out clean and brand new all over again. There aren’t too many art materials that are your friend and last practically forever.”
They’re great stress relievers too. My kneaded erasers are usually pretty clean.
Since pastelbord has a rough surface, I also used a stump for the blending. The white of the drawing is the actual pastelbord surface in the cow drawing.
OK, so enough about the supplies. Let’s talk about the new piece I have. It’s a juvenile donkey from a reference photo I took while on vacation. I started off with a quick sketch…it’s different than regular sketching since I wanted to preserve the white of the surface. It’s pretty rough looking and reminiscent of a zebra.
I was mainly blocking in the values, but this eats up those charcoal sticks quickly!
I added more texture to the fur and backgound.
I played with this for a while, trying to get the right balance of background texture…I ended up using white pastel on the lightest areas.
I’m not ready to call it “done”, but ready to set it aside for a day or two.
The writing gene apparently did not rub off on me, which is probably why I don’t post more…yep, that’s my excuse. Maybe I need to write less and post more pictures.
I’ve been working on quite a few pieces since I last posted here, so I’m going to update everyone!
Let’s see…I finished a charcoal drawing of a local dairy cow… this is 16″ x 20″ on pastelbord…
I finally finished the Lily of the Valley (it’s a Flower of the Month for May). It’s 8″ x “10” on Stonehenge paper…and yes, it was white paper that I painstakingly darkened. (Reminder to myself that there are other papers to choose from!)
I also finished the tiger lilies here, that I believe is on Aquabord (Ampersand). It’s 10″ x 8″ and is framed without glass.
The poinsettias are actually small – 4″ x 4″, almost coaster size, which is exactly what my family thinks it should be…
Another flower of the month, this time for June…an antique rose.
This is a 16″ x 20″ pastel of tropical flowers…I keep forgetting what they’re called. I can’t decide whether or not to leave it as is, with part of it incomplete, or work it a little more. That’s why I haven’t framed or named it.
And finally, the autumn berries – on aquabord, 7″ x 5″, framed without glass. (I may have already added this to a post, but maybe not?)
I do have another colored pencil flower I’m working on…I promise to add this as I work instead of posting the finished product.
Tina II, charcoal, 12 x 14 inches
Just in case you were wondering, last week’s class was canceled. Sorry about that – I guess I could have said something, but I was in a funk. This week’s model was Tina, which I was happy to hear that someone recognized to be the same model as one of my other drawings. (That always makes you feel good – that a person comes out recognizable!)
I’ve posted the portrait I did last night from our class. You can always tell who got to the class late…because they’re usually delegated to the sides and end up doing the profile portrait!
This model asked for the portrait at the end of class…I told him to come back next week since I wanted to take a photograph of it first.
OK, so I’m not sure if this will work – the picture above should be a slideshow of 7 portraits done from life. (Press Play – I had to make it into a movie). Five of them were from my last portrait class, one was done at home and the other was done at Art&Soul Studios during an opening we had in November… If it doesn’t work, I’ll try something else. If that doesn’t work, then I’m stuck just pasting 7 images in the blog.
Tomorrow starts another session of portrait classes for me – I’m taking them with Herb Slapo at the Carrboro Arts Center. (Not to be confused with the one I’ll be teaching in Mebane!) I have a really fun time going there and being with other artists and drawing from life (from a willing subject). Notice the slides above from the last session (if it works) – the first week started with the pencil portrait and I felt extremely rusty. It just wasn’t clicking with me. The second week I decided to bring my charcoal and it was so much easier. Maybe it was because I loosened up a bit, maybe it was the medium, maybe both. Or, it could have been the subject. I decided to work with charcoal for the next session, then the next, etc. For me, charcoal tends to force me to stay loose. I should point out that I don’t use a charcoal pencil. I use the vine or willow charcoal and tissue to blend. (The charcoal I use looks like the one 2nd from the left in the picture below).
I’ll be bringing my charcoal to the next class…but I might bring some pastels too. We’ll see!!!