Charcoal Portrait from Life

Anne, charcoal, 18×24 I decided to switch to charcoal for yesterday’s portrait class (1 1/2 hours). It had been a while since I’ve worked with pencil – I was just too impatient last week. I prefer using willow charcoal since it allows me to block in shapes, planes, etc instead of getting distracted with the detail. I’ve seen artists who lay down charcoal first and pick up the highlights with the eraser. I find this fascinating, but not for me. I sketch the blueprint (nothing too detailed), then block in the shadows. At this point, it’s not a pretty sight! I typically use a tissue over my index finger to blend and soften the charcoal. I push the charcoal around to create the mid tone, usually going in the direction of the contours. This really helps to build the face and allow you to see beyond the eyes, lips, nose, etc and instead, see the hills and valleys. I then

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Portrait

Lavada and Ken, charcoal, 11″x14″ I feel like I’ve neglected this, but I guess not…it’s only been 5 days or so. I think I’m getting to the final stretch with the most recent portrait, though I’m still not calling it done. It has a different feel to it than the others, but I think it has more to do with the following: the source photo: the source photo was not as clear as the others, so there is less detail. Less detail in the photo=less detail in the portrait. vicinity to the camera: this comes back to the # of subjects for obvious reasons. # of subjects: the more people in the portrait, the less focus I can provide to each. Basically, this is the key to the whole portrait – the more subjects, the further they have to be from the camera, and the less detail it will provide. So, really it comes down to you get what you

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First Real Attempt at Colored Pencil…and Arlington

This is a pretty bad photograph, so I apologize for that…but I’m beginning to see how obsessive colored pencil can be. The only thing I did before this one was an ATC a month ago, but I guess I still didn’t get “it”. I’ve just been too hesitant to use just one color, thinking that it was cheating. The flower above was done using an example from the book Painting Light with Colored Pencil by Cecile Baird. The flower is a little different from the book since I didn’t have the colors she listed, and I didn’t worry about getting the petals like the example. However, the steps that were listed were clear enough that when I followed them with my version of colors, it turned out pretty good for my first serious attempt at CP. Since it’s just a practice one, I didn’t worry about the background, either. I may add it later. As for the sketch below, this

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Weekly Sketch

Lightbulb, charcoal, 9″ x 11″ Yep, it’s a lightbulb. As a part of my renewed commitment to my work, I am participating in a weekly sketch over on Wetcanvas. The great thing about this site is that it provides reference photos without any issues of copyright. The photo gallery over there is wonderful! I have spent many nights browsing the photographs, from people, animals to landscapes and machinery. However, the downside of drawing or painting from a reference photo is that you can be limited by the quality of the photo and its composition. The one thing I never thought about was that you are also limited by your printer. I printed a photo of the lightbulb and went on my merry way to begin the sketch. The shadow kept bothering me since it was cropped so harshly. Once I finished, I went back to the site to post my progress and lo and behold the original photo was different!

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Where I Am Now

So, there’s a first time for everything, right? I’ve pondered for months whether or not to start a blog and like all bloggers, I decided to give it a try. Before, I thought I had nothing to talk about except for my kids, my husband, my family in general…and who wants to read about my life? Well, since I am an artist, it never occured to me to talk about my art! After all, it’s been quite some time since I did anything real with it. Once I graduated, (with art and history degrees), I went straight to work…in clinical research. Oh, I get the question all the time. How does one with an art degree go into clinical research? Ummm…I always wanted to be a starving artist, until I figured out that meant not having any money! Plus, it helps to have a sister that knows someone with a temp position open…Anyway, that’s beside the point. It’s been a

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