Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fall Session

It's been a rough fall session at Manifest with one bright spot. I managed to capture this male model in crude slashes of pastel. I was paying particular attention to the values and only varied my palette in the last 10 minutes. The face could use some refining, but I'm happy with the torso the way it is.

The composition is a bit static, but when cropped, the image greatly improves, I think.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Three weeks ago I decided to switch media. Not because I was bored with pastel —quite the opposite, as I feel I've barely begun to mine their potential. For years I've been meaning to improve my skill in using watercolor —forcing myself to paint the figure in this challenging medium should help a lot. After two lackluster attempts, I decided to move to a larger sheet of paper and put in lighter washes relying a bit more on my graphite linework. This is the result.

The colors got lighter as they dried (something I'm going to have to get used to.) So I may have to revisit this, giving more attention to the modeling of the hands and softening the bare pate. Darkening the background should help as well.

Standing Male

We're halfway through the spring session, so I thought I'd post some recent images. I did this pastel a few weeks ago, and didn't like it much as I was working on it. After living with it for awhile, I decided it's worth saving.

I like the pose and the angle of the backlit head. I also like the slightly exaggerated nose. The bottom part of the composition got short-shrift, particularly the hands.
I'm thinking of adjusting the color a bit and putting the lower body mostly in shadow to re-emphasize the head as the focal point.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Three Portraits

Here's a trio of portraits all done during Court Street sessions over the year. I focus on heads when the face is more inspiring than the pose.

It's especially gratifying when I can capture the essence of the person with a few well-laid strokes.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Backlit Figure

This is a drawing I finished at the end of the fall session. Having the figure backlit is a double-edged sword. It can be interesting to have the figure accentuated with a dramatic halo. On the negative side, you find yourself fumbling for certain colors in the dark, and you really don't know what you've got on the paper until the session ends. This time I was pleased.

This was also done in the late fall. I think it's a nice start, but the details in the face kept me from fully developing the image. There are some unresolved hints of color and value in the environment that need to be strengthened before I'd call this a successful sketch. Great pose though.


Here's a drawing I did several years ago during a Court Street session. It was a 15-20 min. pose, which is a nice length of time —short enough for an interesting pose, but still allowing enough time to check proportions and develop the mid-tones a bit.

Up till now, I've been digitizing these drawings on my tiny flatbed scanner. Each one had to be carefully scannedin 6 pieces and tiled together using Photoshop. It takes well over an hour to complete the scanning and assembling of each image, which may go a long way to explain the long time intervals between posts. This weekend, I decided to set up a tripod and shoot some drawings on the living room floor (which makes my wife wince.) My technique is far from perfect, and it still requires a lot of color-adjustment to approximate what's on the paper. Still, I hope it allows me to post more frequently.