Thursday, October 14, 2010

Latest Watercolor Exercises

These two watercolor sketches are from the first two weeks of the fall session at Manifest. I'm pretty happy with the progress overall.

I've been trying to work in a bolder looser fashion. I'm also trying to forfeit a lot of control to the medium itself, which parodoxically gives the illusion of control in the final result.

These imperfect reproductions were taken with a point and shoot camera. I'll try to get scanned versions later —tiling them takes hours.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Profile in Pastel

This is pastel drawing I made a few sessions ago at Manifest. It's been tacked to the wall for months and I felt it was time to take it down. The piece as a whole wasn't stellar, but I was happy enough with the face.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Seated Female Figure

I painted this one on Tuesday at Manifest. I wish had been more attentive to the proportions, but I think my handling of the watercolor has improved, and I'm reaching for a greater diversity of marks. This time, I added shadows with very watery layers of red and purple, which I think creates that luminosity that one expects from watercolor. It's a lighter piece overall —I generally prefer more darks —but appropriately soft for a nude female figure at rest.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Male Profile

This is a detail from a larger sketch of a male model. His expression came out a bit angry-looking. Probably a result of my caricaturing his brow a little.

I'm still evaluating this one. I like some of the details: the ear and sideburns, and the crazy tuft of hair, but some more control of the values and gradations in the flesh tones would help a lot. The shadow under the chin particularly bugs me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reclining Female

More practice with watercolor figures. I'm trying to allow the drawing underneath to play a larger role in the final piece.

I prefer the detail of the upper body, but here's the full piece below anyway:

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Another attempt at controlling watercolor.

I'm obviously not in full command of where the water will take the pigment, but I can control roughly, the shape of the individual marks as well as their value. When you can orchestrate shapes and values, you can begin to create the illusion of a 3-dimensional forms on your paper, so it's a start. Another thing I can control is the composition in pencil before I go to the wet media. Admittedly, this composition is not particularly exciting —I chose the back view to give myself a better exercise in modeling the human form in watercolor.

I'm happy with the marks in the folds of the blue cloth, and I kinda like that little bit of her right arm where the shadow picks up a bit of reflected red light.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reclining Figure in Watercolor

I took watercolors to my figure-drawing session last Tuesday, which took a bit of nerve. Although I'm not entirely satisfied with the work, I'm posting it anyway —I'm determined to gain some proficiency at this, and chronicling my successes and failures will hopefully push me a bit harder. I'm pretty happy with the head and lower torso, even though I wish I had laid in the color with less scrubbing. The model's shoulder isn't reading quite right, partly because I added a thin dark shadow on the cloth where it rises and overlaps the figure. I also struggled with the light on the breasts and lower ribcage, so the upper torso isn't reading the way i'd like it to.

I'll try again this week, and make some changes to my setup, so I can make better use of my time and materials.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Winter Experiments

The Winter session just ended at Manifest, so I pulled some pieces off the studio wall and photographed them. This is admittedly a mixed bag, and maybe I'll work into them a bit.

I'm trying to find ways of applying the pastel without obliterating the linework or smothering it with too much rendering.

I'm also trying to improve my color. Everytime I try to push it a bit, I get something unnatural or garish.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another Oldie

Uh, the art that is. This one is from the old Court Street sessions about 4 years ago.
The marks are a bit coarse and the chair's straights and curves aren't perfectly formed, but I got a figure, some environment and a pretty interesting expression in just under an hour. I'm pretty happy with that.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


These are a couple of quick pastel drawings I did at Manifest months ago.

I particularly like the simplicity and abstract quality of this first one (above). The black lines are sensitive enough and didn't get obliterated by the chalk, which happens too often in my figures.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I did this color sketch 2 weeks ago —the model was a first-timer. I'm not sure whose idea it was, but she took on a difficult 90-minute standing pose.

My particular view wasn't outstanding, so the full-figure composition was less than stellar. I took another look at it and decided there was something to appreciate in the face. At least one other artist, whose opinion I greatly respect, commented that I effectively captured the intensity of her expression —a combination of nervousness, concentration, and perhaps a bit of pain.

Figure drawing models are deserving of all the respect we can give them.