Monthly Archives: February 2011

Basic Drawing Skills – William Haines

William Haines was an actor from silent movie era.  This is our first profile.  Profiles are a little more challenging because the symmetry that makes a frontal portrait easy is missing in profile.  I like the value pattern on this profile with the highlights along the edge of the forehead, nose, lower lip and chin.  Getting the shape of a nose in profile is often difficult.  Sometimes it helps to use the concept of  ‘negative space’ to get the right shape for the facial features.  The lighting of this portrait is very engaging.

Acrylic As Watercolour

I’m still painting exclusively in acrylic but this image seemed to call for a watercolour type approach.  The image was from our trip to Kelowna at Christmas time.  Just between Revelstoke and Golden we turned off the highway and went down this back road into a real winter wonderland.  These trees covered in hoar frost were an exciting image and I thought a very wet in wet underpainting would be the way to capture the frosty tree shapes.  I feel that this particular technique was fairly effective in capturing the feeling I was going for.  This is a study that I intend to lead to a larger studio painting.

12″ X 8″

Spontaneous Mark Making

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve found it a very creative experience to just start making marks on the paper without any preplanning or preliminary drawing. The only artist I know that does this consistently is Brent Laycock.  Interestingly his work has a look that is unlike almost anyone else.  For me this spontaneity comes when I’m practicing mixing colours and just putting swatches on the paper to see the colour .  Because I’m focused on something else (the colour mixtures) the marks themselves are completely spontaneous.  This image was done that way.  This is only the second image I’ve done  using just casein.  I began with random swatches which became the 3 groups of people.  Everything else was just playing around those marks and it ended up as a middle eastern image.  Unfortunately, I did over work the image a bit but it was still fun and definitely different for me.


12″ X 10″

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Basic Drawing Skills – Sylvia Sidney

I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of Sylvia Sidney.  She was a actress in the late 1920’s and 1930’s.  She worked a lot with Alfred Hitchcock.  She often played the penniless girl.  She certainly has a bit of that look to her.  But quite intriguing anyway.  Again this drawing is a example  of one way of doing this portrait for the people in the Basic Drawing Skills class.  I’m enjoying the shading style that I’m using.  I look at the shading as  painting with a pencil.  I generally do an underpainting with a light layer of shading and then I go in and add a second, third layer to create the darks.  I think one reason that she has this vulnerable look is that her eyes are wider apart than the ‘normal’.  The challenge here was the hair mostly because it was so difficult to see in the reference material.  I’ve erased some highlights to create a little interest in their.  If I were to take more time I would work mostly on the hair.  I love the right eyebrow (her left).  I used the kneadable eraser to blot out a bit of the eye brow which lines up with a highlight just below it and gives a neat effect of light hitting there.  I feel that I did capture her vulnerability.