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Friday, November 22, 2013

Watercolor Portrait Demo at Art Focus Group
Wed, November 27, 2013 at 7pm

This coming Wednesday night I will be visiting the Art Focus Group in Port Coquitlam at the Outlet to do a watercolor portrait painting demo.  We will cover a bit of color theory and my process from drawing the portrait, stretching the paper, transferring the drawing and painting the portrait...in only 2 hours minus a coffee break....what was I thinking ;)  I did my first demo way back in 2009 Art Focus.  They are an amazing group of artists so I was very happy to be invited back to do a demo again.

The demo runs from 7 until 9 pm at The Outlet which is located at 2253 Leigh Square in Port Coquitlam.  There is no membership required and no cover fee so if you are in the area I hope you can come out and join me!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Noah Layne Oil Portrait Workshop

Oil Portrait Sketch from Life
I was initially not going to post this portrait as there is so much that needs to be done on this portrait, two days is just NOT enough time! But well, it is what it is ;)

It was an awesome workshop by Noah Layne and the model was excellent. Noah is an excellent teacher and is very patient and supportive. If you get the chance to take a workshop with him, you will not be dissapointed :)  We only had two days so the first day we drew with our brushes and a bit of burnt umber oil paint, gasp, no pencils...no charcoal...  gasp!!!

Actually it was surprisingly really fun!   I will definitely be doing more sketches this way.   Usually I would draw out a rough sketch with charcoal as a safety net.  But by drawing with paint, you are not boxed into a drawing that may not be as accurate as you like.  This way lines and shapes are easily changed as you go along, all the while becoming more familiar with the subject.
Day one was spent blocking in the proportions with the burnt umber paint.  Once I was relatively happy with the proportions I began blocking in her features.  One the first pass, I focused more on the values of her skin and tried to think of the facial planes, keeping things relatively 2 dimensional.  On the day two, I tried to get closer to her actual skin tones and focused more on modeling the forms. 

Of course, it was very rushed so I did not get to the lower portion of her face and I would have liked to soften her eyes and model the forms more.   It was an excellent learning experience though and I can not wait to paint again from life!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Rescued Dog Portrait - Luna

Graphite Dog Portrait
Sooo close to being done but thought I would post an update anyhoo.  The darks are taking such a long time to build up but so worth.  Still more work to be done on Luna's face and paw.  The markings on Luna's face need to be softened a touch and tweaked a bit and then I think she will be complete!

The pillow needs a touch more work as well with the design but I think the darks are where they need to be.  Such a pretty dog...sigh, I miss having a dog.  I love my cat....but I really miss having a dog.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Rescued Dog Portrait - Luna - Work in Progress

Luna - Graphite Pencil in Progress
Well I was hoping to post this completed but I needed to take a break! All that fur and the design on the pillow is what I loved about this portrait....and it is what I am loving "not so much" right now. 

It is taking many, many layers to build up the graphite the way I want it so I thought I had better take a break until I am back to feeling the love and not feeling lost in the weeds ;)

There is probably not a huge amount of work left to do but fresh eyes always makes for a better portrait so I am working on a still life for a bit and will come back to Luna. 

She is a beautiful dog that I started drawing during Pet Palooza earlier this year.  I am really liking the level of contrast between her and the pillow so now it is just about refining the fur and pillow design.  Then a bit of push and pull with the values and edges to make her body recede. 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Watercolor Portrait Complete

Watercolor Portrait Commission
Well I think she is complete and while I did not get her finished before the sun went down to get a photo with decent lighting....it did force me to try out the Speedlite 430EX II my hubby bought me...I think almost a year ago? 

Well, I don't know why I was so chicken to try it out and now wish I had tried it right away!  While the lighting is still not perfect, what a difference it makes and all I had to do was click it on and leave it in dummy mode!  Yes I will eventually learn how to use all the buttons...eventually.

So I think the portrait is complete and looks much nicer in  real life even with the better lighting.  On screen the transitions look much harsher and her neck appears so much lighter than her face but in real life the difference looks quite natural.  I can hardly wait to see it in the matt and frame as I think it is really going to look nice :)

Friday, September 06, 2013

Watercolor Portrait - Hair and Facial Features

Watercolor Portrait
The main portion of the portrait is complete, now for the fun stuff.  Cleaning up edges, softening her features and using glazes to build up touches of color here and there. 

Last but not least I will do a harmonizing flesh tone glaze to hopefully bring everything together!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Watercolor Portrait Commission - Flesh Tones

I was not happy with the way the flesh tones were going afer the last post, sigh, so I started the commission over and am much happier with the way things are progressing. 

The flesh tones have been painted over the grisaille in very thin layers to cover the layers below while still allowing the light to come through.  This layer allows me to further model her features while adding a warm glow to her skin.  Her neck has been left a little less resolved at this point as I will build up the color with a cooler, more bluish layers which will also be applied to her face to even out her skin.

As her hair, eyes and lips are very light and hazy right now, her face appears a touch dark (also due to my poor camera skills on another rainy day) but by the next update things should look more balanced.  Hopefully the sun will come back and I can get a decent photo....technically we still have 2 weeks left of summer...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Watercolor Portrait Commission - Grisaille and Underpainting

Watercolor Underpainting
Watercolor Grisaille
Oh how I have missed watercolor! Funny how you do not realized how much you love a medium until you are away from it for a while! I ave been focusing so much on life drawing and oils that I have not had the opportunity to work in watercolor for many months and now I remember why I love them so much, sigh, not enough hours in the day.

I posted both the updates side by side to show the difference in these stages, even though the lighting does not do it justice.  The paper is actually a creamy white and even though I took the photos under a daylight bulb I still can't seem to get an accurate photo of the colors.  It is best to go outside and take the photo in the shade on a cloudy or sunny day...but today is raining so I am not risking it!  As there are many more layers to go before I need to worry about displaying accurate colors I am not going to worry about it.

Despite the photo quality, I hope you can see how the paint appears much softer and  there is more of a translucency or opalescence to the grisaille which when the flesh colors are built up, still shows through giving a more natural skin effect.  That being said, I also love the underpainting stage so much that I have left many paintings at this stage as I just really liked the effect.

I think her portrait is coming along quite nicely and there are just minor adjustments needed to capture her likeness more which will be resolved once I begin modeling her form more with the flesh colors.  The flesh colors are where things really start to take shape and the ghostly portrait becomes more of a three dimensional solid portrait. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Watercolor Portrait Commission - Graphite Sketch on Watercolor Paper

Graphite Sketch on Watercolor Paper
This is a graphite sketch for my latest watercolor commission that has been transferred to a stretched sheet of 16x20" Arches Cold Pressed watercolor paper.

After the transfer has been copied onto the paper, areas need to be tweaked a bit due to the texture of the watercolor paper which is great for painting, it is tricky to get the exact angles correct with a pencil.

I do go over the transfer with a very sharp 2H pencil which is a hard lead which helps, but more adjusting is necessary with a thin layer of watercolor paint to really get into the weave of the paper.  

This portrait is going to be a full color watercolor portrait which I am excited to start as it has been a while since I have had the chance to work with watercolors...man have I missed them!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pet-a-Palooza - Saturday July 13, 2013 from 11-3pm
Village Plaza

I am so excited to have been invited to attend this years Pet-a-Palooza at Village Plaza this Saturday in Vancouver.  It sounds like a lot of fun and I hope to get a chance to check out the other kiosks while I am there.  I will be bringing some of my pet portraits as well as working on a portrait of a beautiful rescue dog, Luna.  I will post updates of the progress on Luna's portrait but I hope you can make it out for a visit!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

What Could Be Better Than 5 Full Days of Painting & Drawing....

Graphite Blockin
Gregory Mortenson, Me & my son's famous painting

5 full days of painting and drawing with Gregory Mortenson, that's what! It was another awesome workshop and I have tons of home work to do. It is so great to be attending again as after have a chance to absorb a bit what was taught the first time around, I felt slightly more competent the 2nd time around.  Although my work did not make the wall of fame behind us as did my son's Lion in the Sierra, I was pretty happy with my progress :)

This time around I was not rushing myself as I did last time but really slowed down and enjoyed the process.  In fact, I half wanted to just continue drawing for the remainder of the week rather than paint.  But then Gregory started his painting demos and the temptation was just too much!  The models hair was tied back for the drawing phase so that we could more clearly see the structure of her head but for the painting phase, she let her hair down so we could chose to paint her hair up or down...I could not choose so I left both showing in the drawing.
I was happy with all the practice I have put into life drawing lately as my sighting of proportions and angles came more easily this time around and I did not feel so overwhelmed by the crazy puzzle shapes of the finished block in.  I must be making progress :)

I posted the drawing process below to show how the drawing progresses.
The first stage is to get the envelope as correct as possible.  This is the stage that I often rush in the past but it is so important to slow down and check and double check at this stage as errors left at this stage will haunt you for the rest of the drawing an painting.  I measured the top and bottom of the head and related the width to this measurement.  I then tried to use straight lines only (again another internal fight ensues as I am not used to using straight lines) to block in the shape of the head.
 I then try to continue to work out the angles and shapes that I see as accurately as possible, comparing distances constantly to ensure I am not too far off.  I try to keep the lines light and scratchy rather than heavy and crisp to avoid "locking" myself into any line.  I am trying to get in the ball park as accurately as possible so that I can continue to improve my accuracy as the drawing progress.  I am still thinking very two dimensionally at this stage.
 After I felt the block in envelop was pretty close and after checking and rechecking everything, I then started to think three dimensionally, trying to conceptualize the underlying structure of each form.  I try not to draw the forms that I see - the eyes, nose, mouth etc but rather shapes that I see the make up the forms.
 At this stage I decided to leave her mouth open (after drawing open, closed, open, closed...) duh ;)  I also drew in many of the shadow and form shapes to help me make a map of her face.  The lines are darker than they should be at this point but I wanted to clearly draw them in so I could better understand the form.  The funny thing is that last time around, this is the part of the drawing that really stressed me out.  It seemed so busy and overwhelming that I had a hard time even looking at my drawing last time.  This time I could relax and look past the lines, knowing that I would lighten them to create a hierarchy of lines when I was ready to do so.
 The finished drawing in preparation for the painting.  I really wish I could have spent a few more days to continue working on the drawing and I really realize now the importance of all these steps.  It used to seem like a lot of "work" to create such a drawing before starting a painting but now I realize how much "work" it saves during the painting stage and the chances of having a successful painting in the end is greatly increase.  Plus I just REALLY enjoy the process now....now just to find the time!

This is a photocopy of the drawing on the right and the oil transfer on the left.  The transfer could be done a number of ways but this is such a nice method as the original drawing is preserved and can be used throughout the painting process and the lines of oil blend in nicely during the painting phase without being distracting.

If you get the chance and are in the area, check out future workshops at the Northwest Fine Art Studio  They have some amazing instructors (huge understatement) coming up.  It is like an art oasis and know I get to go again gives me something to look forward to (and to get my 'homework' done) in the future.  I believe there are still a few spots left for the upcoming Ryan Brown workshop (wish I could go) and I get to go to the Graydon Parish workshop in August, SO excited!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Engagement Gift Portrait Commission Completed

16x20" Graphite Portrait Commission
Well, you know, maybe it is...I always have to stare at it relentlessly for awhile to be sure.  I slowly darkened the layers.  This paper really takes it's time getting dark but I really like the effect and think it is so worth the effort.

I used to jump in with dark pencils (ie 2b and B) but for this portrait I really tried to use restraint and use 2H, H and eventually HB  leads which allowed me to build up the layers gradually without blending.  Soooo slow...but so worth it :)  Good studio music is a must :)

I must say too, what a great looking couple! I caught myself a few times when I was shifting my cover paper (which protects the drawing areas I am not working on) thinking wow, what a beautiful smile, eyes. nose. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Engagement Gift Portrait Commission Work in Progress

Graphite Portrait Work in Progress
Things are starting to really take shape now :) Most of the lighter forms have been worked out so now I just need to really push the darker areas to further the likeness and sense of form.

It seems this paper takes more effort to build up the dark values so I decided to pushed the darkest areas in the grooms hair to get a good sense of the the full value range.  Now to go back over the shadow shapes and really push them to where they need to be.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Engagement Gift Portrait Commission

Sketch of Couple in Graphite on Stonehenge Paper
This is the initial sketch for a graphite portrait commission I have been working on which has been transferred to a 16x20" sheet of Stonehenge paper.  I had never worked on this paper before but after using it as last week's workshop, I am in LOVE with it.  It is quite similar to Arches which I normally use but really holds up well so the drawing can really be pushed to it's limits without fear of the paper starting to pill up, nice :)

Over the past few months I have been really focusing on taking my time at the beginning stages of my drawings and I think it shows.   I rarely include so much detail in the rough sketch and then have to find my way as the drawing progresses which can be a little stressful if things go astray.  By taking the time at the beginning stages I am finding it to be a much more relaxed process and I really enjoyed even the transferring stage and refining the lines which I used to find a little tedius.
Shadow Shapes and Refining Lines
The layers are being slowly built up and refined and you can see the difference a few layers makes.  The bride has just the lightest layers completed and her features refined from the transfer and the groom has several more layers added, slowly building up the values.

I am really enjoying working on this commission and can't wait to get back to my studio to play...I mean work...more!

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Adventures in Acrylic Workshop - May 25 & 26, 2013

There are still spots left for my upcoming workshop Adventures in Acrylics. I have several cool projects planned as well as some practical color theory exercises to help build confidence when working with colors without getting too technical. 

This course is suitable for beginner and intermediate artist.  Notes for the course and templates will be provided.  The workshop will be held at the Gathering Place in Port Coquitlam (Leigh Square)

May 25 from 11-5pm
May 26 from 12-4pm

If you are interested in this workshop, you can register directly online  or contact me at info@stateofartportraits.com for more information.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bargue Plate Drawing Practice - Plate 2

Plate number 2..done! So hard not to rush, which of course is the whole point of these plates ;) You must work very slowly to really see what is going on and get the proportions and angles correct.  Again, surprisingly simple looking to do which makes you feel like an idiot when you realise, nope, wrong, try again :)

The really nice thing about drawing this as opposed to the practice I am doing such as life drawing and cast drawing is that I have no tempation to jump into form molding which is the fun part.  So I can really focus on the practice of getting the drawings correct which is where I really struggle. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bargue Plate Drawing Practice - Plate 1

Bargue Plate 1
Ok so working through the plates in the Bargue Drawing Book  was supposed to be part of last year's summer To Do list...but I figure better late than never.  This is the first plate in the book and while each plate looks so simple, they take a surprisingly long time to do correctly...and they are not easy!

This is the first plate in the book and I really enjoyed it as I really like the foreshortening.  I have done almost four of the plates so far and am alternating between plate drawing, still life cast drawings and life drawing to keep things interesting.  I would highly recommend the book but if you want to try out a few of the plate drawings before making the investment, there are several copies of the first plate floating around the web to practice from.  Heck the book is worth it even just to admire the beautiful reproductions...as I have been doing for the past four years.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Graphite Portrait Study for Oil Painting....take 2

Graphite Study - 11x14'
This is my second attempt drawing this portrait as a study for a future oil painting.  The first portrait's proportions were quite off so for this one I really tried to slow down and take the time needed to get things correct at the beginning.  I think it turned out much better this time :)  I also modeled the form more slowly to get a better idea of the structure of her face.

Unfortunately I am working from a photo for this portrait and a lot of the structure is lost in the photo so I tried to really focus on building up her facial features using the knowledge I have been getting from my life drawing classes and anatomy studies.  I need to study anatomy a lot more so expect some strange skull and muscular sketches in the future!

I hope I have learned enough to start the oil painting in the near future.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Life Drawing - Figure Study

Caitlin Graphite Sketch
I have not be able to make it out to Suite E Life Drawing sessions much the past month or so due to other commitments (I know, what on earth could possibly be more important than life drawing!?!?) so I was so happy to make it out last night to draw my favorite model, Caitlin.

The session flew by very quickly as they often do but I was quite happy with the end result despite having forgotten to do any measurements with my trusty skewer as I have been practicing at home.  I don't know why but every time I tell myself I am going to take the time to measure....and I always end up jumping in...next time...for sure ;)

Only one more life drawing session before I get to spend two full days portrait drawing from life with Noah Layne.  He has one spot left in his two day workshop so if you are in the area and want to attend please let me know.  I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Drawing from Life Workshop - April 27 & 28, 2013

Graphite Pencil Cast Study - 11x14"
This workshop will provide you with the skills needed for creating realistic three dimensional drawings from life using graphite pencil.

We will use several time tested methods to progress from drawing a 2 dimensional image accurately and then progress to drawing a three dimensional image from life using casts and still life objections.

Each different technique will be covered in a demo followed by studio time to practice the techniques with one on one instruction. No previous drawing skills required. This course is suitable for beginner and intermediate artists. Supply list available after registration.

Please contact me at info@stateofartportraits.com for more information or register online 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Only 2 Spots Left for Two Day Portrait Drawing Workshop with Noah Layne

Drawing is the foundation of all realist art. In this 2-day workshop,
Noah will show you classical techniques for drawing a realistic portrait - how to use plumb lines, comparative measurement,
and tilt angel to find correct proportions. You will be working from a live clothed model and learn how to start your drawing,
see and record shapes clearly and simply, and model form by careful observation of the properties of light.

Lots of demos and individual instruction!

March 23rd and 24th
Please register by March 8th!

Saturday and Sunday 11:30am - 5:30pm
The workshop will take place at Poirier Community Center
640 Poirier St, Coquitlam, BC V3J 6B1

Cost $225 includes model fees
Visit http://www.noahlayne.com/Classes.html#Vancouver_Workshop
For registration info or contact Tracey to confirm your spot.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Adventures with Acrylics - February 16 & 17, 2013

Registration is now open for my upcoming Adventures with Acrylics workshop in February.  Once again I have several cool projects designed as well as some practical color theory exercises to help build confidence when working with colors without getting bogged down in all the technical mumbo jumbo. 

This course is suitable for beginner and intermediate artist.  Notes for the course and templates will be provided

If you are interested in this workshop, you can register directly online or contact me at info@stateofartportraits.com for more information.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How Would You Like Your Portrait Done...For Free?

Suite E Life Drawing Group will be painting and drawing portraits of past and current Port Moody Residents as part of our Now & Then: Portraits of Port Moody Citizens show at the Port Moody Arts Centre.

If you are interested in submitting your image or would like to nominate someone, please visit our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/suiteelifedrawing to submit your images and information.  If your image is selected, you will be contact to discuss having your portrait done. 

The original portrait will be the property of the artist but you will be provided with your own high quality print for framing and first option to purchase the portrait if you choose to do so.

So what have you got to loose? Visit our Facebook page today and have your portrait as part of the Port Moody Centennial celebrations.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Drawing from Life - Graphite Still Life Sketch

Still Life Graphite Sketch
Oh thank goodness I am finally back in the studio! I was beyond feeling all twitchity from separation anxiety and was starting to worry that I may have lost my obsession....safe to say I was wrong ;)
Still Life Setup with New Still Life Table/Bookshelf

I thought I would start with a sketch of a still life that I had started months ago.  I had to move my setup after doing the initial under painting in oil, sigh.  So now I have a dedicated still life bookshelf/table.   After creating several still life boxes and setups out of cardboard, then having to dismantle to make room for commissions, I finally broke down and bought the bookshelf in the photo from IKEA.  Yes I need another piece of furniture like I needed another hole in my head..but...this way I can mark my lighting set up and roll the still life completely out of the way if needed.  It has caster and extra storage below so I can work on multiple still life pieces as the same time as well :)

So I set up the eggs, pitcher and sheet as close as I could to the original setup so that I could continue my oil painting.  Of course it is not exactly the same so I did a sketch to get more familiar with the setup and hopefully it will not be too much trouble to adjust the oil painting...hmm, even I don't believe that as I type ;)
Graphite Pencil Block in of Still Life Setup
I did the block in yesterday on a sheet of strathmore 400 series drawing paper.  They have a new recycled paper that I bought recently, I don't advise using it so be careful when you are out shopping as it looks suspiciously like the original.  The quality is not the same as the regular 400 series and so not worth the frustration even for quick sketches.

I tried to apply the drawing tips I learned in November and I felt pretty good about most of the block in :) I really tried to avoid rushing and drawing around the objects...definitely hard to relearn but oh my god, so much fun!

The final version of the sketch is the graphite drawing at the top which I could have continued working on for several more hours but I think I have enough information to apply to the oil painting. I should post a photo of the painting as well, did not think to get a photo of it.

I did not do any blending and only using three pencils, an H, HB and 2B to slowly build up the form.  I noticed when I did rush areas I ended up spending way more time fixing harsh lines than if I had just taken the time and patience to do it right the first time.  Hmm, how many times have I heard that advice....maybe a few more times and I will listen.