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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!