Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 3

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 3

Finally got a start on this portrait. In the end, I decided to block in the portrait with pastel rather than charcoal. I felt the lighter color would be easier to work with and allow me to gradually darken the figure without having to worry about covering the charcoal. I wanted to start the block in with a color that was just darker than the paper and chose light flesh.

The first thing I did was to estimate what size the figure had to be in a photo such that I could reproduce the figure on pastel paper at twice the size. Even multiples work out nicely. After figuring that out, I printed out the photo I would be working with. Next, I lightly ruled a painting area on the pastel paper 16” wide by 20” high. From the photo I judged where I would place the figure within the ruled area. I lightly drew a short line indicating where the topmost point of the head would be. Using dividers, I marked in the level for the bottommost point of the chin. The angle from the topmost point of the head to the bottommost point of the chin was then lightly drawn in. These would be my beginning reference points. I also marked in the levels of the top and bottom of the nose, and the mouth.

The next step in this block in was to roughly outline the entire figure. Rather than immediately trying to work in the curving lines around the body, I picked out important points around the body where there was an abrupt change of direction. Using dividers and judging angles, I found these obvious points and drew fairly straight lines connecting them. I was not interested in any subtle curves or details at this point, merely getting a somewhat accurate shape and getting the dimensions right. Everything would be refined in later steps.

Blocking in the head proceeded in the same manner. Using the reference points of the topmost point on the head and the bottommost point of the chin, and the center-line, I found the side of the head, the size and shape of the ears, the placement of the eyes, and their width, the shape of the nose and the shape of the muzzle. I constantly checked angles and distances from one point to another as I built in more features. As more feature edges were added I used those to check newer ones, and constantly back checked previous ones to make sure I was maintaining fair accuracy.

This all resulted in rough first stage. From here I’ll go back and begin to slowly refine it.

IMG_1906 Peaches Update 2

Work In Progress: Peaches, Update 2

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 2

Although I haven’t made a great deal of headway on this project, I can see things beginning to clear a bit, enabling me to find more time to work on it. I just finished up a colored pencil class and it was great to see the progress made by all the students. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. We were able to explore technique in detail, something that seemed beneficial to all – and something I will be stressing more of in future classes.

The Rainbow Springs Fine Art Festival is tomorrow and I’ve been busy getting ready for that. I’ve finished a commission piece and I’ll be delivering that soon. Although I have another class coming up in early December, my plate is beginning to clear some, so I’ll be able to spend more time on this portrait

As with all my projects, I’ve been doing some planning and preparation. This will be a pastel portrait to begin with. The size will be 12” by 16” high and will be done on Canson Mi Tientes pastel paper – colored. What color occupied my thoughts for a while and I decided on beige. It’s a warm color. Her fur is termed buff, a light beigey tan, and the surroundings are all warm in color. I think the toned paper will serve as a good base.

Backgrounds vary considerably from portrait to portrait. Vignettes contain no background, others just consist of abstract colors that complement the subject. Other portraits have realistic surroundings. It depends to a great deal on the client. I’m going to include a full background on this one. I don’t want the subject to appear isolated. Peaches was a part of our family and our home and I think including the surroundings she was a part of seems right.

I’m going to try developing the portrait directly on the final paper rather than drawing it separately and transferring it to the support. I drew directly on the final paper with my portrait of Savannah and, right now, it seems the right approach. By carefully and accurately working up the proportions, and re-checking them as I go, I think I’ll do better than having to transfer a drawing. Details can be altered or lost when transferring from tracing paper to final paper. I’ll work up the drawing with vine charcoal rather than graphite. It’s more easily erasable when necessary and fits in better with pastels. It can also be integrated into the pastels to create darker darks.


Hope to see you at the Rainbow Springs Art Festival tomorrow.

Sneak Preview of Hydrangea Painting Class Project

I’ve gathered together some images that will be part of my forthcoming class. The project we’ll be tackling is a colored pecil painting of a Hydrangea flower. The flower itself is composed of soft blues and lavender tints. I think it’s going to be a good project for those who have taken my Introductory classes and want to do something a bit more complex. The class will be held next week at one of the Master The Possibilities classrooms at On Top Of The World Communities in Ocala, Florida. I’m excited about leading this class and hope I to help some others improve their skills.

There’s no text here – only a progression of images from start to finish. The full discussion will be part of the handout each student will receive.  You can get an idea, anyhow, of how the painting matures.

IMG_1864 Interm Hydrangea 1AA    IMG_1875 Interm Hydrangea A2A    IMG_1888 Interm Hydrangea A1A

IMG_1889 Interm Hydrangea 1AA      IMG_1891 Interm Hydrangea A1A

The classroom handouts will have more images and a detailed discussion.