Happy New Year!

As is every Christmas and New Years is, this one has been hectic and eventful. Little time has been left for painting. My wife, and I have spent time in the mountains with our family. Some came with us – and others we visited. We have even increased our family by one member (more on that next week). For us, the mountains are at once restful and exciting. It allows us time to reflect on the incredible beauty of the natural world.   I will be back posting updates on my work in progress next week. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great New Years!

Raine and Megan portrait

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 6

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 6

I’m making some progress on this.

Have some more detail in the face, progressing in the right direction. I added a bit of the background in  – and that is helping to define the edges of the body. Most of the background is being laid in with soft pastels, and defined a little with pastel pencils. The curtain colors so far are raw sienna and burnt umber (Sennelier).

I’m a little disappointed in my ability to get in the detail that I want with pastel, but I think that is mostly due to my learning curve with pastel, a new medium for me. I like pastel but have to get used to using it. Although the likeness is good, I want greater detail. I think I can achieve that through further refinement. The harder pastels of the pastel pencils will not easily go over the top of the soft pastels, especially when the surface is loaded with the soft pastel. The pastel pencils sort of plough through the softer pastel without producing the fine lines I want. I’m finding that, with the pastel pencils, detail can be achieved by a slow buildup of light layers of pastel, working in the detail as I go. This is very much like laying down color with colored pencils. Light layers are built up slowly, and working mostly from light to dark. Once the tooth of the paper is filled to a greater degree with pastel, it is necessary to use softer and softer pastel on top. I can’t add pastel pencil on top of many layers of soft pastel that has been built up. If I’m going to stick with pastel pencils (and I want to, at least with portraits), color must be built up slowly in light layers, mixing as I go. Using the pencils takes more planning – just as colored pencils do. With that in mind, I should be able to succeed in establishing more detail.

IMG_1923 Peaches Update 6

Work In Progress: Peaches, Update 5

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 5

More of the head is refined here. I spent more time on the eyes and nose, making more adjustments, deepening the color. Most of the work was with brown ochre (182). I used that color, with a sharp point, to define more of the hair on the right side and on the neck. The right edge of the fur along the top of Peaches’ left ear was defined more by coloring in the couch behind her. There, I used some brown ochre, burnt ochre (187), and burnt carmine (193). It’s a little too red at this point but it helps to define the edges of the ear.

The eyes received more attention in this session as well. There I used dark sepia (175), black (199) around the upper circumference of the eye, and under it, where it seems to have a bit of red color, I added some burnt carmine. The iris itself is an interesting combination of colors, and I don’t think I have it quite right yet. The colors used there are burnt umber (280), black, burnt sienna (283), a little burnt carmine and cream (102) for the lighter areas of the eyes. The pupil is black. I have a good start on the eyes but I’ll need to refine them further. I think the highlight needs to move a bit and, of course, become brighter.

The nose has much black in it, but also has some brown ochre and cream along the top. There is also some burnt umber and brown ochre on the edges of the darks.

The light areas on either side of the nose, marking the outer edges of the muzzle were first indicated with a bit of warm grey I(270), but I later added some brown ochre to color it a bit. So far, the lighter areas around the eyes and nose haven’t been filled in yet, as I wanted to get more of the defining features first.

The areas under the nose, around the mouth and the chin have some warm grey I, along with paynes grey (181) and black. I’ve also put in a bit of brown ochre. At the corners of the mouth, where the cheeks turn down there is a bit of reddish color, and there I added in some burnt sienna, along with the darker burnt umber. I haven’t worked the mouth completely yet either.

I’m working all the areas on the face, here and there, as I look to the photo reference, and as I do so, I keep checking measurements – the size of the eyes, the distance between them, their relationship to the nose. All these measurements are important and I don’t want to stray from them as I further refine the features.

IMG_1908 Peaches Update 5                           IMG_1909 Peaches Update 5

Portrait Award Announcement

I was very pleased to learn that I recently received a 1st Runner Up award for my graphite portrait of “Savannah”. A Singular Creation Art Community asingularcreation.com) held a portrait competition entitled “People 7” this fall. The contest was open to all media and all styles in which the human face was portrayed in any way. Please check out the website to view all of the incredible talent displayed. And a big thank you to the judges.


IMG_1195 Savannah 8

Work In Progress: Peaches, Update 4

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 4

My stage 1 first drawing resulted in a rough block in of Peaches. From there I went back over and refined the block in by doing a second drawing over the first. I switched from light flesh used in the first drawing to van dyke brown for the second. Still checking angles and measuring distances with a divider, I did more refinements to get more detail. The body is still a bit rough, and I’m not concerned with it. The proportions are right. Details of the head are important, so I spent more time on it. I’m getting closer.


From here I’ll begin to start to work on darks, midtones and the lights, continually checking the angles and distances and further refining the details.


IMG_1907 Peaches Update 4                  IMG_1080a1


On a separate note, my wife, Rita, and I had a great time at the monthly First Friday Art Walk in Ocala last evening. Lots of people showed up for a wonderful night of holiday music by the Ocala Symphony Orchestra at Citizens Circle in Ocala. The weather was cool and added to the festive feeling. Thanks to all who attended and to all who stopped by and chatted about art.