Working on a toned background

Tues night, drawing night. I forgot to take pics last week of working on negative space, sorry! This week we worked on working on a background we toned with smudged charcoal, using an eraser to generate the light values. I got yelled at for using a little bit of shadow tone this time :) What can I say, values is my wheelhouse and my line work still sucks bad.

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About 10-15 mins, Charcoal on newsprint.

Drawing Transfer and Value Blocking

I remembered to take some WIP shots! Not as many as I wanted to, but hopefully enough to get the idea across. Oil painting is a super difficult medium to learn, but for every 50 bad strokes, I’d get a good stroke that’s making me fall in love with painting with oils. It’s so buttery and nice, there’s just a feel as things slide into place that is really cool.

Started the evening transferring the drawing. I covered the back of my drawing with a soft charcoal, then taped it into position on my canvas. I used a knitting needle to trace the outlines of the drawing, I guess burnishing? The charcoal sticks to the canvas as so:

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Then I go over those lines with thinned burnt umber to establish the drawing on the canvas, as the charcoal would wipe off. I forgot to clean up the excess charcoal you can see between the lines and my initial white was grey…took me a minute to figure out why!

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Then I got into a groove and forgot to take pics. Sorry! First I laid in the shadow blocks with thinned burnt umber. Then I blocked in the lighter areas of the skin with white, though I messed up and thinned it too much (I messed up a LOT but I learned even more, so it’s all good!).

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The last step I was able to get into tonight was the final step of the value blocking, where I soften the lines where the values meet up. At the same time, I’m starting to refer back to the model rather than my drawing. I hold three brushes, one clean and dry to soften with; and one each for the brown and white. This is where oils shine, the amount of open time to push and pull and slide things around. You can see where I got caught at the end of the session moving paint around the model’s left eye. I significantly reshaped the eyes and lower lip, as well as the hairline and shadows on the forehead to match the current session.

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I was getting a little discouraged as I struggled with the unfamiliar medium in the 3rd pic, but as I got the slightest bit more comfortable and started fixing and tweaking and some areas started to come together, I ended on a definite upbeat note, excited for the next session.

It’s a really nice bunch of students and the instructor is completely amazing. She can give me two or three short pointers that get me through the trouble spots. Some of the other students didn’t believe I’ve never painted in oils, or on canvas, or drawn portraits…until clean up time. I had no idea how to wash the brushes or really anything on how to clean up.

Refining the portrait drawing

Second portraiture class. Adding shadow volumes, just roughing them in to transfer to canvas. This drawing will just be a guide after the transfer step. Also adding and changing some detail, since the model got a new haircut this week.

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Then finishing up the torso, adding in more detail and final proportional tweaking. It’s not quite where I want it to be, but frankly I’m kind of blown away that it turned out as well as it did. Last time I drew a human face was in the 80s! I credit the instructor, I just did what she said. And really, most of the people struggling in the class think they’re too advanced to listen to the basics and every fault in their drawing is due to not following her instructions.

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Next step will be to prep and prime the canvas with a mid-value earth tone (look at me with the lingos!) and transfer the drawing to it.

Eye studies and Fast sketching

First up a bit of home study for the portraiture class. Really struggling on eyes, so I spent an hour or so working on eyes from a book on chiaroscuro. Mostly focusing on defining the structure around the eye and the lids.

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A couple of the better sketches from Drawing 101. These are 18×24, conte. The thing I like about this class is how loose it is, really low pressure and rapid fire drawings. These two were longer 5 minute drawings after lots of 2-3 minute drawings. Draw, spin the table of still life, draw, etc.

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Scottish Highlander

Nope, still not dead yet! I’ve been working on a secret project, a Christmas gift for my lovely mate, who is a huge fan of Braveheart. So here’s my first try at painting a bust. Overall I think it came out alright, it was a lot of fun to paint for the most part and very instructional.

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The eyes were actually the most fun part and I’m kinda shocked how well they came out! I think I managed to convey Mel’s hazel eyes and I was thinking of my least favorite scene of the movie (when the Bruce removed his helmet).

Now… maybe onto something a wee bit smaller…