Sunday, February 15, 2015

Little Things 0.02 and Process

Occasionally I am asked how I approach my drawings on mylar, so I thought I would document the process using my latest entry in the Little Things series.

I start with a simple gestural sketch using charcoal. I don't concern myself with accuracy of proportions or fidelity to the source material - I'm interpreting what I see. I keep it loose to allow for any areas that may direct the course of the drawing.

Next I lay down a brushy wash of sumi ink distilled with water and applied with a bristle brush. Bristle brushes act differently than say, watercolor brushes, and this gives me the scratchy and mottled effect I like. I will smear it around with my fingers to create modeling and interesting shapes.

I now begin the process of drawing back into the image with a charcoal pencil to develop the foundation of the drawing. Whatever direction the image takes will have a solid underdrawing to work from.

The next step is to apply a combination of ink and charcoal to model the form. In some instances I will apply charcoal over wet ink to create a blurred and uneven line, or put charcoal on top of areas of dried ink to deepen the tones and create textures. Most of the modeling of the planes in the face are done by smudging charcoal around. Part of me wishes I had left it in this roughly defined state. But I'm always pushing the envelope to see if I can make it better.

Finally I tighten up the drawing by creating the landmarks of the face (eyes, nose, mouth) and laying in highlights and accents. I also play around with edges, pulling areas into sharp relief and fading other areas out-of-focus by smudging and smearing to enhance the ambiguity of the image.

That's how it works.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Heads 15.01.25

Back for another semester of open life drawing at the college. The first one showed me just how rusty I was - it sucked something fierce. This one turned out better.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sketchbook: DnD 2

Sometimes 'the creature" actually improves my drawing ability, especially when it's done from imagination.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sketchbook: DnD 1

Once a week a group of creative artists (all good people and true) get together at a local pub to imbibe and limn. This drawing and a number of other sketches are the result. All drawings were completed using graphite in a 9" x 12" Strathmore 400 sketchbook. And a good stiff drink.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Louie Louie

This is a portrait of my sister's cat, Louie, given as a Christmas gift. I love this cat - my sister nicknamed him 'Louie the Lover', and he really is a super-affectionate cat. Always getting on my lap and burrowing into my sweater before falling asleep. And leaving all that fur in his wake…

Monday, December 29, 2014


A christmas gift for a friend. Gus was a Lab/Rottweiler mix who passed away earlier this year. I always enjoy doing this type of portrait - I like trying to capture the essence of the subject based on both the image provided and the verbal description given to me.

I think it worked out well this time.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Alla Prima Demo: Portrait of K

My traditional oil painting demo this past semester for my alla prima painting class. Painted over 5 sessions, about an hour/hour-and-a-half each session. I tried to stay a step ahead of my students so they had something to measure against as they worked on their own paintings.

I'm really pleased with how this one turned out.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Little Things 16

Now that the semester is over for a few weeks I can get back to this series. I completed this one at the art residency in Maine this past August. I've been holding on to it in case I ran out of things to post. Thankfully that hasn't happened yet.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Little Things 0.01

This entry in the Little Things series is the littlest one so far - only 8" x 6". It was given as a Christmas gift exchange with a group of students.

I think I'll do more of these extra small ones. They seem to go quickly and force me not to fuss over them as much as I normally would.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Heads 14.11.23

Quick sketch from the last Open Life Drawing session of the Fall semester. On to some new projects…

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Digital Painting Demo: K.

A digital painting demonstration done in Photoshop for my painting class. One brush, five layers: the drawing layer, the actual painting layer, the background layer, a mixer brush layer to smudge some areas of the background and painting to integrate them cohesively, and a "tweak" layer for playing with the curves.

I think it turned out pretty well. I'll post my traditionally painted demo soon.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Heads 10.05.14

Had a great model at this week's session of open life drawing.