-Refresh your vision often using a mirror, reducing glass, and by turning the work on its side and upside-down. Same for your photo reference if you're using one.

-Look for the asymmetry in the face, features, and mass of the head. This is what distinguishes the individual.

-Soften or let go of the lines. Features should integrate with the face without too much separation.

-Light doesn't lie.
Follow it around and note how it plays upon the surface. Everyone's face catches light a little differently.

-Don't over-analyze; just look. Vision is your best tool; knowledge is your backup.

Portrait Block In

A block in, for portraiture or anything else, should look the way it sounds–bold and simply stated.

Blocking in is challenging for portraiture because of the urge to get a likeness and to capture the "inner person." As important as all that is, it's best to hold back and construct the head first.

As mentioned in class, the order of importance, when drawing or painting a portrait, is:

1. The Head
2. Space Around the Head
3. Face
4. Features

Also note the carriage, or tilt, of the head. 

Another approach is to make your subject look, in this order...

1. Human
2. Like a relative
3. Like a sibling
4. Identical to your reference

Let's hold off on the last two priorities for now. We'll take two weeks for this assignment, so please share your work in progress next time we meet.

If working from photos, remember, the camera sharpens everything up and doesn't pick up all of the halftones. So make your light-to-shadow transitions softer than you see them.

Upload anytime before Thursday April 18.




From Italian chiaro, “light,” and scuro, “dark”.

Definition: the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition.

Click any image to begin or end slideshow

Choose a reference of your own, still life, figure, whatever you're drawn to. One with strong lights and at least 50% of the composition in shadow. 

 The lighting can be from one side, AKA Form Light.

Paint your lights and shadows separately. Then merge them at the halftone area. Careful not to let any light paint find its way onto the shadows, and keep the blending to a minimum. 

Begin rough...polish it up later. Starting off too smooth and even will make it hard to establish the contrast.

There won't be as much halftone with this kind of lighting. Light will transition into dark more quickly than usual.

Videos coming soon.
Upload anytime before next Thursday.



Option 1

Charcoal Block In:
Shapes Only

Refer to the slideshow below as an example and try blocking in a subject of your choice with a flattened stick of vine or willow charcoal.

The purpose is to help you see abstract shapes. This will go a long way with your painting.

Keep your strokes broad, bold, and simple.

Let the tones, instead of lines, describe the form.  Some blending is OK at this stage, but keep it to a minimum.

Give the work 20 minutes, max, and start another one if you have the time.

Open slideshow

Option 2

Knife Study:
Shapes Only

Advanced Level

Same idea, but now you're using paint instead of charcoal.

The palette knife, like a piece of flattened charcoal, forces you to grasp abstract shapes instead of lines. This actually gives more truth  to your work.

There's a learning curve involved, but when you get past it your oils will have more strength and cleaner color than before.

Remember to flatten the paint after you apply it to the canvas with a few firm strokes. Always pull with the knife instead of pushing. Don't add any medium and try to use a fairly stiff brand of paint.

Upload anytime before next Thursday.

Glazing & Scumbling, Images

Click any image to open or close slideshow

Painting the Interior

Painted Interiors Involve:

Angles, Rectangles, Flatness
Space & Depth
Subtle Color, Light, & Transitions

They’re also a favorite subject among contemporary painters

Try to do this from life if you can…same place, same light, same time of day. Digital reference is fine too.

Use a straightedge to check, but not draw, your angles, and expect to adjust them throughout the work. They have this strange way of shifting by themselves.

Click any image to open or close slideshow

One-point perspective * is fine for an interior.

Find the vanishing point and let all non-verticle angles converge to that point (I’ll explain when we meet next week). For now, the video above will get you started the the still images may inspire you.

You’re completely welcome to continue with last week’s work instead.

Upload up to two works anytime before next Thursday.

Good Luck!

* One-point perspective is a drawing method that shows how things appear to get smaller as they get further away, converging towards a single vanishing point on the horizon line.