Wednesday, April 25, 2007

End Times

Today was Frederick's last day to pose for our class before moving to San Francisco. He has very pleasant eyes, and a quick and ready smile. Some of the ladies in the class especially enjoy sketching Frederick....Perhaps it has something to do with those pretty eyes, his sense of humor, or his awesome physique?

Also, we spent a great deal of time discussing the requirements for the final.
Each student needs to complete:

~ 20 one hour homework interpretive sketches (these can be copies of other artists work,)

~ 8 ten minute gesture drawings--presumably done in class, and

~ 8 twenty minute *finished* gesture drawings, and then the

~ 4 project series related drawings, for which I am painting my daughters portraits.

Then Patrick discussed what *finished* means. First, with clean hands clean up the pieces by erasing fingerprints and messy edges. Next, make sure the composition is pleasing, which might require some scissor-type editing. Then he talked about hot spots and edges, and this is where I got lost. There was something about planes being near each other.....(?)

"Neighboring planes cannot share light (like?) values."

I kept envisioning John Candy in Planes, Trains, & Automobiles when Patrick was talking about planes. Even now I'm shaking my head. What?!

When class was through, Frederick had us all pose for him and he took a photo of us! It was really cute.

Que Dios le bendiga.

Monday, April 23, 2007


This is what I've been working on lately. These are almost finished portraits of my oldest and youngest daughters, but are part of a series of all four daughters. I've started on Hilary (the 3rd), but haven't begun the painting of Anna (2nd), yet. I've been wanting to paint my daughters for a while, but probably wouldn't have started these paintings, except for this life drawing class. In order to make a good grade in the class, we need four related completed drawings. How much more related can you get than sisters?

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Yesterday was the first time that nude model David came to our class to pose. He was great! I enjoyed the freshness of the different poses, and he was still (like an apple.)

"Like an apple" reminds me of how hungry I was. Class starts at 1 o'clock and usually I'm pretty well fed before getting there. But the coffee bean supply at home was depleted as were some art supplies, so before class I ran a few errands. During the first break, I went to the vending machine (yuck--not recommended) to buy some snacks. While at the vending machine buying Chex Mix and M&M's, a man in our class, Camron, also buying snacks, spoke up. He said,

"Your daughter really helped me understand how to draw faces when we were in lab on Friday. She told me (?--blah blah) and it was like a breakthrough moment for me. Now I'm drawing faces better than I ever have."

It's great to see others appreciate how wonderful Anna is. Without Anna in that class, I would be muddling through. Not only is she delightful, but extremely helpful. She has a way of explaining things in a patient understandable way. She's a natural.

The focus of this class was on how to draw hands. I followed along well enough with the instruction this week, making sure to concentrate from the beginning. Patrick talked about the palm of the hand being like a 4 inch by 4 inch by 1 inch box, with an attached turkey leg (the thumb,) and four fingers made of balls and ovals. That visual word picture helped with the practice hand, but when it came time to sketch during the pose, trying to remember that "formula" held me back a little. Patrick also was talking about the techniques of how to do what and which tools to use. During classroom intermission, I asked if he would please explain what he meant(?), as this class (not this class specifically, but the general life-drawing class) was the first time I have used pastels/chalk. He said something about erasers and vine charcoal, and something else. Hmm, better ask Anna about all that, too.

Good grief, the music in class was driving me nuts! After what seemed like an eternity of horrible music, the theme from Hawaii 5O came on and energized the atmosphere....then Wipeout and at least 4 more surf music songs. Anna was at the easel next to me, and it was obvious that she was enjoying the surf music, too. She and I both started dancing in place. Even my hands were drawing to the surf beat. Imagine that.

(Chex Mix-75 cents. M&M's-60 cents. Minty gum to freshen breath after vending machine snack-50 cents. Not being hungry in class-priceless.)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


While Patrick was demonstrating the correct proportions for drawing a person's head, I was completely distracted by the skeleton he had up front. Half listening, I started sketching the skeleton's head.

Then I realized that I was missing the ins and outs of what goes where proportionally, eyes in relation to the ears and such, and switched the brain to really trying to pay attention to the words coming out of Patrick's mouth. It was one of those Charlie Brown moments, though. Remember when the Peanuts gang is in school, and the teacher talks?

"Wah wah wah wah wah wah."

When I have a hard time hearing someone, I focus on the movement of their mouth. That way I can concentrate on the words as they are formed, and therefore (at least theoretically) hear what is being said a little better. (It does help sometimes.) But I was also distracted by trying to draw what Patrick was demonstrating. Not only do I have to focus on his mouth to hear him, I have to concentrate on his hands as they are drawing. My attention was additionally diverted when some VIPs came to observe our class for a few minutes. At least it was a non-nude demonstration at that point.

Time to practice what Patrick preached. These last two sketches are of Frederick, well, Frederick's head.

During the remaining few minutes of class, we turned our easels inward and Patrick critiqued our favorite 20 minute sketch. My favorite was the one with Fredrick looking left. It had been more sketchy, but Patrick suggested softening some of the lines and blending the "skin tones."

Hmmm, maybe I should do the same thing on the sketch with Fredrick looking right, too.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lab Blog

In Friday's lab, we get to do whatever we want---no instruction/no restrictions. The idea is to practice all of the different techniques we have studied thus far. Patrick wants us to understand light, medium, and dark values and translate that in a believable way on our paper.

This week, I was again impressed with Martha as she posed for us. She is an absolute professional. There was a point during one of her poses when she started coughing. After the little fit, she regained her composure without a fault. There must have still been a scratch in her throat because while sketching her face, I saw a tear roll down her cheek.

She sits like an apple. It's so much easier to draw when someone sits (or stands) without changing position.