Friday, July 10, 2015

I Got Donuts Today!

My Krispy Kreme adventure.
Today Krispy Kreme had an offer where you buy one dozen at the regular price and get a second for less than a dollar. I don't remember what they were celebrating. I had an errand to run nearby and decided to treat our family (we rarely get stuff like this). Of course it was a mad house - there was even a poor cop in this near-100-degree weather directing cars in and out of the parking lot! Now, I am practically a hermit and recluse whenever possible. When things get crazy like this and there are an overwhelming number of people, I tend to decide it's not worth it. Today I chose, as Nike says, to just do it.

I know it's silly for me to even bother writing about something that's not a big deal to so many people - standing in a long line crammed in with other people like sardines, or even waiting in your car for what feels like eternity as you use the drive-thru. Well, this is a big deal for me. I got my two dozen after maybe half an hour of being in the drive-thru (because I will NOT be a sardine), and I decided to celebrate my minor feat by drawing my food - another thing I never bother doing. So here it is; bask in Donut Glory. This little drawing is on Canson sketch paper in Prismacolor Premier colored pencils and took an hour, no pre-sketching - I just dove in, like I did the box of donuts, heh. Plus, I haven't worked in colored pencils in years. I can't decide if my favorite bit is the plate or the inside of the donut where I took a bite before getting to work. And the moral of the story is:

Do something out of your comfort zone. Draw something out of your comfort zone.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Working with a Live (Nude) Model

Fig. 1: Carly, detail 30 min into session.
We're very fortunate in Hampton Roads to have a quality drawing group that meets weekly to draw or paint the human figure. I attended the long pose earlier this week: our model holds the same pose for about 3 hours, taking breaks every 30-45 minutes. It's a difficult thing to do and I honestly don't know if it's harder on the muscles of the model or the artists going for 3 hours straight! However, it's always an invigorating experience to be surrounded by so much talent. We have a wide range of professional artists, hobbyists, and college students, and media ranging from graphite to oils to clay.

I've recently fallen in love with foreshortening. I'd never really played around with these more unique angles but I find it to be challenging and fun. The model was seated in a chair on a low platform and I was sitting on the floor looking up, so I happened to have this lovely angle where her face is tilted up a bit, in a noble and

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Eyes Have It

Reference photo
I had the pleasure of giving a drawing demonstration at Jerry's Artarama in Virginia Beach this past Saturday where I teach a weekly drawing class. I chose a reference photo from, a great resource for copyright free photos. I quickly blocked in my major shapes at home before the demo simply to save a few minutes. This is how far I got after about two hours, working on 14x17" Canson drawing paper. I prefer to work in layers, slowly building up my values to ensure that they all work together and to make sure I don't get

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fear of the Blank White Page

One of the things that can be nerve-wracking about creating any kind of art is confronting a brand new, pristine white canvas or sheet of paper. You might catch yourself thinking, "The moment I make a mark on this, I might screw it all up!" I think this is something that's kept me from drawing and painting as much as I should - it sometimes still happens. As artists, when we decide to create, we're committing to physically make something that will be seen by many people, and our natural desire for perfection and fear of rejection may make us freeze up and create nothing at all. But you can get past this.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Go-To Drawing Materials

One of the lovely things about drawing is that the materials necessary are relatively inexpensive and easily portable. These are the tools I find indispensible:

Graphite pencils. I have a box set ranging from 2H to 6B, plus a 4H and 8B. I also keep a boxcutter handy to whittle away the wood. More on that later.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Beginning Drawing: "Where do I start?"

I'm the kind of person who flips through art books incessantly but rarely sits down to read what the book actually says. (So no, the irony of me writing anything at all that I hope/expect others to read does not escape me.) I say this because whenever I find a promising book with how-to information, I want to skip the wording and just study the images to see if I can recreate them. I suppose I can sometimes get away with this since I've been drawing and painting intermittently for over 30 years, but in all honesty I'd be an even better artist if I were disciplined and paid attention to the books.

Now I've gotten to the point where I'm teaching others to paint and draw, and I am eternally grateful to every single student I've worked with. Not only do I have the pleasure of seeing their growth, I find they keep me energized, make me a better artist, and push me to articulate different aspects of the craft in ways that help the absolute beginner. There's nothing more satisfying to both student and teacher than seeing that light bulb go off and their artwork leap off the page with life and brilliance!

So to begin. What does a wannabe artist really need to start drawing?