Another Simple Study

I do not have a lot of work to display for this weeks post. With only a few weeks remaining in the semester, I am going crazy trying to finish all of my final projects.

Here is the beginning of another figure study, representing only a few hours of progress. I started with a quick line drawing and followed up with my first pass of color. The illumination is generated from my school’s awful fluorescent lighting system. As apposed to a spot light, the lighting in this situation is not very dramatic and the value and color changes are very subtle.

I love studies like this one, because they are very challenging for me. I hope that they will enable me to better control the gentle value and color shifts of my paintings.

The Start

Throughout high school my teachers put a strong emphasis on producing a measured, proportional drawing. I feel like I spent so much time focusing on that one part that I never thought of the picture as a whole and basically spent my time attempting accuracy (which, sadly, rarely happened), and, like most young artists, rendering it to death. The following are samples of my mid to late high school work that also aided in my acceptance to PAFA. Most were done in graphite or colored pencil.

Lately I have noticed my work becoming more atmospheric and think that is where I would like to take it for a while. It's helping me break away from "rendering for the sake of rendering" and I feel like it's allowing me to create an entire space with room to move around the objects, rather than each object made individually with little relation to the others (as can be seen in the last one).

Portait Bust

This week I thought I would share some photos of the sculpture that I'm working on for a change. This is the portrait bust that I've been doing in my Head Structure class. Unfortunately, I don't have the uninstructed portion of the class, so I've only had a few sessions to work on it, and I only have one more class before I have to call it finished. But I've really enjoyed doing it and I feel like I've learned a ton from it. I'm taking another sculpture class next semester, so I'll get to try my hand at it again, which I'm really looking forward to.

Simple Study

Two weeks ago, I started this small figure study. I began with a quick under painting to block in the major lights and darks. I let the first layer of paint dry. Then I put down a rough pass of color. Next week, I will add more color and any final touches.

During this semester, I have had more time to experiment with paint. I am beginning to learn a lot about myself, my patience level, the styles of painting that I like and the techniques that I am interested in pursuing. The transition from sculpture over to drawing and painting has been a challenging but fascinating one. I have found that small, simple studies, like this one, teach incredibly valuable lessons.

Portrait Block-in

Well, unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera into school this week, so instead I have a picture of the project that I worked on at home this weekend. This is a portrait of my sister that I'm doing as a final project for my portrait class with Al Gury. I'm working mainly from a photograph and then hopefully I'll be able to finish it up from life. Anyway, I did a quick underpainting last weekend, and then today I blocked in the whole thing roughly in color. Hopefully I'll be able to get another picture up after I make some more progress on it.


If anyone has noticed, which doesn't seem all that likely, I missed a post or two. The motherboard on our home computer went all fubar recently and I have been unable to figure out a convenient method for getting my pics up on the web. So far this is the best I can do. These were taken with my cell phone so please excuse the size and quality of the photos.

For starter's here are some of my recent life drawings from anatomy class and the weekly figure drawing session that I help manage. In terms of my daily progress and experience drawing seems to be the area where I am both the most confident and stable. I like to experiment and creative use of the materials is not an issue like it seems to be with painting. The only failing is that I do not spend much time drawing these days. I am rather focused on painting and my goal is bring my level of competency up to par with that of my draftsmanship. With that being said, I am very much interested in improving the overall quality, level of expression and accuracy of my drawings. If anyone has any tips, comments or crits I would love to hear them. Later this week I will put up some paintings and comment on my progress with those.

The Stimson Competition

Every year, the sculpture department at Pafa holds an in class, figure modeling competition. 2nd and 3rd year certificate students get three weeks of class time to sculpt a 32-36 inch figure. A judge is then brought in. The winning sculpture is cast in plaster and added to the academy’s collection. This tradition has been going on for over 100 years and I am honored to be a part of it.

The competition started last week, and for my first session with the model I just drew. I tried to analyze the gesture and major twists of the pose. Here are my studies.

Portraits, by request...

Back into the realm of photography, here are some portraits I took last weekend for a friend of mine. For these examples, I worked with a very dark backdrop that nearly matched her hair color in order to accentuate her face, hands, and belly. These are all taken in natural, diffuse light, as this provides the full color spectrum and gives a nice quality to skin tones.

This first shot is in black and white with a filter application, which increases the contrast of the photo, while still maintaining gradations in skin tone.

This final shot takes advantage of the diffuse natural daylight (see above), which allows for a stronger color in the skin and a warm rosy look.

As always I am a strong proponent of getting to know one's camera, the use of warm vs. cool light, the direction or intensity of light, and composition of the subject matter. I'll be doing two more sessions with her as she gets closer to her due date.

a little of everything

Well, it's been a busy week at school. I thought I'd just put up a bunch of pics of stuff I've been working on this week.

This first one is a drawing I've been working on in the student-run evening figure drawing session. It was done with the gray-scale set of nupastels on Reeves BFK paper.

This is a quick color study I did for a figure painting I'm about to start.

Finally the last two are quick landscapes I did for our Materials and Techniques class. The first is a transparent burnt umber underpainting and the second is a grasaille in black and white. We're going to be glazing over them in the next few weeks.

Pafa Figure Modeling

Hello Everyone,

This semester one of my favorite classes is Figure Modeling. It is amazing how sculpting the human figure has helped me to see and capture the gesture of a human form. I have found that some of the skills I am learning in sculpture translate to drawing and painting. Having a good understanding of the three dimensional world, makes it easier to describe it in a convincing two dimensional way.

Here are some of my Pafa sculptures. Each sculpture began with a wire armature and was built up with water based clay. (The figures are approximately 16” tall.)

I tried to pay close attention to the twists and turns of the body. I also exaggerated some of the beautiful arcs and S-curves of the figure to create a more visually pleasing sculpture.

self-portrait drawing

Hey everyone!

Sorry I've been lagging behind in my posting a little can definitely tell we're getting to that really busy part of the semester! I'm starting to think about all the final projects that will be due at the end of the term, and I'm trying to get as many of them up and running as possible. My project for this past weekend was to work on a large self-portrait drawing for my Life Drawing class with Scott Noel. The assignment is to do a 30" x 40" self-portrait drawing in pastels which would involve many of the issues that we've been considering in class such as volume, space, light and shade, shape, value, etc.

Anyway, I'd played around with the composition last weekend, and this weekend I blocked the whole thing in roughly. Here it is at the current stage:

Hopefully I'll be able to post again with some more pictures once I make more progress on it! Till next time!

Purple Mourning

Last week, I mentioned my love for sculpture. This week I have decided to start with some of my earliest attempts at sculpting.

While attending Bloomsburg University, I took many ceramic courses. We were given an unlimited supply of clay and told to create. None of the art classes had live models, so my understanding of human anatomy was limited.

My favorite sculpture was called Purple Mourning. I coil built it out of stoneware clay (no armature) and then finished it off in acrylic paint. The piece was a little over three feet high, and seemed to weigh about a ton.

Unfortunately, this sculpture had a tragic ending. One weekend, my teacher placed Purple Mourning outside the small sculpture building to make room for other sculptures. This happened to be the same weekend as my schools annual block party. I came back to Bloomsburg on Monday, and found the shattered pieces of Purple Mourning scattered over the ground. I was heart broken. To make matters worse, the sculpture was going to be sold to a fellow student.

However, I did learn a valuable lesson from this experience. It is important to let things go, and move on to the next project.

Purple Mourning, at the Bloomsburg University Annual Student Exhibition