texture, structure, depth or a landscape and a self-portrait

I teach a foundations course, students learn basic drawing skills. It is clear to me at this point the class understand the value of careful observation.

We spend the last 2 weeks working outdoors. They learn to focus at an even greater level considering all the distraction outside the classroom including the curious passerby, the almost perfect weather and the continuous change of their subject-matter (nature).

Enjoy these examples of their outdoor study and their self-portrait homework…

Maw – Fake Perception, Oil Pastel

Kado – Shipwrecked

Alondra’s Inconsistent

Jessica – The Heart of Everything

Tyra – I Love It

Esmeralda – Cacti

Deborah – Regrowth

Jordi – Untitled

The homework assignment, a life-size (or larger) self-portrait, is an important and  challenging process. They have all the necessary skills at this point to complete one. They work with marker (no pencil or eraser) all semester and here they can use media of their choice (many still choose the marker). The drawing brings honest conversation.

We leave this particular class critique knowing each other just a bit more.

On the drive home I think every one (every single person)  should be so lucky to have (give themselves) this assignment at some point in their adult life. #theselfportraitforeveryone #gottahaveart

Edith

Alondra – Spirit Desire

Veronica

Jolissa

Deborah – Self Portrait 1

Esmeralda

Tyra, Dear Aisa Don’t Stop Loving Me

Jordi – This is Who I Am

Kado- KMS lol

Kado – Voiceless

Jessica

Maya – Anyone can draw one eye, but drawing two is an art

This is it with the marker – we move on to charcoal.

charcoals and pastels and the end of a semester

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I’ll miss this group. Students came in early and students left late. They took on every challenge with great attitude.

The main Drawing 1 assignment is a charcoal still-life focusing on volume and depth. I wish you could see the surface of these studies. The camera doesn’t do them justice.

The charcoal and pastel work are examples of the last days of drawing – sort of breaking out of some of the rules I’d set up for them all semester.

The master reproductions are Drawing 2 student’s final assignment.

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…and maybe Collin ↓ will get extra credit for the imaginative title to his work. Please note.

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Collin’s “Monkey Scream – The existential horror of being a gorilla skull in an art 111 still-life.

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Travis’s Skull

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Brittany

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Kanata’s broken T-pot

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Firm by Robert

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Karen’s Tipsy

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Jen’s Still-life

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Margin’s T-Pot

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Victoria

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Kestin

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Kestin’s Study

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Robert’s Study

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Gabriela’s Raphael (reproduction)

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Jessica’s reproduction Amarita (Indian master)

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Natividad’s Alex Katz (reproduction)

Happy Holidays to all my students!

look-see-draw-move to the seat to your left-keep going

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This is the last week of school and the group has mastered technique. They developed skill. We have a couple of days left in the semester and I take the opportunity to one more time (this semester) get students out of their comfort zone. It’s invigorating for everyone.

This still-life is made up of a variety of shoes (familiar objects). Some students lend their shoes (for added color and shape). This is the first assignment where I instruct everyone to move quick(er). I remind them to look and as usual tell them to put down what they see. I call time and have them move to the seat to their left. They do not take their own supplies with them. They use what is in their neighbors supply box. I meander through the group and  when the student appears ready, I hand him or her color-pastel. No one has used color in this class.

By the time we are complete everyone has moved emotion aside, eased into the exercise, used color pastel, and made quicker decisions (utilized confidence).

Can you see each drawing has at least 4 pairs of hands in it?

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every picture tells a story

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Wouldn’t you know, they get their marker act together and it comes to an end. We move to charcoal next.

But before we do…
Here are samples of (larger than life) self-portrait work. They use media of their choice. This study moves students into understanding art is a form of communication.

Every portrait tells a story. We learn a lot about each other during this critique.

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Brittany

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Susan

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Michael

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Kanyata

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Maygin

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Kanata (#2)

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Victoria

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Collin

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Kestin

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Robert

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Karen

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Natividad

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Jen

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Alma

I include a few of the outdoor assignments. Students spend 4 days on the campus, drawing landscape.

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…and there’s Susan, an advanced student who learns how to collage. She’s never done it before and this is practice. The image does tell a story but it’s not about birds, it’s about a fox.

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Basically we cover texture, structure and depth. Next week is value.

charcoal and pastel – final work

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Here is one good group of students. I know I said this before – they came in, focused, and drew – day after day after day.  Overall, I’d say they were a quiet group. They laughed a bit here and there just to relieve tension, I suspect. They never hesitated to point out which works they liked best and clearly express why.

Our last day of class was no exception. They came in with extra excitement and then we proceeded to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the work. We talked about how the semester played out for each of them.

A challenge I do have is teaching various levels of drawing students in one 2 hour and 45 minute class session. You’ll see examples from all the levels and you’ll note that some of the work might be unfinished.  I teach realism. They learn to look and they learn to put down what they see.

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Susan’s Tortoise, mixed media on (we never knew what kind of) paper

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Gwynn’s Flower Rag Boogie, pastel on BFK

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Gwynn’s master reproduction, a Georgia O’Keeffe, pastel on BFK

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Jessica’s charcoal still life on BFK

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Sofia’s Glass Bottles on BFK

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Yari’s Terrific as Terrific gets, charcoal study on BFK

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Fabiola’s Friday Night, charcoal study on BFK

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Deja’s Pearly Whites, charcoal study on BFK

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Gabriela’s Still Life on BFK

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Jennifer’s Rope, charcoal study on BFK

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Ehteli’s Absract, charcoal study on BFK

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Jennifer’s Great Knot, value study

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Sofia’s Accidental, value study

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Ehthlei’s value study

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Bravilio’s Faint Memories of Freedom, value study

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Dustin’s value study

Class is over. Grades are in.

I have a feeling most of this group will continue to draw throughout the summer.

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the self portrait

In a portrait, you have room to have a point of view and to be conceptual with a picture. The image may not be literally what’s going on, but it’s representative. – Annie Leibovitz

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In general, this group does not talk very much. But their self-portraits communicate plenty. That’s all I’m saying about this post…

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Inner Vision by Gwynn

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Neomi’s Self Portrait

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The Best Time of the Day by Deja

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Self Portrait by Andres

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Self Portrait by Jennifer

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I Hate Self Portraits by Monica

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The Younger Son by Matt

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Memory by Fabiola

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Self Portrait by Dustin

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Una Mujer, Una Nina by Yari

 

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Portrait by Ehthlei

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by Gabriela

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Through My Eyes, Portrait #2 by Gabriela

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Connection by Bravilio

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Self Portrait by Nati

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Escape by Jessica

 

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charcoal – the end!

“One looks, looks long, and the world comes in.”
– Joseph Campbell


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It feels like the semester moved quickly – carefully but quickly. We only just started charcoal and now it’s over, I comment. We’ve worked on charcoal for at least 6 weeks, but we didn’t break in between assignments like we usually do, to discuss things.

Today we wrap up and talk about 2 separate value studies. One is cloth and pattern (and knots) using local value. The other is a still life using an artificial light source.

I wonder out loud what did they learn. What was the thing you each developed more and more with each assignment?  Patience, someone says. Certainly patience. What else? A few other things come up and then I hear – Seeing. We learned to see. Yes!  That’s it. You learned to look closely and you learned to see!

We move through the individual assignments and talk about careful observation and how that developed throughout the semester.

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49 Shades of Gray, Gwynn

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Groovey, Ryan

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Knot, Alejandra

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Knot in this Country, Alfredo

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Let’s get Knotty, Kiria

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Lost in the Shadows, Gwynn

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Nyeh-heh-heh, Alfredo

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Defeated by a Cup, Henry

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Still Life Practice, Casey

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Mugshot of the Century, Aaron

Susan, an advanced student, works independently. Her goal for the semester is to gain confidence with portraiture. She begins with a baby and make her way to a mature adult. She adds to the challenge by working in silverpoint. With research and trial, Susan  completes six fine silver points. For variety she brings color into the final 2 images of the Dalai Lama.  One of the qualities of silverpoint work is with time it oxidizes. The color  seems to take on a life of its own as it changes rather drastically. Time will tell us more – it’s all about experiment in this case.
Here are her 6 portraits.

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Conversation about charcoal: layering it, erasing it, the beauty of the knots, shadows and light, and the illusion of depth.
We talk about developing patience. Most importantly we talk about looking and seeing – and the value of careful observation. If you ask me there are always lessons in drawing about the world outside the studio.