2 weeks of practice – texture, structure and depth

Students are outdoor the last 2 weeks (yes, it is warm!) working on plant forms. And for homework they complete a self-portrait. The latter assignment they use media of choice.

Critique is a good one. I think I can say they know more about themselves and they know more about each other, after all this work.

Two words that surface again and again: commitment and practice.

Daniela’s Fig Leaves

Jen’s World

Larrisa’s Plant Forms

John’s Foliage

Daniela’s Cactus

Darrien’s Practice

Nohemi’s Study

Kellani’s Leaves and Things

Brittany’s Plants

Josue’s Leaves of October

Dustin’s Learning Curve

Brittany – Self Portrait

Nohemi’s Portrait

Cesar’s Gamer tag: oh so Yeezus

Dustin’s My Style

Daniela’s Self Portrait (media – real make-up)

Josue’s Self-Portrait

Larissa

Two Years Later

John’s Dream Finishers

Collin’s Geometry

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Darrien Self Portrait

Sofia’s Essential Oils

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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looking closely and the value of seeing

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It seems right that this last weekend, on an early morning run, I find two objects ↑. The small, golden pinecone catches my attention as it shimmers in the grass. The larger pinecone waits for me at the end of my run. I bring both of them to my studio and consider the following Monday (that would be yesterday) we’ll be holding our first semester critique. And the subject-matter is the pinecone.

A sign of good things to come?  Oh yes!


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Here is my new group. Their completed drawings fill the wall behind them. We critique, among other things, some fine pinecones yesterday.

The first full assignment of the semester is a contour study of a complex natural object. You’ll see students give me more than that. Yes – note the fluid lines! I am  pleased with their careful observation and drawing. This is the first time they use markers to start and complete a work.

For many of them this is the first time they spend so much time looking at one thing (at least 9 hours if not more). One student asks if she can keep her pinecone. I tell her she can keep it if she has bonded with it. I have! I spent a lot of time with it. This is the value of looking and really seeing – I think out loud.

Here are some of the pinecones as well as some homework assignments (subject-matter of their choice). Note the titles…they tell you something about the group.

Yes…we are off to a great start!

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Sofia’s Pinecone

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Jennifer’s Separation

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Nati’s The thing….

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Gabreila’s Life Lesson

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Bravilio’s Nature

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Sofia’s Pineapple, Strawberry and Lemon

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Nati’s Lemon or Lime

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Matt’s  Orange you glad I drew this?

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Yari’s Y el aguacate?

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Gabriela’s The Pain of My Eyes

I also have a couple of returning students. And while they pick up where they left off last semester and use mixed media, they have to keep focus on the line.

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Neomi’s Through Life

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Gwynn’s Charcoal drawing

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.

 

value study and then some – final critique of the semester

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At the start of the semester I ask students what they’d like to get out of my drawing class. Clay says Practice practice practice – and he does. Heather, an engineering student, wants visualization and fun. I hope both were prompted. I ask if she’s enjoyed the semester. Yes, and despite how hard it was, she will miss it. Terry responds TO LEARN TO SEE AGAIN! He came to the right classroom. And from the looks of all of his completed assignments – he did. Most students say they want to improve their drawing skills and in fact, each one of them does. The semester appears to come and go so quickly. We hold final critique this week.

The class has two different assignments to go over – maybe more, because advanced students worked through something very different. We get going, and in between there is plenty of laughter, cookies, coffee and peaches. It is an easy ending to a fast paced semester.

This particular group moves through the early marker assignments more quickly than any class I’ve taught before. They slow down with charcoal. A few struggle with it in a way I do not expect. Surprises for everyone I guess, including the advanced students who reproduce a master work. For a few days the tension in the room they draw in (because I separate them) was thick. By day 3 there is break through (thank goodness). I spend the last day of class walking from student to student appreciating the focus.

I wish I had their very first marker study to compare to this last charcoal. You would get a sense of the progress everyone made. Here are a few highlights – note the values. As usual, I can’t possibly include every work.

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Clay’s Study.

 

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Adam’s Teapot with reflection of windows and sky in it.

 

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Trenary”s glass bottles on tin.

 

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Naomi’s study.

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Hyeokewoo’s Gorilla Skull.

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Terry’s still-life.

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Charles works on reproducing an Alice Neel.

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Robert reproduces hands of God and Adam – Michelangelo

Have a good summer! Keep drawing, you’ve only just started.

keep up the practice!

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


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Before the final critique begins I watch and listen as students appreciate each other’s work and note their individual progress. Some students remember how nervous they were on the first day of class when I said they would not be using any pencil in my drawing class.

It takes a while but finally I get them to organize so we can begin class.

IMG_5465It’s been a good semester. This group is full of personality and support for each other. Here are a few highlights from yesterday’s critique.

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Adriana’s Master’s Reproduction

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Angie’s first value study – cloth and pattern and knot

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Popay’s value study, cloth, pattern and knot

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Cassidy’s Black Teapot

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JT”S Gorilla Skull

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Angie’s Pitcher Study

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Vicki’s Teapot

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Popay’s Still-Life

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Mariah’s Gorilla Skeletal Study

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….. over and out. Keep up the practice! I yell as they exit the studio.

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give me lines

The permanence of ink encourages one to “go for it,” to try to put the line right where it should be… continued attempts to place lines accurately build the eye-hand coordination necessary for sketching. Paul Laseau


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New semester. New series of line drawings. You’ll recognize my usual subject-matter, the pine cone. This shape has everything I need to challenge my students – complexity and elegance. You’ll also remember the students work in marker. They use Sharpie’s and Micro Pen’s.

Homework is  a complex natural fruit or vegetable of their choice. Note, the charcoal study is a drawing 2 student. Only those that have gone one round with me begin with charcoal. They pick up right where they left off. Here are some top picks from today’s critique.

Notice how lines flow…

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Pinecone by Papay

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Broken Pinecone by Cassidy

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Morning Stretch by Mariah

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Pinecone 1 by Kayla


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Pinecone by JT

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Pinecone 2 by Kayla

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Flittering Pine by Robert

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Artichoke Flower by Alexa, Charcoal and Pastel (Drawing 2)

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Kiwi by Robert

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Jalapeno and Tomato by Angelica

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Mushroom and Cabbage by Kayla

We had a strong downpour of rain this morning, it’s a sure sign – something’s been seeded.

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