Monday, April 6, 2009


This past year I have been focusing on learning to paint and draw portraits. Like many other artists, I feel that portraits are very difficult to master. I don't know exactly why that is. Is it because we are intimidated in painting and drawing images of ourselves? In my learning philosophy I believe that when you are working on a subject you need to really look and really see it. You concentrate on the shapes, values, colors and relationships to surrounding objects and then you should be able to duplicate it. Sounds simple doesn't it? But the face has so many curves and soft edges. It has subtle color changes and reflected light. No wonder it is so difficult!

I currently study drawing in a semi-private class with Jack Whitlow at D'Art center in Norfolk, VA. (His work is magnificent, just look at his blog.) We are working on a portrait of Jodie Foster dressed in costume from the movie Sommersby. When Jack brought in the picture I felt so inspired by it. I had been in a slump with my drawing before that but immediately I was out of it.

While working on the drawing I started to feel a familiarity with the shapes and curves of her face. It was as if I was sculpting her features in clay. I knew where her face came forward and how it went around to the back. It felt so three dimensional to me on a two dimensional piece of bristol. It was amazing.

I also am studying watercolor and working on portraits with Rieneke Leenders. She is a great artist and does wonderful work in watercolor including exquisite portraits. Just checkout her web site

The painting of Paul Newman was my forth watercolor portrait. I was inspired by his looks and his life.

1 comment:

Jack Whitlow said...

I can't wait to see what you've done....sounds like the values and form must be coming together