While I was away in Philadelphia this past week, twenty one of my paintings and drawings were being hung in the beautiful Gallery of Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, NC. Ravenscroft, founded in 1862, is a premier private school for grades pre-k thru 12. It has become a preeminent academic institution in the Southeast, which happens to boast a very impressive Arts Education focus for both the visual arts as well as the performing arts. This exhibition will be up through the end of September. Gallery hours are 8-5pm, Monday thru Friday or by appointment. I am also very honored to announce that I will be one of the Visiting Artists for their Upper School. In September, I will be working with small groups of the arts students to learn more about traditional methods of drawing and painting. Many thanks to Joyce Fillip who coordinated this exhibition and workshop. You have done a fantastic job of installing my work in this beautiful gallery. I am quite grateful.
This past week I had the ultimate pleasure of spending time in Philadelphia with my very good friends Diane Feissel, Rachel Constantine and fellow NC artist Susan Lyon. We were all enrolled in a workshop at the esteemed Studio Incamminati taught by the incredible Colorado artist Daniel Sprick. There have been several posts on facebook and on the other artist's blogs about this workshop (Philly artist William Sentman did two great posts on the workshop which you can read by clicking: Day 1 or Day 2and Diane Feissel did a great post titled Sprick).
Here are some photos of the experience with a few captions.
Painting at Rachel's beautiful studio on Thursday before the weekend workshop.
(left to right: Sue Lyon, Diane Feissel, Daniel Sprick & Rachel Constantine off camera to left)
Saturday, Day 1. Drawing
Daniel's final drawing demo.
Daniel starts another drawing demo from the model.
Daniel's final figure drawing demo.
My drawing of model Ron.
Day 2. Painting!
Susan Lyon taking Daniel's seat.
Daniel Sprick's palette.
Daniel's final painting demo (detail below)
My painting from the workshop.
Many thanks to Rachel and Diane for your amazing hospitality; to Daniel for the wonderful experience; to Studio Incamminati for hosting this great workshop and also a huge thank you to the lovely Lea Colie Wight for lending me your spare drawing board and paper. Philly is full of amazing people!!
This summer I have been honored to teach a Contemporary Portrait Painting workshop at Artspace in Raleigh, NC which met five consecutive Monday evenings; July 11th - August 18th. I had a dedicated group of students who ranged from a complete beginner to a few well trained painters and everything in between. It was a great supportive group of artists. Seeing the students growth and improvement is one of the most gratifying parts of teaching.
The first night, we started by talking about the basics of portraiture. We used a charcoal subtractive drawing method to learn about general proportions, placement of features, basic anatomy of the head as well as an understanding of value. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera this first session so I don't have images of this to share. My apologies.
The next Monday night, we continued to build our understanding of the human head, and started to get familiar with oil paints by learning a subtractive underpainting technique that relates well to the subtractive charcoal drawing technique. You begin by applying a thin wash of burnt sienna and burnt umber mixture evenly over the entire surface of the canvas. Then using the same mixture you draw in your portrait, and then use a rag, old brushes and even q-tips to "pull out" your light masses. Then, you go back into the shadow masses with more of the same oil color mixture to refine your value relationships, edges and structure. By only focusing on value the students were quite successful in creating an accurate portrait.
My quick demo a of subtractive underpainting (aka: open grisaille).
Students hard at work on their subtractive underpaintings.
The next three sessions we worked on one painting, which helped the students learn how to take a painting all the way from a grisaille (this time, using greys instead of the sienna/ umber mixture) to a full color portrait. This time, I asked the students to use a closed grisaille method for their underpainting. It is called a "closed grisaille" because instead of using the white of the canvas showing thru a wash of tone to create the lightmass (as shown above), this time white pigment was added to create the lighter values. (Please note that a closed grisaille could also be done with the sienna/umber mixture. It becomes "closed" when white pigment is introduced to any underpainting.)
Students at work!
My quick demo of a closed grisaille.
After the composition, proportions, placement and values of the portrait were established in a closed grisaille the student's next step was to do a "dirty color pass". Which is basically is a pass to get an approximation of the color - concentrating on keeping the value correct while also getting the correct warm and cool color relationships. By not worrying about mixing up the exact right color, students tend to have less anxiety about painting over their grisaille work. Also, it is nice to have many layers of paint in a painting. The history of previous marks can be a wonderful thing in a portrait.
My dirty color pass demo.
The final class was spent trying to get everything as accurate as possible especially the color. These students were a pleasure to work with and watch expand their understanding of the human head. Thank you to Artspace for facilitating this great workshop!