Copying the Masters

Copying a master painting is a very useful exercise. Here is The Favorite Horse by John Singer Sargent. First make the “linear placement” — where the shapes go on the page. Then, start to think about how Sargent did this very warm and subtle painting.

This was a challenging assignment, not only because I haven’t been working in watercolor, but it is very difficult to reproduce the physical properties of wet watercolor. Although the copy is miles away from the brilliance of the original, copying this helped me to see the importance of relative values, and subtle things that occur when there are only small amounts of light.

A Year in Drawing and Painting

It has been an entire year since my last blog post! Last year, when visiting Maine, I was blissfully unaware of the events of the coming year. Pandemic, crazy politics, national unrest, weird weather! Still, there were positive things about 2020. I tapped into several high-quality online art classes sponsored by community art associations. For me, quarantine was an opportunity to fill in some of the holes in my art education.

Early Spring

In March, it was difficult to concentrate until the level of biological threat was clear. Thinking that I would like to work on my drawing skills, I enrolled in Ron Krouk’s excellent class through the Zullo Gallery. This class lit the spark to continue with my drawing practice.

Late Spring and Summer

I learned so much from Ron that I took another class. This was a continuation of basic drawing with a eye toward preparing for a painting. The online format worked surprisingly well.

Late Summer and Fall

Yet another class with Ron, taking the drawing toward painting. In this class I made peace with acrylic paint – learning to build it up slowly, rather than apply it like oil paint or soft pastel. In this class, I made some good mistakes – ones I can learn from. My best accomplishment to actually start to think of using my drawings for paintings, even though most of the paintings had mistakes. It was a good year in this regard!

2021 and Beyond

I’m still fond of my colored pencil landscapes. I love to blend the colors using my knowledge of color theory. I’m going to continue with these, while trying to remember all of the things I learned in 2021. Also, I’m signed up for an animal drawing class (alpacas are a current fascination) and I will be working outside when the air is warmer and safer.

Happy New Year to anyone reading this!

More Observational Drawing

I would like to gain enough skill to use drawing as a second language for expressing ideas, feelings, and places. After so many years of playing with drawing, I feel as if I am learning skills I can use for this. After 9 classes, I can see that this is going to take a lot of practice! Still, our instructor has been taking us through some of the most challenging drawing problems: drapery, human heads, and the human figure. I still have a temptation to refer to a photo, but gradually, I am able to draw what I see without the aid of a reference image.

My Summer School

Having just finished an excellent, inspiring and helpful observational drawing class with Ron Krouk, I gave myself 7 assignments, each one corresponding to one of the lessons we had during the big lockdown.

  • Week 1 – Perspective and Basic Shapes
  • Week 2 – Thinking in Shapes
  • Week 3 – Approaches to Drawing
  • Week 4 – Heads
  • Week 5 – Light and Perspective in Space
  • Week 6 – Drapery
  • Week 7 – Everything

Week 1: Perpective and Basic Shapes

This lesson was a much needed refresher on the rules of perspective and how light falls on objects in space. My self-assigned “homework” for this lesson was to remember the rules of perspective and be patient about rendering them. This is a collection of stuff that happened to be on my patio table after a drawing sesson.

Week 2: Thinking in Shapes

This lesson was about seeing things as abstract shapes and noting relationships in space. My “homework assignment” for this lesson was to find one of my sketches and do a notan sketch for planning a painting.

This week, I’m working on the “Approaches to Drawing” lesson. The aim of this lesson was to try three different approaches to rendering what I see:

  • Gesture
  • Contour
  • Straight lines and angles.

I’ll post these soon!

The End of Class and Beginning of Practice

I just finished an excellent 7-week class: “Observational Drawing” offered by Zullo Gallery in our town. The instructor (Ron Krouk) did a wonderful job of moving the course online when the state issued the “stay at home” advisory.

My goal for this course was to revisit my basic drawing skills. I took “Observational Drawing” to make sure I am really looking and transferring what I see to the paper as I see it. Armed with some new tools for approaching drawing, I hope I can use the “lockdown” time to really practice.