Thursday, November 24, 2011

Portraiture in Oils

I recently attended a workshop at the Art Students League with classically trained painter and portraitist Brandon Soloff. The intense workshop gave me a great shove towards painting in oils. I love the fast drying time of acrylics and the challenge of taming watercolor but like the flexibility and the feel of mixing and applying oil paint to canvas. I'm not aiming to become a portraitist for the rest of my days but it is a great discipline and an incredible challenge. I have never actually done a portrait before. I copied detailed photographs of Hollywood heroes when I was a teenager (that were actually pretty darn good!) but I haven't attempted one since and have been concentrating on capturing the gesture of the whole figure in quick sketches at recent life drawing sessions. To do a detailed study of the head from life in five afternoons at the League was quite a revelation to me. My drawing skills won the day. I was able to maintain the strong and pretty accurate drawing throughout each layer of the painting. I think that helped enormously. Full credit to the model though. He has amazing character and an ability to be still and maintain a pose throughout a week. Bravo!
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Another Year, Another Charity Postcard

Congratulations to Max who purchased my charity postcard for Incognito, a fund raising charity event that supports St. James Schools and the Great Ormand Street Hospital in London. I confess I didn't want to part with my art card called 'Body and Soul' but I'm glad it's going to a good home! There are still many beautiful art cards for sale. 

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Au revoir Frederic

My dear Parisian friend and fellow artist Frederic Choisel is heading to California after a two year stopover in New York! I will miss his company at various life drawing venues around the city, his critique and advice regarding my work, his vast knowledge of art history but most of all his humor and kindness. I feel like I am losing a friend and teacher to the West Coast! C'est la vie. New York is a transient place where many people pass through for a few years. Others, like myself, can't live anywhere else. To quote John Updike "The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding".

Here is a 15 minute sketch I did at the Society of Illustrators while he was drawing the models.

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