The workshop went really well! Six were scheduled to come for the weekend sessions and at the last minute I received a call from another person who had heard about it and wanted to know if I could squeeze them in. I decided the more the merrier. While we were, indeed, kind of "cozy" all in one space I found that this little group was very attentive and serious about improving their skills, taking what I talked about and demonstrated to heart. It is so hard to put it all into a mere two days, the things I want to show people and have them understand, things it has taken me so many years to develop in my own head.
We started the first morning with drawing from a skull replica that I set up on a table. I wanted to emphasize the underlying structure of a head/portrait, which I happen to think is important for understanding the process of portrait painting.
"Yorick," the studio skull
I drew these two versions very quickly to show the basic elements to be looking for and how to avoid getting hung up on extraneous details. After an hour or so of drawing "Yorick" we moved on to Planes of the Head:
Last year,before I got this "Planes of the Head" figure, I debated for some time about whether or not to invest in it...the head is not inexpensive. It has turned out to be one of the best purchases I ever made for my studio. "Planes" is wonderful to set up in a variety of lighting, to test angles and to see if a proposed pose is going to work. One of my students this weekend is a talented woodcarver who would like to do more portraits and he spent most of his time with "Planes", drawing and redrawing it. One side is carved very simply and the other side has more detail. Moving from the skull to "Planes" was a smooth transition showing how bone and muscle shapes work together to form a head and face. We spent a couple of hours with "Planes." From there to the living model was an easy step, and spent the afternoon and all day sunday working with Mary Ann, our living model.
Apologies to MaryAnn, as I should have spent some time taking a better photo of her! She has good bone structure and is very attractive! I will try to get a better photo of her when I see her again and vindicate myself! At least this shows the transition between skull, Planes of the Head and drawing and painting from life, (see top photo of my painting demo). I was more engrossed in drawing and painting her and seeing to the needs of the class than I was in photographing things; all to the good as far as the workshop went!
Bob, as always, played chief cook and bottle washer, and amazing host to all our guests. Lunches were tasty and satisfying, as was dinner for the three students who stayed overnight with us, after first taking a leisurely walk up the old logging road on the mountain we live on. We spent the evening over wine and nibblies, talking at length about art, telling each other funny stories, and never got around to kicking back to watch NetFlix. Could it get any better? It is a weekend I can relive in my mind over the upcoming long winter when we may be snowed in and hoping the power comes back on soon.