Sunday, May 26, 2013

A successful workshop.

Well, the week is over and our workshop finished.  It went perfectly, and everyone had a great time.  The models were amazing and the vibe really relaxed.  I didn't take photos every day or document this religiously, but here are a few more shots of what we did...

After the drawings or underpaintings were finished, they were all scanned and I reduced them in the computer and printed everyone out a small cropped face for the next lesson.

These reduced drawings were then traced down onto small pieces of canvasboard.  This step had the students produce a small color study of the portrait to practice mixing and analysing the colors.

Marty did a quick demo of blocking in the main tones...

After the small study, it was back to the large canvases and onto the painting of the portrait in color.

Students generally proceeded from the top down, rendering away to a finish on each area.  There were numerous demos on hair, glazing, etc.

The week went by fast and it seemed like the right amount of time for the tasks covered.  Along with working, there was also a big 17-person Chinese food supper last night and many boxes of donughts consumed.  The group was a great mix of people and having 12 people in a garage didn't seem like too many.  Now to clean up my garage and get back to routine and "real" work.

This is the headstudy of Sara that I painted..

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Atelier portrait painting workshop day 3

No update for day2... we went and saw Star Trek last night.  It was good, regardless of what Marty thinks.

Stage 2 of our workshop has the students moving into the painting stage once an accurate drawing is made.  First, a toned canvas is prepared with burnt umber and the drawing transferred by rubbing charcoal on the back of a copy and tracing down the outline.

Many of the drawings were first scanned so we could enlarge or shrink to an optimal size for painting.  This step also allows for a perfect centring and placement on the canvas.

Using lead white for a good foundation layer and for enhanced drying properties, the students then scumbled white over the face to start the modelling process.  This stage allows students to gently move into the painting stage and start to see how they will render within the linework.

The addition of some darker umber and a background tone starts to bring the face into relief.  This stage is an in-between stage to drawing and painting as students are still able to concentrate on drawing with paint before color problems are introduced.
(painting by Andrea Lane)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Atelier portrait painting workshop day 1

Today was the first day of our portrait painting workshop, taking place at my home studio.  This is the first time I've been able to use the big garage space below my office for an event.  It took a bit of tidying up, but has so far worked perfectly as a teaching space...

The main instruction for the class is being done by Martinho Correia, the former instructor at the famous Angel Academy in Florence, Italy.  We've been friends for quite awhile, and since he stays in Canada a few months a year we decided to hold a class at my place this spring.  Its a great opportunity for this knowledge to come to us rather than having to travel to Italy for classes.

 Day 1 started with an overview of the entire process and a demonstration on how to accurately draw the model from life, using a "Bargue drawing" method of plumb lines and comparative measurements.

The students are drawing on paper first, then transferring their drawings to canvas for later painting.  I sat out day one and worked upstairs a bit on another image that I just started, but thinking again, I might as well jump in on this opportunity and do a painting too.  How often does one get to paint from a live model for an extended period for free and at home??  I'd better jump in on this tomorrow and get caught up!

Everyone's drawings are progressing nicely.  The models are great and the class is running smoothly... fingers crossed for the rest of the week.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

New podcast

After 5 months we finally have a new podcast up:

I'd personally rather listen to podcasts than make them, but I do feel enthusiastic once in awhile to make these and put some thoughts down for posterity.  I'm actually pretty proud of the job we have done on these podcasts; I think they are informative and interesting, but that could be just because we are talking about people and things that are familiar.  I really don't have a clue if others actually listen to these things; I don't host or have access to any stats.  Its hard to be motivated to do this free public-service-educational stuff without feedback or thanks, so if you've ever listened to them, pleas let me know if they are appreciated... otherwise we might not bother.

Anyhow this episode is on "advice for graduating students".  Its an attempt to provide a path for illustration students to travel upon graduation.  We try to bring some perspective from a standpoint of 20 years after graduation to students entering today's challenging professional environment.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Been home for a few days from the Calgary Expo. It was a good time again this year. I didn't make as much money as the first year, but I think that may be due to the crowds being dispersed into more buildings this year for less traffic by my table. My table was in the exact same spot as last year so that was good for continuity and people getting familiar with me. I didn't get to meet too many new artists, so a little dissapointed at that fact, but it was great to chum around with the ones I knew from before.

I still have 2 spots left for the portrait painting class on May 20th-26th. (see earlier posts) I dunno why it didn't fill easier as we have posters at all the local art stores, etc. If anyone still wants to attend, let me know ASAP.

I am starting to clean up my garage studio space, and Marty is coming up next Wed. to help me set it all up for the class. I am also likely meeting with my 2 models tomorrow. If all goes well, I think they will work great. There is the possibility of some great red hair to paint! It will be nice to take a week off from routine and have some real human contact. The students I have met all seem very mature and serious so I think there will be alot of stimulating art-learning happening.

Anyhow, spread the word for me as we still have 2 spots in the class, as its coming up fast!