Wednesday, October 30, 2013


The first part of the day, 10-11:30, was spent with Fran telling us about the shape of the head, where the eyes, nose, mouth, ears are placed.  That we need to measure angles in the head (like the angle of the nose - is it straight across or does it go up on one side).  She had some drawings on tracing paper to illustrate this.  We only got to spend 1 1/2 hours on this because the model was scheduled to arrive at noon and we had to eat lunch before she arrived.

If you're going to draw or paint portraits, you will need to learn the general rules and then learn to measure to check that your model's nose isn't longer than normal, or that he has a large forehead and small chin, etc.  Each person is different and each person's features are different.  So, get yourself a good drawing portraits book and you'll learn all these rules that will help you start.  

As for sight measuring, I've only seen that used in a figure drawing class and I thought I knew how to do it until I began trying with our model at noon - and then everything I had learned flew out the window!

Our model for the afternoon (sorry about the blurred photo).
She was a professional, sitting for long stretches of time without a break, and not complaining - and not moving at all!!

And here is my sketch of the model, in my Aquabee Sketchbook.  In looking through previous sketches in that book, I see it's been since 2009 that I was doing figure drawing through Manifest Gallery's Drawing Center!  I need to get back to that because it's obvious that you lose it if you don't use it!

Due to the nature of the workshop, we didn't have easels and weren't standing to draw - we sat at our tables and tilted our paper upright so we wouldn't get too much distortion.  Fran said to leave out her arms because I'd made them too small, so I just painted her head and shoulders when I began painting.  We drew first, then painted, while the model still sat and posed.

Again, background first (this drawing was traced onto watercolor paper and I left out a lot that I was going to try to put in with paint later).  I hated it and it was too solid and heavy, so I went back and sprayed it off with a heavy-duty sprayer.  That's what caused the streaks.

Then hair - I tried to keep it light and painterly.  I was using only three colors through the painting:
Raw Sienna
Quinacridone Rose
French Ultramarine Blue

This is where I finished up.  She doesn't look like the model - more like the model as a young girl?  Not sure I'll do more to it but might try this one again since I have the sketch to work from and the model's photo for colors.

The three days were tough.  Long hours, Fran was a real task-master, working us hard and no fooling around chatting with your neighbor - back to work!!  Fran teaches workshops in the Columbus, OH area (she's done workshops at the Columbus Museum of Art).  If you're interested in seeing her work, just google Fran Mangino and her midlife series will come up, along with a couple of articles she wrote about using photographs as reference material and projecting your work and tracing (which she showed us on the 2nd day of the workshop).  I don't think her webpage has been updated in a while - but you can google her name and some of her more recent paintings will come up.


Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Rhonda - looks like you learned so much in this workshop...I think portraits must be the most difficult thing to do. Hope you can rest up now and just have a bit of fun - looks like you deserve it since you worked so hard.

Diana said...

HI Rhonda, wow that was intense and lots to learn. She has a wonderful class from from your photos. It would be wonderful to take from her. Thanks for sharing it with us. love,Diana

RH Carpenter said...

Portraits are hard because we have to get the features right - unless we're just doing a generic person - so you have to know how to draw. And I need to go back to my drawing and do more.

Diana, yes, an intense 3 days!

Barb Sailor said...

I imagine you were very tired following this workshop, but at the same time invigorated. I love workshops, but never turn out work I like in them. From reading your explanations of what you did, I can tell you absorbed the information like a sponge, and I liked your paintings...Your 2nd drawing flows beautifully. I saw Fran do a demo once for the Lima Area Watercolor Society, and I was impressed with her work.

Gary L. Everest said...

Hi Rhonda,
I knew there was a reason I've never attended a workshop! Just too much high-stress, limited-time hard work which has never been my cup of tea. I admire your pluck and your effort, Rhonda. A long time ago, I remember reading that portraits in watercolor are extremely challenging and now I know way.
So, Rhonda, who will be your first, or next subject?
The world will be watching...
Have a good day tomorrow.

sketch said...

nice sketch!!

CrimsonLeaves said...

This definitely looks and sounds like a working workshop! So much detail and information!! I like doing portraits so very much but I definitely have to grid them to get them remotely right. I envy those who can do them freehand so beautifully!

RH Carpenter said...

Barb, I'd go with "tired"! ha ha It bothered me that, having some training in figure drawing, it was not obvious at all in my work that weekend!

Gary, the pressure can be really high, or the teacher can lessen that with their personality (a good sense of humor helps to lighten the mood when things get tense) or their teaching style. I think I've learned my lesson - I won't sign up for any workshops unless the style and technique being shared is something I really want to learn (like Carol Carter, who is coming here in April 2014; or perhaps a Ted Nuttall workshop which I've been thinking about for years).

Thanks, sketch :) I did much better on the sketch than the painting, that's for sure. Although I see a lot of corrections to do to the sketch, too.

Anita's art said...

These are really helpful posts. Thanks for sharing the details and workshop hints. I admire how you work at painting and growing your artistry every day!

RH Carpenter said...

Glad you enjoyed them, Anita. Living in paradise, like you do, I imagine you have plenty of inspiration all around!!! said...

I think you did a great job in this workshop. Sounds like it was a very intense experience.