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9th Annual Art-a-Day Challenge, January 2018!

Monday, January 16, 2012

First ever portrait from a live model

So after about 15 years' worth of New Year's Resolutions about starting drawing again or even taking some formal lessons again for inspiration, I finally did it. After spending this Christmas drawing with my Dad back in the UK, I signed up for a portrait drawing class at Chicago's wonderful 'Palette & Chisel' Academy. I've never drawn from a live model before. Except the pen and ink sketch of my sister that I did on Boxing Day Evening. Which isn't quite the same..!

I've drawn from loads of photos of people, and drawn my own hands and feet more times than I can remember - but I've always felt more comfortable drawing 'things' and 'stuff' rather than people. Today reminded me why. Although I think it looks like a the woman who posed, it's not a great 'likeness' of the woman. Ironically I think I got a better likeness of my sister with the quick sketch. Probably as I've looked at her for 36 years though :)

I am pleased with it as a first start to live portraiture. My goal is to free myself up a bit and focus less on shading and layering - and more on proper measurement to achieve a model's unique features and expressions. The woman next to me did the most amazing charcoal sketch - beautiful expression, movement and likeness - with so few lines and subtle shading. Anyway - wanted to share.


Laura Gable said...

Shelley that's wonderful - hard to believe you've not drawn from a live model before. Very nice.

Jim Bumgarner said...

We should all be so skilled as to pump out a portrait this nice on first try! Wow, Shelley, this is spectacular.

Shelley said...

Thanks Laura/Jim - really appreciate it. I'm genuinely very pleased with it - but I'm also really hoping to break out of the quite 'tight', controlled approach I've always had. I would just love to be able to capture the same person with fewer, more flowing strokes. And just experiment with a different style.

Out of interest, do you think people are stuck with their 'style' of drawing or painting? Ot that they can change aspects of it but, like handwriting, the underlying natural 'signature' remains the same..?

Either way - I'm thrilled to finally do what I promised myself I would - and looking forward to experimenting and progressing through the next 5 weeks :)

Laura Gable said...

I think if you work at anything you can change your approach ... like wanting to be looser at painting. And the more you practice it, the more you intuitively know you subject, so you don't have to use as many brush strokes or charcoal lines to express it. Plus you become more confident. Keep up the good work.

Lapoynte said...

I like it! The paper color is cool too.

BobiWilson said...

This is great! I think our "voice" or "signature" is always there, It just becomes more itself the more we get out of the way.