Thursday, December 10, 2009

Unfinished Figure Drawing

I don't know what it is about this one that I like so much, but I thought I'd post it. When I draw the initial sketch and lay the ground, I almost lose the drawing underneath. Then I erase the lightest values and add the darkest values with a darker conte. This is the way the drawing usually looks after doing this, just before I work on the midtones. At this point the drawing has the most contrast. As I work on the midtones the drawing can lose some of its impact because sometimes I overwork the midtones and it weakens the drawing. That said, I wish I had enough time to finish it. Feel free to comment.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Still Life Rough Draft

I'm working on a new still life that "features" two pears. I've been playing around with different arrangements and compositions but nothing looks right so far. Here is one of the rough drafts seems to work OK. Feel free to comment or criticize.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Figure drawing in conte, hour long pose. This drawing was done a few weeks ago. Feel free to comment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Figure Drawing

I'm trying to make the values and edges a little "softer" in this one. I don't know how successful I was. I think the drawing ended up being a bit too light. Anyway, this was done in 25 minutes. Back poses are easier to draw so I was able to get a little more done.

Feel free to comment.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Here are a few more figure drawings. The first one was done in charcoal. The next one was done in about an hour using conte. I laid the ground with conte shavings and spread it with a paint brush. I "added" light values by erasing with a kneaded eraser and dark values with a darker conte crayon. The last one was done in about 20 minutes. I tried to work on the drawing instead of adding values.

Feel free to comment.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This one was done at the St. Augustine Art Association's figure session. It's on Mondays from 7-10pm. They do a few 5 minute warm up poses to start and go into the long pose for the rest of the evening. This took about two and a half hours. I'm starting to like profiles a lot more now. I think it's because it looks like the subject isn't posing. To me, it looks like the artist captured a moment of time when the subject was doing something else or thinking about something else. It's also a different way of looking at a face, and since it's simpler to draw, I can get more done within the time limit. After a while, if you go to enough of these sessions, you start seeing the same models. So I think this is a slightly different way of looking at her.

Feel free to comment.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Figure Drawing Session

Here are two drawings from the Sunday drawing session. I usually work on the figure, but lately I've been focusing more on drawing the portrait. It's rare that I can get someone to hold a pose this long so this is a good opportunity to draw a portrait from life. I did about five drawings. I'm showing the portrait and the hour-long pose.

Here's the long pose:

Both were done with conte. Someone commented that I work in a "minimalist" style. Feel free to comment, criticize, or question.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Figure Drawing Sessions are Back

Now that the figure sessions have started up again after a month long hiatus I can get in more practice drawing the face and figure. I really wish I could do this more often, but there are about four or five sessions I know of now, so there's an opportunity for practice at least four times a week. This figure drawing was done at the St. Augustine Art Association. I've included a closeup of the face (more like a profile).

Feel free to criticize or comment.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Go Figure" show

Butterfield Too art gallery in St. Augustine, FL had an opening titled "Go Figure". It featured the art of about 8-9 artists who are regulars at the figure session held on Tuesday evenings. The artists are really talented, and the drawings showed different styles, perspectives, and media to depict the nude or partially nude model. Artists worked in pencil, pastel, oil, and conte. I used conte crayons for these sessions. I had about six works on display; here are three of them. The figure was done at this session, and the portrait was done at another open figure drawing session, one hosted by the St. Augustine Art Association.

This figure was done in an 8-hour open figure session at the Artistree art gallery at Jacksonville Beach. The model holds the pose for 20-25 minutes, takes a break, and resumes the pose. We took a break for lunch and finished the session at around 5 pm. There's never enough time to totally finish a drawing, even after 7-8 hours spent working on a drawing. Oh well...

Feel free to comment or criticize.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Still Life Paintings

I haven't posted anything in a long time, so here are two still lifes. Two of the life drawing sessions I go to have been cancelled for August, and that has cut down on the figure drawings a lot. I've been practicing with still life drawings to make up for it. At least this way I can practice with color, which is hard for me to do, and composition. These were done in pastel. Feel free to comment, criticize, or question.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This nude was done in about an hour's time. I really enjoy the challenge of drawing the reclining figure from a foreshortened perspective. It's harder than a straight on view of the model, but a lot more rewarding if it's done well. I try to draw an "envelop" of the whole figure and then break the large contour into smaller parts. I then refine those smaller parts until it looks more like a drawing of the model. I use the head as a unit of measurement for things like hands and legs (mainly to compare size). Feel free to comment or criticize.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I got the inspiration for this one while noticing a plant in the house. Once you stop and really look at something, you notice a lot more about it. I kept looking at it and wondering if I could draw it faithfully. I used tomatoes to play on the color contrast (red-green, yellow-purple, orange-blue). For artists who are familiar with the color wheel, they're directly across from each other. I wanted to make a few focal points in a very busy, detailed painting of leaves and branches. I figured the eye would jump from tomato to tomato and look at the leaves of the plant, which sorta forms a background to everything. I also wanted to recreate the illusion that I usually see when I look at the plant. I notice mostly green masses like the larger leaves at first, and then the smaller leaves as I keep looking. I just sold this one so at least someone out there likes it ;).

Anyway, feel free to comment, question, or criticize.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Practice, Practice

I try to practice with color at least four times a week. I could do a self portrait, but I think it's a more interesting to do a still life. I usually draw something small like a vase or a flower. For this one I used cherries. These cherries were red and yellow. I don't have a lot of yellow pastels so this was a challenge. Feel free to comment, question, or criticize.

Tuesday Night Session

This session was little different from other ones I've been to. Usually the model is nude and assumes a pose that's easy to hold for a long time, like laying on a couch or lying on the floor. For this one the model had on clothes and was posed in a comfortable chair with lots of drapes. I thought it was a nice change from the norm so props to the lady who ran the session. Props to the model for holding the pose for so long. It's probably hard enough to hold still for ten minutes. She held it for at least 30 minutes before taking her first break.

I worked on the figure with this session and it took a while to get my proportions and measurements right. It's a tough pose because her right arm and left leg are foreshortened. I think I struggled the most with that. After I started to render the values, the hands still didn't look right in relation to the rest of the figure and the feet were a little too big. Then the model took a break, which can really affect how the drawing comes out. When she resumes the pose she has to get as close as possible to the original pose, and when she doesn't it's almost like starting over again. For the most part, the model gets it right. I don't think I did enough with the hands and the knee doesn't look as foreshortened as it should be. I wish I had another half hour on this, but I think I accomplished most of what I set out to do.

Feel free to comment, question, or criticize.
Here's a closeup. The setup was done well and the model did a really good job considering that this was a two and a half hour pose.

Monday Night Session

Usually at a drawing session I draw the figure, but every now and then I'll try to draw a portrait. It's rare that I get a chance to draw a portrait from life. Figure drawing sessions present a good opportunity to draw a portrait with decent lighting, and I only have the face to worry about and not the full figure. I don't have to put as much time into measurements and proportions with the face as with the figure. Portraits are still pretty hard for me to get right, and the fact that I have a time limit doesn't help much. That said, I get a more finished drawing when I work with the face. Anyway, I need the practice.

This one was done in conte. I use a sharpened conte stick for the preliminary drawing. After the drawing is done, I add conte shavings by rubbing the conte stick on sandpaper. I spread the shavings with an old filbert bristle paint brush, which gives me the midtones. I add in the darks with a darker conte stick (also sharpened) and make highlights and lighter tones with a kneaded eraser. It helps me focus on lights and darks without worrying about color. I spent about 40 minutes with this drawing, and I probably could have added hair with another 20 min.

Anyway, feel free to comment, question, or criticize.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Here's another nude. This one was done in an hour, maybe a little more. I try to draw the reclining figure from a foreshortened perspective. It's a lot more challenging and I think it looks better.

Feel free to comment, criticize, or question.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I'll be using this blog mainly to post drawings of the figure and still lifes. I'll also post paintings that I'll enter into competitions and exhibitions, as well as other announcements. I've been going to a weekly figure drawing class for about three years now (maybe more than that). It's been a great way to get some practice drawing the figure and developing skills. Anyone who tells you that drawing from life is the best way to develop as a representational artist is right. The human figure is a complex mix of shapes and lines and measurements, and it's a real challenge to draw it.

Anyway, I'll be posting my work on a regular basis, so check back often and tell me what you think.

Let's get the ball rolling with a drawing. This one was done in an hour.