Art theory Faces Figure Drawing Oil Painting Other Art Blogs I Read Painting People Portrait Sketchbook Pages

Figure Painting Workshop Sketches


20 Minute Sketch: Oil on panel 12×9″ Larger

I thought I would scrape off and reuse this panel but when I photographed it I found there was something about the rawness that I liked. It was the second sketch of the first day of my “Weekend Warriors” figure painting workshop with Randall Sexton, a talented and kind teacher. The model, Meri, was the best I’ve worked with…beautiful, voluptious, charming and a real professional. She is originally from Argentina and came to the SF Bay Area after working with artists in New York City for 10 years.

Below is another 20 minute sketch from day one. Again, I thought I’d wipe and reuse but since I kind of like the energy in it (and didn’t like the cheapo Aaron Brothers panel — way too smooth a surface) I think I’ll hang onto it. (Which means it joins the big stack of “learning opportunities” in my closet until I’m ready to dump them).

Oil on panel, 12×9″ (larger)


Oil painting from a live model is sort of like plein air painting: time is limited and there are so many elements that need to be right (drawing, color , value, likeness etc.) for the painting to work. There is so much to see, discover, understand and interpret in 20 minute sprints of painting.

The model’s breaks between poses afford an interesting opportunity to walk around the room and see what others are doing. I was struck by how different each artist’s work was. There were some very accomplished local painters in this weekend class. I had the good fortune of setting up beside Iris Sabre, a local painter whose style and technique I greatly admire.

I started the larger painting below at the end of day one, with two 20 minute sessions. When we returned on Day 2 we had 3 more 20 minute sessions to “finish” up. This is nowhere near finished (but I wish I’d at least gotten around to fixing those giant hands!)

Oil on panel, 20×16″ (larger)


This was the 20 minute warm up sketch at the beginning of day two:
Oil on canvas panel, 12×9″ (larger)


This was the final painting on day two, about 2 hours and again, not close to being finished and suffering from chalkiness and my exhaustion:
Oil on panel, 20×16″ (larger)


Figure Drawing Gouache Life in general People Sketchbook Pages

Learning to Vacation


Ink in Moleskine sketchbook – Peaberry’s Coffee in Oakland’s Rockridge District, land of yuppies with strollers
Click here to enlarge

Today was my first official day of vacation. There’s something about a week off that makes me want to hoard every moment and then I start worrying about it ending before it’s even gotten started. It usually takes me until the very end of vacation to get into the swing of relaxing. I’m so grateful that the physical pain in my back and hip is gone. Tomorrow I’m going celebrate feeling good and being free.

Today I had a wonderful hour and a half of massage and bodywork that my sister treated me to for my birthday and then I took an hour long walk along College Avenue in the Rockridge District of Oakland/Berkeley and had a latte at Peaberry’s Coffee (above) where I listened to the guy in the foreground rant for 20 minutes to a very patient woman about how he brought dessert and cheese to a dinner party where the hosts didn’t put his dessert out and stole the cheese for themselves and never said thank you. Then I drove over to Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley and exchanged a couple CDs at Amoeba Records. I really like one I brought home today: Rodrigo Y Gabriela–sort of flamenco/rock guitars from Mexico–wonderful!


Ink in moleskine: at Berkeley’s Skateboard Park
Click here to enlarge

Yesterday I rode my bike to REI looking for a Klean Kanteen which is a lightweight stainless steel water bottle to avoid polluting the world with jillions of plastic water bottles and my body with the chemicals in plastic that are now found to be absorbed into the water and the body. They were all out. Riding home I discovered the Berkeley Skate Park (above)– like a whole bunch of concrete ski-slopes, jumps, rails, curbs and swimming pools where skaters try out their tricks (video) without endangering anyone but themselves.

Afterwards I did some figure drawing using a brushpen, adding gouache later to some of the sketches. Here’s a couple of them.


Brush pen in Aquabee sketchbook


Brushpen and goauche on hot press Arches paper

I’m also a little frustrated because I’ve finished all of my work in progress and it’s time to start some new work but I can’t seem to settle on what I want to do next. After a couple days of trying to make myself settle down and get to work in the studio I’ve realized what I really want is to just be outdoors, drawing and painting what I see, rather than working in the studio. So that’s what I’m going to do because it’s my birthday vacation and I get to do whatever I darn please, so there!