So the day finally arrived. Boris was loaded up and at 8am off we went to Falmouth Art Center
I was almost the first there – we wondered whether we’d have to paint the ladder but it was only there to adjust the lighting. The Center is impressive – large and airy and obviously quite new or at least newly renovated.
After coffee and complimentary bagels Judy and Charles arrived. Judy is obviously the organizer and keeps everyone informed as to what is going on. She shuffled us around a bit so we could all see while Charles settled himself in his chair in front of his easel.
Our model (Katrina – like the hurricane) sat in 15-20 minute chunks while Charles drew and explained what was going on. Having read his books and watched several of his videos the information wasn’t completely new but there’s nothing like actually seeing someone draw and paint who knows how to do it.
He went surprisingly slowly – this was after the first 15 minute section with just a rough outline of the head and more detail of the nose and mouth.
This was after 30 minutes – most of the time was spent on the features with the hair and shoulders put in in a couple of minutes or so. Looking closely at the drawing there are surprisingly few lines. He strongly urges us not to ‘sketch’ with multiple feathery strokes but put down decisive lines. Even so the sparseness of the drawing was surprising.
The time went incredibly quickly. I thought only 5 minutes had gone by when the buzzer for the first 15 was up. Amazing how absorbing watching someone else draw is 🙂
Finally onto the painting. After saying that he usually doesn’t do an underwash he proceeded to do just that. I can’t remember the rationale but it doesn’t really matter. He used cadmium red, raw sienna and cerulean blue and a fairly large number 14 brush to put some warmth into the face and some color into the hair and sweater. With these washes he didn’t keep to the outline but pushed the washes into the surrounding areas.
After another break and when the wash was dry it was straight into painting the features. He said he usually starts painting at the same place he starts drawing. In this case it was the nose and mouth but in other cases it could be the eyes. He was careful to stress that there was very little water in his mixes and it was interesting to see how he got value changes.
He started by putting in the cast shadow under the nose in a dark mix of cad red, cerulean and raw sienna. He then took a slightly damp brush and pulled the paint out into the other areas of the nose and face. This enables him to get unified color but also a good range of light to dark.
He paints as he draws – extremely slowly and carefully. The nose and mouth stage above took another 20 minutes. As with the drawing he stressed that we shouldn’t follow the outline but leave gaps and soft edges to indicate form.
Finally the hair and the sweater was put in. This was done comparatively quickly and he made good use of his fingernails to scrape out the light regions.
Not bad huh?
Then it was our turn.
So that was day one. I enjoyed every minute of it.