Bringing it all together – lighthouse edition.

In class last week someone requested a seascape scene with rocks. After browsing through my references I thought I’d throw in a lighthouse too as I can almost never resist a lighthouse painting.

This actually brought a lot of the things we’ve been practicing in exercises together. We have the value changes on the lighthouse (white cubes), edges and painting in layers on the rocks and skies. The only new thing is the water which we touched on in one lesson but only briefly.

If this hadn’t been for a lesson I would have pushed it a lot further. Especially the water which needs some more detail to better suggest the white foam and more depths in the blues. But I need this for tomorrow and didn’t want to trash the whole thing so here it is.

Some intermediates :

The drawing. Quite sparse here and only marking out the big shapes.

I was going to start with the sky and work down but the rocks were worrying me so I tackled these first. This wash is meant to hit the lightest values in the rocks and, as most of it will be covered up later it can be quite rough and ready with some slight color and value changes.

A darker color goes in in broad, squarish shapes to suggest the shadow side of the rocks and give them form. Some edges are left hard and others are blended out to reflect the hard and smooth sides of the rocks. The grassy area and the foreground are left with less value changes to keep the focus on the lighthouse and the rocks next to it.

The sky goes in with neat cerulean. I’m careful here to use the blue to define the edges of the lighthouse so it stands out against the sky. It doesn’t need to be too dark here – slight value changes are more effective in suggesting sunlight.

The water was a bit of a gamble. I really could have gone further here – after class tomorrow I may go back and add more detail.

The final stage was to add in the darks on the top of the lighthouse and smooth out some edges in the shadows so things don’t look too pasted on. I also darkened up the shadow side of the lighthouse a little and greyed it off compared to the sky.

There’s still stuff that’s annoying me but this will have to do for today.

Life Class Drawing

Figure Drawing. Michele Clamp

Life class yesterday with Andrew Cefalu.  Always a good time even though I find it exhausting.  We also had home made cookies which I shall remember to stay a long distance from next time.

I took the watercolors along but didn’t use them in the end.  I didn’t really get into the flow and everything was a little stodgy.  Adding watercolor to the mix would have ended in tears and nobody wants that.

We started with some 2 minute gestures.


I felt pretty good at this stage. The pencil was moving well and my arm felt free. Also our model was superb and did some wonderfully interesting poses.

Next onto 10 minute sketches.

These were ok apart from two disastrous attempts at the foreshortened pose.

And finally a set of 15 minute poses :

Looking back at these this morning they don’t seem too bad but I had come away disatisified at the end of the session. Too much focus on the face in most cases and some frankly embarrassing feet were in evidence. I will definitely be back in two weeks hopefully with some serious hand and foot practice under my belt.

Thursday Life Class.

Doug Kornfeld was keen to tell us that tonight we were going to have Dan as a model.   It turns out that the classes get assigned models without any input from the teacher and it’s as much of a surprise to Doug as it is to us.
But tonight it was Dan and he was a pleasure to draw.  very expressive hand and head gestures.   
Drawings are a few 10 minuters, some 5s and a couple of 1 minute ones at the end.

Half way through we had our lesson – this week it was Otto Dix and we were encouraged to exaggerate proportions and features.   Most of us have no problem doing this inadvertently and it felt odd to do this intentionally.

Life Class

I was a bit late out of the gate but I finally signed up for a life class at the

.   No 5:30 classes this time so I trekked out for the 7:45 one.  

Most enjoyable although tiring.  Standing up for two hours at the end of the day is not my idea of a good time but it’s worthwhile in the end.
The longest we did was 10 minutes – these are 2 of them.

Last Art Class – Disasters

Sadly my last art class with Heidi Hogden.  She’s not coming back next term which is a shame as she was extremely good.

Didn’t go out on a high – I rushed into this without planning and it shows.   The drawing ended up in the wrong place – too high and central.  I was left with these huge roofs and trees in the foreground that I didn’t know what to do with.   I like the sky and parts of the tower but this was a frustrating session.

Art class – lighthouse

This is from a photo of Owl’s head lighthouse.  I’m not sure why I’m picking lighthouses recently but I did a similar John Lovett exercise recently and it wasn’t a great success.
I’m pretty happy with this.  The sky is good – a little blossomy but still good.  The rocks are ok – I may lose some of the warmth in the nearest ones.
The colorscheme is a little bright but I’m ok with that and was actually aiming for this.  Maybe I’ll do another one and aim for a little subtlety.

Art Class – Graded Washes

Ok well there isn’t actually much of a graded wash here but if you could see the other side of this there would be.  This is from a picture of Lake Como shamelessly stolen from John Lovett’s blog.   I liked the muted tones in the sky (unfortunately not shown in this terrible photo) contrasting with the darks of the trees.  Although I struggled with this I think I’m pretty happy.

Art Class – Scraping and Salt


Heidi was showing us how to create texture effects using salt and scraping pigment with the wrong end of a brush or stick.  I didn’t have anything suitable to hand so here we have some cardinals and a lighthouse.  Both are ‘challenge’ pictures – the cardinals are for the facebook page ‘Paint Colorful Birds for Fun’  and the lighthouse is for the monthly challenge.


This came out rather blander than I expected although I was pretty happy with the rocks.