Technique Tuesday: Drawing Revelations with Dan Thompson

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Dan Thompson’s “open” charcoal portrait about 30 mins into the pose, drawn from life. Notice how there are no harsh contours, just lots of hatch marks that make up the mass of the drawing.

In August I attended yet another workshop with Dan Thompson. 2 actually, back to back. Both of them on drawing. I see Dan as a cosmic guide on my life long journey as an artist. He leaves little bread crumbs of wisdom to follow on the path to improvement. Most recently he left me with two life changing concepts. The first is the revelation of what “closed” and “open” drawings are. Closed drawings are those with specific contours. They are precise, drawn from the outside in and do not allow much room for alterations. Open drawings are the opposite. They are built from the inside out. They are more mass than contour, they are flexible. They are forgiving. I had never heard these terms before, perhaps because I did not attend a particularly traditional art school. Hearing these terms allowed me to understand my own frustrations with my drawing–most noticeably a tendency for strong contours. To think that I could simply reverse engineer my drawing technique to get at the quality I want in my work was literally mind blowing! And the last revelation I received from Dan’s workshop was to approach each effort in drawing and painting as if making a “proposal”. If you get it wrong, so what! Just alter your proposal. Brilliant right? And it totally takes the pressure off.

Technique Tuesday: Super Glue and Richard Schmid

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Still life by Richard Schmid.

On the latest podcast of Artist Mentor’s Online, artist Molly Schmid shares that her father, Richard Schmid (author of Alla Prima and Alla Prima II) often rearranges live flowers on still lifes by gluing them into place as needed to achieve the best composition. Genius, right? Well that’s why he’s Richard Schmid.

You heard it here first folks. OK, second. To get your own copy of Richard’s Alla Prima II before its completely sold out click here.

Collaborating with a 4-year Old

This blog post so inspired me that I ran out today and bought a sketch book for my son and I to “collaborate” in. Best idea ever!

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One day, while my daughter was happily distracted in her own marker drawings, I decided to risk pulling out a new sketchbook I had special ordered.  It had dark paper, and was perfect for adding highlights to.  I had only drawn a little in it, and was anxious to try it again, but knowing our daughter’s love of art supplies, it meant that if I wasn’t sly enough, I might have to share.  (Note:  I’m all about kid’s crafts, but when it comes to my own art projects, I don’t like to share.)  Since she was engrossed in her own project, I thought I might be able to pull it off.

Ahhh, I should’ve known better.  No longer had I drawn my first face (I love drawing from old black & white movie stills) had she swooped over to me with an intense look.  “OOOH!  Is that a NEW…

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At the Finish Line

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I am literally one session away from finishing my copy of Chardin’s “Still life with game” in the National Gallery of Art’s permanent collection. I basically have a little more refinement in the rabbits left and then I am calling it finished. Good thing too because I’ll be putting my copying status on hold at the NGA while I take a full day of classes with Robert Liberace starting in a couple weeks.

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