Friday, December 18, 2009

Woman in Blue and Orange

Or, like Whistler, "Composition in Blue and Orange." Or maybe "Grunpy Woman with Oranges." This was a three hour pose with the Toronto Watercolour Society (although I tend to finish in one and half to two hours) .

Whatever the title I am quite happy with the way this one turned out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wednesday Night Figure

Another painting from my Wednesday night group. A twenty minute pose of a large model from behind.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Male Nude

A painting from life last Tuesday. Not a particularly good likeness, but I am satisfied with the result.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Growing Body Syndrome

This is another Tuesday evening portrait.

She is suffering from what one drawing book referred to as "growing body syndrome." We (or I) usually start with the head and in this syndrome the rest of the body gets bigger and bigger as we come down the page. A slight exaggeration can give a weight to the bottom of the composition as well as a monumental feeling. I also like to take a slightly lower viewpoint, sitting in a chair with the model on a model stand; this gives the resulting portrait a nice feeling of importance.

We are so interested in other people and spend so much time looking at them that even a mistake of half an inch or a quarter of an inch can create a proportion problem that is readily visible to a viewer. If they can see it and we can see it (when we are finished) why do we miss it when we draw it?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Night Drawing

This is from last Wednesday night at my drawing group. A twenty minute painting of the model from behind. I am fairly happy with this one.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday Night Portrait

Here is the latest portrait from the Tuesday night group at my art club in Toronto; the Don Valley Art Club. Still from last week so I am still behind. I think I have captured something in this portrait. The sitter was an older man, another member of the club and I think that is a feeling of nostalgia in this painting. I decided even before I was finished to call it "Looking Back."

In a previous post I talked (in reference to another artist in the group) of his ability to take a sitter who is perhaps in a "neutral" pose and in their portrait conveying a sense of character or personality which they bring to or "impose" upon the sitter. Sometimes, as in this case, it "just happens." Is this unconscious or accidental? Do better artists than I do it intentionally? I am sure they do and I am hoping that with practice and experience I can get to that point.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday Portraits

At the art club that I am involved in Toronto we do a couple of informal portrait sessions a month in which club members sit for the other members for short (25 minute) pose. This painting was from the most recent one that I attended. It is one of three that I did that day and I consider it quite successful. Unfortunately I did it on an old piece of watercolour paper and the sizing had deteriorated or been damaged so that it didn't take the paint properly. Ah well!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tuesday Night Portrait

This is from last Tuesday's drawing session (I have gotten a bit behind lately!) Generally a successful portrait painting. Every once in a while there is a quality about the finished painting that really captures the quality of light on a subject. It is watercolour's most attractive quality even though (for me) it doesn't happen very often.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

October Afternoon

I am very happy with this painting. I think that it has a good composition and quite strong colours. What is interesting is that it is based on a photograph which I took in an area north of Toronto which is slated to become a new airport for the city. This is a mixed use area in which farmland was gradually being turned into suburbia. Because this land was taken over to build an airport and then the process stalled it is full of abandoned suburban homes as well as farms that have either been abandoned or worked by absentee or inhabited until a final decision is made.

I have used these photos before, but since this one was painted to be a different season from that in which the photo was taken, I used it as reference rather than trying to copy it and as a result it seems to be more successful.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

This is the latest portrait painting from my Tuesday night figure and portrait group. As you can see, the proportions are off. The body is too small for the head. The model was thin with a slight build and I may have been too concerned with that. This kind of problem is quite common when painting from life within a limited time and often hard to detect until "finished." As far as I am concerned this is a learning process; an attempt to get more skilled in capturing the likeness, attitude, character, etc. If I get a good one I am happy, but a bad one doesn't bother me much. They can all be frustrating and difficult, both good and bad!

My solution here is "creative cropping" which I look at as a last resort because it is kind of composing the picture at the end, rather than at the beginning.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wednesday Night Portrait

I also belong to another figure drawing group that meets on Wednesday night. This painting was from last week. This group is different in that the poses are shorter. We start with a series of 1 or 2 minute poses and work up to longer ones, generally not longer than 20 minutes. I will draw the shorter poses in pencil and then switch to watercolour for the longer ones, although I have been trying to work on my drawing more lately.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tuesday Night Portrait

You win some, you lose some!

This is from last week's session; I've done better.

It is interesting that some look good at the time you are doing them and some don't and then when you look back at them, it is often the reverse.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


This is another portrait painted at my regular Tuesday evening session.

As I was just starting out to draw the figure I noticed how the line of the shirt front (where it buttons) makes a nice subtle curve which starts at the top of the head and follows down the neck and down the shirt.

This forms a good gesture line for the portrait.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Here is my latest painting from a regular Tuesday night figure group.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back Again!

This time I hope on a more regular basis.

This image is a painting that I submitted for the Toronto Watercolour Society Spring Show in 2009. It won an Honorable Mention in that show as well as being the third runner up in the Viewer's Choice Award.

It is, as I like to paint, a portrait in watercolour. The face takes up almost the full space of the paper (a half-sheet - 15 inches by 22 inches). I like to compose a painting in this way, so that the face takes up all the space, forcing you to notice our confront the subject.