Sunday, August 29, 2010


My oh my! Here we are at the final week already. It has been a strange and crazy week. Fire in Ashland, and then a few days later, fire right behind our apartment complex! Thankfully the fire department, who are amazing and wonderful by the way, got the fire out before it caused any damage. I must admit I was making evacuation plans in my head as I was running back to the apartment with Twill after hearing and seeing the fire break out.
This time next week we will be home on the north coast of Oregon. The school is looking empty these days as they have been packing up around us. We have had the occasional goodbyes to say before the final one on Thursday. Tuesday is our last working day. As it is, last Friday was the final day of working on cast drawing and, in my case, painting too. The casts are all packed up so Tuesday will be an all model drawing day. I don't mind that as I really do enjoy model drawing.
So, I have the final cast drawings to share. I will put a picture of the actual cast up first and then the painting or drawing. The pictures aren't always from the same viewpoint as I did the painting/drawing from so there will be differences. Friday morning I worked on cast painting and here are the results:
It is challenging to take a good photo of the painting as the flash from the camera is too glaring to use and even the natural light produces a glare. So, I felt I could have used more time on this one. Mainly to get the tones right and balanced. The teacher thought, and I agree (of course!), that there needed to be more contrast in tone between the upper head and the face.
That said, I am new to painting and am still wrestling a bit with the medium itself. Charcoal was like that in the beginning for me too. I am sure it will get easier as I get more practice in.
Here is the final cast drawing:
I am pretty happy with this one. I still have a lot to learn and, practice with pencil has fallen off since the introduction of charcoal and paint. I need to work on my pencil techniques a bit. The teacher did a few tiny refinements (that make a big difference) to show me the next step. Lovely. I am looking forward to getting a few casts of my own. It will take a while to acquire a collection as they are a bit pricey.
So, what next?
When I started this journey I had anticipated spending at least four years as a formal art student. At the moment, I will be setting up a studio space of my own to continue my studies. My husband and I need a bit of time to regroup from so many huge life changes compressed into so little time. I think the only major life change we haven't had is divorce!
I hope to either find another teacher/mentor or make it over to Maui someday. Until then, the journey certainly continues, just on a different path.
I will have one final post of school work next week as we finish up. I will also be posting from our new home!


Saturday, August 21, 2010


We have been working on longer projects which is why I don't always have a lot of new things to post. However, I did bring my camera to school Friday so that I could get a few pictures of the work in progress. These will be finished at the end of school, which is coming up so very fast.
The school is looking a bit bare these days as they are busy packing up for the move. My sole remaining first year classmate told me he was done so I am now the last one standing, in my class that is. There is only a handful or so of us students left. I am busy cramming as much knowledge and guided practice in as I can. I must admit, part of me is very restless to get going but, because the school and teacher is excellent, I stay.
Here is the cast I am painting. It is a grisaille of an anatomical cast. Not a pretty cast but educational.
Still have a ways to go and time is running out.
Next are a couple of pictures of a cast drawing that I started at the beginning of the term. We have one more Friday to work on it. This is the first one I have taken to this stage of completion. The teacher did a few slight demos for me on it. Mainly he showed how to define certain lines on the drawing to make it look more three dimensional. The marks are so tiny yet they make a nice difference.
There are still hair details to add and a bit more tweaking of the tone and shade.
Thinking about where we started at the beginning of the year, I must admit, I had no idea that I would get this far. However, there is still so much more to learn.
Two more weeks! Tomorrow we are all getting together for a final social gathering. We actually have one full week next week and a final full class on the following Tuesday. Thursday, the final day will be a critique and lecture. As most of my things are up north, I won't have much to critique.
We are working on a model drawing too. I will have that finished the final week.
Next post will be a bit bare but I will have the final version of the cast drawing to show.
Until then,

Monday, August 16, 2010


Three weeks to go, oh my! We are back from our final round trip to the coast. Next time we head up there for good. We went up there to clean, unpack, cool down, and get to know the town and it's people a bit. Our dog Twill got to march in the Muttzanita (Manzanita being the name of the town) parade to the beach. Here she is looking a bit puzzled as to why 50 some odd dogs and their people are walking en masse down the middle of the main street of town to the beach:
I decorated her leash with flowers from the yard and stuck them on with my handy blue tape. Best we could do under the circumstances. The dog she is turning to look at had a whole wreath around her neck but we suspect they were fake...
As promised, here is the completed picture of the grisaille:
If this was meant to be a finished painting instead of a study, there would still be a lot more to do. The purpose of this particular study is to get the shapes and proportions correct. I more or less achieved that but, as always, there is room for improvement which will come with practice, practice, and more practice.
Sure enough, with all of the distractions of our weekend, I forgot to take a picture of the last model drawing. Rats! Well, it will just have to wait until I move three weeks from now. We are currently working on another cast and model. They are coming along. I am still enjoying the model drawing tremendously. In fact, I am growing to like it more and more. I must admit I am surprised at that. I really didn't expect to relate to model drawing any more than say still life or cast drawing. I knew each would be different but, hmmm, it is hard to explain. I will just say that drawing the beautiful human form from life has an energy and challenge that I can't seem to get enough of.
There is one form of painting I want to do that I have yet to try and that is plein aire. With all the beauty of the coast awaiting me and my love of the outdoors, I don't think I will be able to resist. So much to look forward to! I will leave this post with two more pictures from this weekend. Both taken as the sun was going down.

This is where we will the sea.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The End is Near

It has been a while I know. We have been so very busy transitioning to the coast and I am still in school for another month. Last weekend we made the big move and moved just about all of our household goods up to the North Coast of Oregon. We are presently camping out in a little apartment in Talent, Oregon just a few miles up the road from Ashland. This time next month I will be blogging from Manzanita. Hooray!
The move has been quite tiring. We go up again next weekend to do a bit more unpacking and escape from the heat. Our poor dog Twill is a bit bewildered with all this moving around but we still go see her friends at the dog park.
School has been amazing. If it was anything less than excellent, we would have been long gone. As I mentioned before, me and the only other student in my first year class are painting casts in grizialle. Here is a picture on the last one in progress.

It is finished, that is, we are through working on it and I have to bring the final result from school to photograph it. I also have a completed model drawing to share but I just realized that it is at the other end of the state at the moment. I will try to remember to photograph it on our next trip.
The best part of school for me is that as soon as we shifted to painting and the techniques required to paint in this manner a door opened. Suddenly I can see what I need to see much better and my drawing and painting accuracy has improved by leaps and bounds. The shift from line to shapes/mass was profound for me. That is very exciting!
So we are in the final month of school now. The atmosphere is still intense but there is also a sense of reaching out to the future and letting go of the past. We are all getting ready to go in different directions, some to continue on to Maui, some to go elsewhere, and some to stay here a while.
I have a saying posted above my desk, well, I had a saying. It stated, "Let go of the Ledge"
I must admit that seems quite appropriate at the moment. When I arrived here, I was confident that I would be spending four years here studying to be an artist. Now I am moving in a slight tangent and I am not as sure of where I will be three years from now. I know that I will continue my studies and have set up the time and space to do just that. I just am not as sure as to where they will lead (are we ever really sure?)! So, I guess I will just have to "Let go to the Ledge" and see where I land.
I will have more to post as school winds down. At the moment I will leave you all with a picture of our new hometown area. This is what I see when I walk four blocks west from our new house!
Stay cool!
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