Today I took the iPad to the Live Model Drawing at Tilt. Every pose was between 1 and 5 minutes. I was using the ArtStudio App on an iPad2.
Last night, after an absence of too long, I returned to a life drawing session. This time at the Herron School of Art Alumni Tuesday night drawing session. It meets from 7PM to 10PM and is open to Herron alumni and other artists, like me, who did not graduated or attend Herron. The session started with two minute warm-up poses, then five minute poses, on up to 22 minute poses. My eyes started to protest right after 9 (I had been drawing all day in the studio) so they may have gone on to longer poses during the last hour. Greg, the moderator, orchestrated the session in what was, to me, a unique and highly effective fashion. He had recorded the entire three hours as a podcast on a laptop. Each pose and the intervening breaks were announced with background music playing throughout. Very effective!
Since this was my first outing in far too long I’m only going to show you the last three drawings, which turned out to my satisfaction. Excellent model by the way.
I spent a week in Sandusky, OH at the International Society of Caricature Artists, the ISCA. I didn’t take many photographs but many others did. Brian Vasilik, a very talented artist did a video walk through of the “big room” where we all drew, all week, some staying up all night most of the week. It was not uncommon after about Wednesday to find people asleep at, or under their tables, taking a rest from non-stop creativity.
photo by Shay Glover
Two weeks ago Barbara and I were in Raliegh, NC for a week for the annual convention of the National Caricaturist Network, which is actually an international group of caricature artists. I’ve been trying to attend one of these gatherings for the last several years but something always got in the way. This year I planned a little better and managed to make it.
Imagine, if you will, 180+ artists from all over the world. Japan, Singapore, Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA all gathered in a Holiday Inn for a week that basically consists of drawing. Drawing each other, watching one another for style, technique and tool tips. All generously shared. There were likeness, speed, portfolio and wall competitions. Here are some of the many photos I took.
The first few folks I drew.
Shots of various other artists around the room.
Drawing and being drawn simultaneously!
My result. This was one of the Japanese artists.
After a few drawings I realized I was doing the same thing I do at bookings and this was a time for experimentation!
So I tentatively started to add in some bodies.
This was a French-Canadian artist who was very interested in my coloring technique so I drew him and stopped and showed him each step as I progressed.
This is the final configuration of my competition wall.
The drawing room, or my end of it, was either very cold or hot so layers were the best clothing choice!
On Friday night there’s a banquet where the awards are given out and afterward everyone goes around collecting all the drawings done of them by their colleagues. This is Emily Anthony, me and my drawing of her. Emily is a great artist from Lancaster, PA who was drawing with markers, digitally, airbrushing and sculpting this year!
My lovely wife came with me and hopefully had a nice weeks vacation amongst all these artists.
This week, from Sunday to Wednesday night I was in St. Louis for a min-convention hosted by the St.Louis chapter of the National Caricaturist Network. This was the first such gathering I have attended after years of trying (things kept interfering and I would have to cancel) and I was surprised at how much fun I had and how educational and inspiring it was. I had read all the glowing reports from previous cons but I had to experience it myself to really believe it. The guest of honor was Tom Richmond, one of Mad Magazine’s “Usual Gang of Idiots.” Tom was under a deadline to finish a MAD TV parody so he set up his equipment in the main function room and worked while the attendees gathered around and peppered him with questions.
Tom was a theme park caricaturist for years so working in the public is second nature to him as it is to all of us who were there.
One of the mainstays of these conventions is drawing and being drawn by as many of the other artists as possible. Many of the folks there have been attending conventions for years so any fresh face is immediately pounced upon. That would be me, this time. Every time I sat down for one artist I would look around and see that I was being drawn from every possible angle by other artists.
These shots are by me from my viewpoint as I sat for another artist.
A couple of the results;
After awhile I settled down and started drawing others;
This artist came from Israel!
The Dad of one of the St. Louis artists.
There were presentations for artists by artists. Tips and techniques on how they approach certain aspects of our business. This one was “How to Work the Crowd” but at this point Jerry Dowling, a well-known Cincinnati artist, is detailing his appraoch to dissecting a face for exaggeration.
There are competitions. This one was for party artist, the judging revolved around how entertaining the artists are when interacting with the subject, how they deal with hecklers and uncooperative subjects.
I didn’t enter that one, it was more fun to be among the subjects and inflict on them all the things I have experienced.
The walls of the function room are divided up into equal sections and the artists are encourage to put up the drawings done of the others as well as an studio work they brought along. For this min-con it was mainly drawings done while there.
Third Massey oil painting class, second week of actual painting. Here’s the result.
Next week we start painting a model.
I’m taking a class at the Indianapolis Art Center in an effort to expand my range painting styles. The instructor is Mary Kathryn Massey. She teaches a style of oil painting that emphasizes mass rather than line, paint quality as in the texture, shape and gesture of the brush stokes. Very much the opposite of the thin, canvas staining style of oil painting I’ve been using since I moved from the airbrush to the bristle brush.
Moving beyond what is comfortable and works is always a painful process but I hope to take things from the teachings of Ms. Massey and add them to what I already use effectively and make my paintings better. This is my first effort from the class.
Certainly not great but it’s not as bad as it could have been. I got distracted by the drapery behind the set up thinking that I had to capture every fold and nuance of the cloth when in actuality it was only there to provide a middle tone background to set off the tonal changes of the objects. I have a lot to unlearn.
Mary is an excellent teacher. Patient with the students yet requiring us to focus while we are in the classroom environment. Unfortunately the Art Center makes that a bit difficult in the way the studio rooms are arranged. The room we are in has a common entrance with the studio next door and no way to close off the noise and distractions from that direction. Not all the instructors are as concerned with providing quiet surroundings for their students. I’m hoping to find the time between classes to do practice still life paintings but as yet I have not been able to do that. I’m trying to build my caricature business and that takes time.
I recently returned from an advanced portrait painting workshop held in Nashville, TN conducted by Michael Shane Neal. Shane is an accomplished painter who has already completed many important portrait commissions. He paints in a style that is a direct descendant of that of John Singer Sargent. He is a student of Everett Raymond Kinstler who studied with Frank V. DuMond who knew Sargent. DuMond also taught James Montgomery Flagg and Mr. Kinstler became Mr. Flagg’s best friend in final years of that venerable artist’s life.
The Sargent style is relatively loose, a brushy style that allows an artist to be both committed to the smooth transitions of value and color within the modeling of features and the center of interest in a piece but be free to lay down expressive brushstrokes in the same painting.
I like this style, but as an artist who has spent most of his career as an airbrush illustrator, and now finds line caricatures as his main source of income, becoming a “brushy” painter is something of a challenge. Not to mention getting a likeness without falling too far into caricature. (Sargent is reported as saying there is an element of caricature in every successful portrait.)
Shane teaches two levels of workshops. I’ve taken his basic workshop the last two summers and learned a lot in both sessions. To be accepted for the advanced workshop you have to have been in one of his basic classes or submit samples so he can see you don’t require going over the basics of painting. The workshop begins on Sunday nights with a get-together session wherein Shane begins a portrait from life and with further sittings and photo reference, he will develop that portrait throughout the week during the lecture/demo portions of each day. Here are some shots of that demo painting throughout the week. Starting with a photo of the model:
That’s Michael Shane Neal, cleaning his brushes after a demo during one of the daily sessions.
Here is a photo of the model I was painting. (I was in the set up on the left of the above photo.)
And here’s the painting;