Monday, March 27, 2017

Eyes, Nose, Mouth Exercise


  • To demonstrate understanding of the structure for each feature: eyes, nose, & mouth;
  • To practice using black & white charcoal to render a drawing, using brown paper as the middle value
I think that one of the things that are working well for me is the drawing of lips. I also think that highlighting a drawing is working well for me. I realised how hard it is to not go overboard with the highlighting, and have figured out the the best, most realistic drawings are the ones with the simplest amounts of hightlight. One more thing that I think is working well for me is making sure that my drawings of lips, noses, and eyes don't look too much like cartoons and are more realistic. I think that something that needs extra attention is drawing noses. I realised once I finished my nose that it didn't come out the way I had hoped. I got feedback from my art teacher that "the simpler the better." I learned that drawing noses are normally easier when you have a face to draw them on. One more thing that I think I need to pay extra attention on is making my eye drawings look realistic. My eye drawing came out more cartoony than I anticipated, but I know that I can improve this in my final drawing of my face. I also want to make sure I pay close attention to small details like if the ends of my lips face down, or if my eyes have a more oval end to them or a more circular end to them. After going through everything that I need to work on, I feel prepared for my final, the realistic self-portrait.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Intro to Portraiture

  • To become familiar with past and contemporary portrait artists
  • To use critical thinking skills to analyze artwork
  • To understand how and why artists create portraits
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Old Man with a Black Hat and Gorget, 1631, Rembrandt van Rijn  

Rembrandt van Rijn was born and raised in Leiden. He left the University of Leiden to pursue his passion for art. While at the University, he studied art with the scholar Jacob van Swanenburch.  Rembrandt van Rijn then went to Amsterdam and studied art with Pieter Lastman, who was known for historical paintings. At around age 22, he took in his first students. He married in 1634, to a woman whose father was a very successful art dealer. This allowed his art career to grow immensely. The paintings of his that were most in demand were mythological and religious works. Rembrandt van Rijn created most of his work in a town house in Amsterdam. He bought this house in 1639 at the age of 33. Publically, Rembrandt van Rijn was a very successful man, but his family life was another story. Unfortunately all of his three kids and wife died before him. Rembrandt was also very successful as an art teacher and an art dealer, but he liked to spend money which lead him to bankruptcy. His town house became financial burden so he had to move. 

I believe that the mood of "Old Man with a Black Hat and Gorget" is a very dark and serious. Some visual clues that help explain the mood of the painting is the colors used, the facial expression of the man, the lighting of the painting, and the clothing the man is wearing. Looking at this painting, I see colors that are very dark, brooding, and depressing. Rembrandt van Rijn uses a lot of black and dark blues to convey this mood to the viewer. The facial expression of the man depicted in very stern and serious. He looks like he is important and he knows it. Looking at him, I would most certainly not want to mess with him. The lighting in this painting is another indicator of the overall mood of the painting. The only light color used is the color of the man's face and the highlight around the man's figure. The rest of the painting is very dark. Lastly the clothing that the man is wearing has many layers and is black, which tells me that it was most likely a cold dreary day. 

Robert Shetterly, “Americans Who Tell the Truth”

In 1946, Robert Shetterly was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was a graduate from Harvard College in 1969 with a degree in English Literature. During his time at Harvard, he took some drawing classes which completely changed the direction of his life in a creative way. When he finished college, he moved to Maine in 1970 where he taught himself drawing, printmaking and painting. He worked for The Maine Times newspaper for 12 years on the editorial page drawings. He illustrated around 30 books. You can find Robert Shetterly's paintings all over Europe and the U.S. He normally gravitates toward painting narrative and surreal, but for more than ten years he has been working on Americans Who Tell the Truth which is a series of portraits. These portraits have been exhibited around the country since 2003. Robert Shetterly has been the President of Union of Maine Visual Artists since 1990 and is a producer at UMVA's Maine Masters Project.

I believe that the mood of "Americans Who Tell the Truth" is a calm. Some visual clues that help explain the mood of the painting are the colors used, the facial expression of the woman, the lighting of the painting, and the clothing the women is wearing. Looking at this painting, I see colors that are happy, neutral and bright. Robert Shetterly uses a lot of a turquoise blue and a deeper yellow color to convey this mood to the viewer. The facial expression of the woman depicted is very calm and she looks happy. She looks like she is at ease. The lighting in this painting is another indicator of the overall mood of the painting. The painting uses a lot of calm colors, such as the turquoise and deep yellow, which are not dark colors, but are also not that bright. This also makes the viewer feel more calm when looking at the painting. The clothing that the woman is wearing is a deep yellow sweater with a light pink undershirt. This gives me the impression that the women is in a calm state due to her wearing neutral, calm colors. 

Linda Nochlin and Daisy, 1973, Alice Neel 

Alice Neel was born on January 28, in Merion Square, Pennsylvania. Alice Neel is an American visual artist. She came from a family of six children. At the age of three months old, her family moved to Colwyn, Pennsylvania. In 1918, she graduated from Darby High School. Soon thereafter, Alice Neel started working at Yale University for an art historian. At Philadelphia School of Design for Women, Alice enrolled in a fine arts program. She graduated with many awards in 1925. In Havana, Alice created many illustrations. After she died in 1984, she has become well known for her oil paintings which normally depicted friends and family and some lovers, poets, artists and even strangers.

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Madame X, 1884, John Singer Sargent

In Florence, Italy, John Singer Sargent was born in 1856. In Italy and France, Sargent studied painting. One of his creations named "Madame X" as shown above, created a lot of chaos among the people of France. This lead Sargent to move to England to escape until the chaos calmed down. After living in England for a while,  he became the country's leading portrait painter. His early work consisted of mostly full-length portrayals of women. John Singer Sargent was thought of as the "leading portrait painter of his generation" due to his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Still Life Drawing

  • To create a still-life drawing that demonstrates understanding of drawing in perspective, along with using a variety of mark-making techniques to describe form;
  • To understand value by creating a good range of values to help make the objects appear 3D;
  • To demonstrate quality craftsmanship and good composition skills in a drawing.
Some challenges I faced as I began and worked through drawing the still-life was spacing between the cylinders and milk cartons, the size of milk cartons compared to the cylinder shapes, working with light and dark shadows, and lastly, making sure I didn’t create any smudges. When started to draw the still life before I transferred, I realized that the spacing was off between two of my shapes and the size of the shapes didn’t look correct. I decided to use the sighting method. I found it much easier to make shapes proportional to one another in both size and placement with this method. After transferring my drawing to black paper, one thing that I found challenging was making it not look like the shapes were traced but instead formed by highlights and shadows. I worked really hard to try to create this illusion even though it took a lot of time and was hard. The last thing that I found challenging was making sure I did not create any smudges with my hand when I worked on shapes that were in the middle of the page. This I found hard but I think I was successful in creating only minor smudges. 

The things that I found most successful about my still life drawing would be the size of the shapes, the spacing between the shapes, and evidence of good compositional skills. When drawing I knew I needed to use positive and negative space appropriately so I payed attention to detail. I was able to create a good range of values to help make the objects appear 3D and more realistic. I believe I was able to create an accurate perspective and placement of the shapes. Drawing this still life allowed me to work on curved and diagonal lines and I think I did a good job. The thing that I am most proud after doing this assignment is my usage of the sighting method. At first, I thought the sighting method would be a waste of time but it actually helped my drawing look a lot more accurate and realistic. I am most definitely going to use this method again next time I draw still life. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Art Movement, Realism

The movement of Realism was the beginning of the modern art movement. The movement of Realism reimagined the concept of painting. It all started around the 1840s in France, about the time of the Revolution of 1848. It broadened the ideas of what confined art itself. Realism is thought of as the "beginnings of modern art" because the subject of the art work was modern world subjects, largely everyday life subjects. Realism was a turing point in history. It was a time of finding truth and a time of the turning of the tables on values and beliefs. Realism was a reflection of life during the time period. Realism was also about rejecting the foreign, exaggerated subjects of the Roman movement.

Le Dejeuner sur I'Herbe, (1863), Édouard Manet 

"Edouard Manet Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works." The Art Story. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2017. (

My Father in the Subway III (34th Street), 1984, Max Ferguson

"Max Ferguson | My Father in the Subway III (34th Street) (1984) | Available for Sale | Artsy." Artsy - Discover, Research, and Collect the World's Best Art Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2017. (

An artist's work that I admire is Max Ferguson's painting titled "My Father in the Subway III".  I think that this painting is very similar to the painting above, "Le Dejeuner sur I'Herbe" for many reasons. One similarity is the color sequence. Both artists use duller and darker colors, with a combination of white. Both paintings are images of simple, everyday scenes; a beautiful moment that only lasts a second. I like how in "My Father in the Subway III" there is only one focal subject which is the older man dressed in all black, while in "Le Dejeuner sur I'Herbe" there are four focal subjects which forms one central focal point. I prefer "My Father in the Subway III" because I like how it only has one simple focal point and I like how simple the background is. In "Le Dejeuner sur I'Herbe" the background is a lot busier and darker which I think looks really beautiful but I prefer a more simple background like the one in "My Father in the Subway III".

Monday, January 30, 2017


Three interesting aspects of the Mandala that I learned are that Mandala represents wholeness, that Mandala shows and represents the world beyond and within us all, and that Mandala shows up in all parts of our life. Before this reading, I didn’t know anything about Mandala. I found it really cool how the word Mandala has so much meaning. The word itself is really calming and I loved how everything that is contributed to the word is positive. I think that it is wonderful that Mandala is not only something that is seen with eyes, but is also moment in time. Without the individual, Mandala would not exist. The concept of Mandala is so complex and hard to wrap your head around. But at the same time, the concept of Mandala really makes you think. I think that it is interesting that everyone contributes to Mandala. It’s such a complex concept wrapped up into one word.

Goals for the Semester

My goals for the semester consist of becoming better at drawing faces (including my own), becoming better at drawing human forms, and becoming better at painting realistic scenery. I really want to be able to draw a human face and have it look exactly like the person I am drawing. I’ve always wanted to improve on drawing human forms. I think that taking this class is going to help me reach that goal. I love taking pictures and traveling so it would be really cool if I was able to paint a painting that looked realistic of some place I’ve been to. I am hoping that I improve my painting skills to the point to which I will be able to paint a painting and make it look like a photograph. I really want to refine my drawing and painting skills. I think that you can always improve your drawing and painting skills with practice so this class will definitely help me get a move on with that goal.

I think that art teachers are full of strategies and techniques that help art students to produce their best work. If I ever feel like I need help with something, I know that it often helps to ask art teacher for some feedback, both negative and positive. It is important to get the opinions of peers because everyone sees things differently. A peer of yours might see something that you didn’t catch. I think that asking for feedback is really important when creating art. Art teachers have been to art school, so if you have any questions about art that you don’t understand, you know that you can look to an art teacher for help.