Monday, September 29, 2008

This was what I did in expressive painting class today. I am not very happy with this one. I struggled with everything about it today. There are a couple of things I was happy about, but over this painting did not work.

Today, the feedback from the instructor was that i need ot work on temperature and value on the shadow side. This is a common problem I have. I did some things to fix it, but really I just need to try to work on it the next time.

So I took charcoal in to the workshop today and drew.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another link to article

Here are a couple another links to articles about the mural.

From artdaily. Basically the same as the other link.

from SFGate. Moslty about the opening of the Porziuncola, but does breifly mention the mural and us students.

All very cool!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Mural at National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi

Here is a link to an article about the mural I worked on. Its very exciting stuff.

This project was a lot of fun and I am so happy to have been a part of it. This was truly a rare opportunity for an artist. I felt like I was an artist in the days of the renaissance. (There was a point I was laying on my back painting on the arch at the top of the ceiling) This was also a great learning experience. I learned so much about the process of making a mural, the amount of work required to do it well, the planning and such. I also got a glimpse at what goes into such a large project in general. What they did here seems very complex. I was very impressed by what I saw there. Every time I went to work on the mural I saw something new. Overall I think I got much more out of it than I put into it.

I want to mention something about my role in this project, just to clarify. I came on to the project midway through the process. As the article says I answered the plea for help. Our director had asked me to join because they needed some extra help to make sure everything went smoothly as they approached the deadline.The mural was over half way complete when I came in, so I did not participate in the designing. That credit belongs solely to the others on the team. I think they did a great job of it too. I really do, I saw it when everything was completed and it looks great! I don't want to take anything away from their accomplishment by claiming design credit for myself. They put a lot of hours into it and they deserve the recognition for their work.

What I did was painted parts of the mural based on their instruction and templates. I also did a lot of template tracing. They were always apologizing for that, as it was the unglamorous side of making art. I enjoyed doing it, and there really isn't a lot of things glamourous in the process of painting a mural, its hard work. Still, I really enjoyed working on the project and I would do it again.

One thing about the article I think needs some clarification, The students worked on this project as volunteers, not part of any curriculm or class.

This was a great experience, I am so happy to been part of it. My only wish is that I had been part of it earlier. The people I worked with were great. The mural I worked on is beautiful. The porject it is a part of is one of a kind. All in all, a very good moment in my life.


In class and Homework

In Figure Studio, the back was the topic of the day. As drawings of the back go this one is better then what I have attempted to do before. I am usually pretty lost when it comes to drawing the back, but today it made more sense following what I learned in class that day.
Like my other life drawings in this class, this one is unfinished. Still, I am learning to draw and that is really what counts.
This next one is the homework assignment for figure studio. As you can tell, its another master copy. I had a week to work on it, so I had to make some decisions of what to do. The process of doing these copies is a slow one, and in one week I would be pressed to copy the whole painting. (The amount of time it takes to do one of these it makes me appreciate the time and energies that went into the originals.)Because of the time constraint, I decided to focus on getting the figure accurate. I didn't worry about the background, nor was I worried about matching the value exactly. I wanted to get the figure drawn accurately and the value to relate well. Those were my goals.
The original is called La Source by Jean Auguste Ingres. To see an image of this painting or for more on him go to
Both drawings shown today are 18 x 24 inches and in charcoal.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This is the study I did in the workshop today. While working on it, I was telling someone I thought my lights were to light. She disagreed, she thought I was keep everything way too dark. She said I needed to put my lightest light in to get my relationships right. So I did and after dropping in the light I could see that everything was way too dark. She was right.
Its very cool that such a simple task helps out so much. I spent the rest of the time reworking the lights, it looks much better than it did.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Painting and a study

This is the painting I did in class today. The assignment today was to do a high key painting. As you can see, I didn't do a high key painting. It is somewhat of a low key painting. I was struggling too much with other aspects of the painting today.

I was fighting my normal fight with the paint today. From this painting I have decided to tone my canvas a little lighter, not worry so much about transparencies in the shadows so I can aim to get the relationships withing the painting right.

I didn't finish this one. I like it enough that I may come back to it and work on it some more when I have some time.

Here is the study I did in the workshop today. I go to the workshop because there is a live model to paint. Today, I did a small portrait study. At first I didn't like the idea of his hand touching his face, but as I began to paint I thought it would be good to do. I really didn't want to spend time painting a hand. I think it made for a better study and forced me to work on hands, something I don't do enough of.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Very Happy with What I Have Learned

Today was the first time in my figure drawing class that I was able to get more than the construction lines down (I draw very slowly) I was very pleased that I got that far. Still, its not a finished drawing as I just started to work on value the last half hour of class.

What I am really pleased with is how it turned out. I really felt like I was spending my money wisely at the academy today. I have seen a very dramatic change in my drawings. I am learning and finally seeing the results I have been trying to achieve in my drawing. Hopefully I will be able to do this in my painting this semester as well. A very exciting day to say the least!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Expressive Painting

I did two paintings yesterday. The first painting shown is the one I did in my expressive painting class. As we are still doing warm up paintings before we begin any assigned projects I am allowed to experiment and play with the painting.

Many of the students in this class are abstract painters and it reminded me of when I was an undergrad, painting abstract compositions. Though for a long time I haven't had the interest to do that type of work, I have been reminded of how much I used to enjoy doing them. Because of this I want to try my hand at it again. I have decided to do an abstract painting in this class. It has been a while and my process of thinking about and making paintings has changed dramatically over the last couple of years, so I think it will be difficult. The class is a figurative class of sorts, but I am aiming to create a non figurative, completely abstract composition based off of the figure.

This was my first attempt, and as you can see there still is a figure. As I painted, I had a difficult time breaking away from the figure. In the back of my mind I kept saying to myself, "model the form! model the form!" I was stuck in a very technical mindset, that I could escape. So, there it is. I will have to do some work to accomplish that abstract painting.

The second painting is a study I did in the workshop right after class. For this study I thought I would tighten it up a little. The area I focused on was controlling my color while keeping my values right. I do try to keep everything in mind; proportion, value, anatomy, etc, but in a three hour study I can only do so much. So I set up little goals or areas of focus. Certain things worked, but as you can see I totally ruined the head. This stems from a drawing issue. I had made it too narrow and in my attempt to fix it I muddied the whole thing up.


Friday, September 12, 2008


This drawing is a copy of a Rubens painting done in charcoal for my figure studio class. The assignment was to find a painting of one of the past masters and copy it. We had a week to do it. This being the first assignment for the class we were told to have fun with it, as we haven't been introduced to concepts or principles. I took this to mean do the best you can with it. That is what I aimed to do. I have done these before as I have taken a class by this instructor already, so I felt I should just continue with what I had learned last class.

We only had a week to work on this, rather than the three to four weeks I have had on the past drawings. Because of this, I had to plan out what I wanted to get done for this copy as I work extremely slow when doing this kind of stuff. I decided to focus mainly on the figure, you will notice I have put the elements of the environment in the drawing but they are not fully rendered. Except for what she is leaning on, I felt that was necessary to render to some detail. Other than that, I tried to only hint at an environment.

I also decided that since we were to have fun with the project to do a couple of things that would not exactly be copying the original but staying true to it. I did this because I wanted to translate the drawing into something I would be able to do that kept a certain level of beauty. From past experience, I noticed that trying to slavishly copy, stoke for stroke, will get me a likeness but it doesn't necessarily give me a good drawing.

With that in mind I decided to first lower the overall value of the drawing. I did this because I am working from a reproduction and I have learned that reproductions are generally wrong about correct value and color, a problem with technology. I felt that trying to directly copy the values as they were I would have created a drawing with a light side and a dark side, with no middle tones. It would have looked weird. With one exception, I matched the value relationships as best I could.

That exception was a decision to emphasize the light as it hit the form to give the viewer a sense of a directional light source. In my reproduction I had a hard time seeing the differences in value on the form. Looking at image online I could see it and I figure that Rubens was so subtle in his transitions they get lost went printed on a personal printer. Anyway, I didn't have that in front of me so I determined were the light was coming from and worked the form as if that was how it should be.

Overall I am pleased with the result, though there are some mistakes I wished I had avoided. The legs are in the wrong place. I had originally drawn them too low and halfway finished with the drawing it was pointed out to me of my mistake. I tried to fix it as best I could but I still see the error. Also the drawing is fairly stiff, especially the face. Still, I am learning so I feel successful.

The drawing is 18 x 24 inches, charcoal on paper after Peter Paul Rubens' painting Leda and the Swan.

To see the original painting:

For more information on Rubens:


Monday, September 8, 2008

Expressive painting and Figure Studio

This is from expressive painting class today. It was the first day of class and this was basically an exercise to get warmed up.