Saturday, August 11, 2007


A month ago, I began taking a drawing class at the Watts Atelier. It's a combo head, figure and quick sketch course. I absolutely love it. I felt I was getting stale in my portrait drawing and wanted to revolutionize my approach. Hence, the class.

To accelerate our proficiency, a teacher recommended buying a skull from an art supply store. If you want to draw portraits, it helps to understand a human's skeletal structure and musculature. I found a model skull last Sunday for thirty bucks.

(As an aside, I don't like wall masks or life-size sculptures. I find them creepy. I was concerned that the same sentiment would apply to my new skull, but instead I find it whimsical and non-threatening. )

Over the last week, I've rendered it in various mediums and styles.

Top left: Oil on canvas board (14 x 11").
Top right: Conte pencil on newsprint.
Bottom left: Pen and gouache (5 x 6").
Bottom right: Pen and colored pencil (5 x 6").

Here's my set-up for the oil painting:

I toned my canvas with an acrylic mix of phthalo blue, burnt sienna, and titanium white. I sketched with vine charcoal.

Using a limited palette (yellow ochre, raw umber, Payne's gray, and titanium white), and painting with a loose and semi-quick approach, I produced Skull (oil on canvas board, 14 x 11").

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