A friend commissioned me to draw a portrait of his sons and their sweet (recently departed) family dog, which the boys, and his wife, loved very much. He sent me some very good, clear photos of them all – they live on the other side of the country from me, so live drawing was not possible. I started with a pencil drawing.
I scanned that and roughly colored it in with colored pencils.
After the client approved this I drew the image on illustration board in prisma pencil and painted it in with acrylic washes. There was a lot of play between the warm and cool colors in the scene, which helped define the shapes. I also feel that the fact that the boys were not aimed full-face at the camera helped me get their facial features well – profile or 3/4 view of a face is easier to define and draw that full-front portraits because you naturally get some 3-D effect from the head being turned.
I arranged a Biblical Life Drawing session last month and we were fortunate to have two models for some of the time. I drew with prisma pencil on toned pastel paper for these quick sketches of a woman holding a basket and Mary cradling the Child in a basket
We discussed a pose for our two models together and came up with the idea of a quiet moment with Mary and Elizabeth marveling over Mary’s new Child – this is a scene I would like to come back to and develop more, I think there could be many beautiful emotions to manifest here.
I drew these Madonna and Child sketches in prisma with some chalk highlights. I will use one of these on a Christmas card this year.
Finally, I went back into a drawing I did last session of Jesus with Mary Magdalen, and added some tones to it with charcoal, which added some needed depth to the scene.
I organized another Art+Faith Life Drawing session through my church and this time we had two wonderful models, husband and wife, who posed in our makeshift Biblical costumes so artists could imagine and draw scenes from our shared religious heritage, bringing our faith into our art.
We started with warm-up sketches of 5 to 10 minutes in length. I sketched on charcoal paper with prisma pencil..
Our models took a poignant pose of Mary Magdalen receiving counsel from Jesus. I drew this longer pose in pencil on charcoal paper –
While the models often posed together in a scene, time restrictions made it hard for me to get developed drawings of two figures, so I concentrated more on one or the other. Here is our model posing with ‘tablets’ as Moses below. It was really striking to see him standing in front of us – there is a grace in the draping of ancient clothing styles that does make you stop and contemplate: the gravity of their lives so long ago, the convictions they held that carried them through devastation. Drawing these faithful figures has an effect that goes beyond simple rendering.
I organized another Art+Faith Life Drawing session through my church and this time our model was a lovely friend of mine, tall and with waist-length hair; and instead of Madonna and Child poses we decided she could pose as Mary at the time of the Resurrection or other women of the New Testament. Another artist in our group borrowed some beautifully-made costumes from a Nativity pageant, and along with some props, veils and scarves we put together some wonderful depictions of women of the Bible to bring into our art.
We started with warm-up sketches of about 5 minutes in length. I sketched on charcoal paper with chalk and conté crayon.
I didn’t get too far with this one below but I think I have the basic pose, just have to develop it more. This is prisma pencil on charcoal paper. I think this drawing could be Mary waiting to go with the other two women to the tomb on Easter morning.
The last two are twenty minute poses I drew on toned grey sketch paper, with burnt sienna and white prisma pencils. I added some local color with other pencils and chalks. The top woman with the jar could be the ‘woman at the well’ that Jesus met, and the bottom one, since we dressed her with several accessories, could be a wealthy woman – perhaps Pilate’s wife, contemplating her message to Pilate to “have nothing to do with this righteous man.”
Many years have passed since I drew figures daily in art school; until these drawing sessions I had forgotten how personal and cathartic it is to draw from a model in the moment. It inspires exploration, harkens back to stories long remembered, and turns accidental strokes into almost prophetic discoveries. I’m looking forward to our next Biblical model.
A few more from a life drawing session of a model posing as Madonna and Child. The first is again chalk & conte crayon on toned pastel paper, the second is more a line drawing in prisma pencil on toned paper.
I was very happy to be able to arrange a life drawing session a few weeks ago (before a nasty bout of sickness from which I’m emerging) to help celebrate the Christmas season – a lovely model who posed for as the Madonna and Child. This is one of the ways I hope to continue to bring art and faith together in my life.
Here are a few of the first quick sketches we did to loosen up, on plain paper & toned paper – we called these croquis drawings in art school. I used sepia chalk and conte crayon for these loose sketches. More drawings to come this week.