Sunday, July 29, 2012

Drawing from Oliver Wendell Holmes

Charcoal and White Pencil on Gray Paper
Sometimes a portrait "drawn from life" isn't from a real person. Drawing from plaster casts provides a means to sharpen drawing skills and study how light defines a form. The plaster cast "model" doesn't replace real live models but allows a unique opportunity to more thoroughly explore light and shape in a model that never moves and needs no breaks. You certainly don't want a plaster cast that breaks! 

The drawing shown above is from a plaster bust of Oliver Wendell Holmes by Cyrus Edwin Dallin (1861-1944) in the collection of the Springville Museum of Art in Springville, Utah. Even though my drawing kind of looks like Holmes after some unfortunate event in a flour mill, I immensely enjoyed drawing it and was able to learn a lot by doing so. Whatever the level of skill attained, whatever level in one's professional career, improvement is always possible and desirable, so I look forward to more opportunities to learn from plaster casts.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Western Wyoming 2012

Smith's Fork, 11" x 14" Oil on Canvas Panel
The Western Wyoming Plein Air competition in Cokeville, Wyoming was mentioned in my last post. Pictured above is one of the paintings I made during that competition. "Smith's Fork" was painted Thursday afternoon shortly after I arrived in Cokeville for this year's competition. The next three days were spent painting or scouting around. Thursday and Friday evenings the artists gathered for meals at the Pine Creek Ski Lodge. Instead of staying in a motel at night I camped up in Pine Creek Canyon where I enjoyed free rates and the fine decor of aspen trees.

I wasn't able to spend as much time as last year, but was able to enter two paintings in the competition and had a few "studio" pieces on display. The painting shown at the top of this post won the "People's Choice Award."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Recent Portrait Sketch, and an Upcoming Plein Air Event

9" x 12" Charcoal Pencil on Paper
This is a quick sketch from one of the more recent drawing sessions. All that was needed materially was a charcoal pencil, a kneaded eraser, and a spiral-bound sketchbook - basic stuff. It's fun to work with fancier and more expensive materials - and sometimes I do -  but so much can be done and learned by keeping it simple.

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Plein Air Event

This coming weekend (July 20 and 21) I hope to participate in The Western Wyoming Plein Air competition in Cokeville, Wyoming. The town of Cokeville sits on the banks of the Bear River, surrounded by picturesque ranches and cottonwood stands. Beyond the valley are mountains with evergreens and aspens. There's lots to paint in this scenic area. This will be my third year in this event. For more information go here:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Shade Along a Wasatch Trail

Shaded Trail, 8" x 10" Oil on Panel
This painting shows a section of a popular walking trail by town. The trail begins in the mouth of a canyon and leads out onto the bench, roughly following the old shoreline of prehistoric Lake Bonneville. The view in the painting is to the west through shady Gambles Oak. The trail disappears around the steep slope near the top of the painting. The trail then continues northward along the bench above town, affording views of town and the lake and mountains beyond.

I've walked this trail many times, in all seasons. This time of year I might see a squirrel scamper across the path, or a lizard scurry away as I walk by. Up on the mountainside, and sometimes below the path there might be mule deer, or even bighorn sheep browsing on the lush summer greenery.

On this particular day I brought my favorite 8 x 10 pochade box along for a walk and did this painting.