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Tag Archives: graphite

Perspective of kitchen corner: Jan Mitchell

Still Life Study: Mary Larson

Portrait: Andrea Andis

Portrait: Sheryl Seelig

The above artwork are a few of the examples you will find on the Student Art 3 page. I just completed a Beginning Drawing and a Watercolor Portrait Class this week. Each session runs only 6 weeks. Many of the students return to take classes again.

I want to take the time to thank each and every student for their efforts and their incredible growth. Thank you, also, for sharing your work through this blog. YOU ROCK!!!!!

Pat Dooley 2

We studied Blind line contour.

Tina Rutledge 3

We studied drawing in one continuous line as though we were feeling the edges of the form with the point of our pencil.

Tina Rutledge

We practiced drawing cross contours to describe form.

Sheila Kiester

We learned to see and use negative space; the space and shapes around a form.

Edmond Strange 3

We learned about and practiced perspective and how to use our pencils to measure distance and determine angles.

Sheila Kiester 3 Cloud Study

We talked about different marks we could make to describe values and form.

Lauren Pena

We practiced value studies from photographs and

Mary Ann Roach 2

Jeanne Franke

value studies we drew from still lifes illuminated by a light source.

Last night we finished the above class in beginning drawing. You can view the above drawings and more by visiting the Student Art 1 Page here. Thank you to all those who participated in this class!

I have long been interested in automatic drawing. A while back Chris Carter had a post about automatic drawing and came up with this on a sleepless night. I finally decided to give it another go. As busy as I am, lately,  it is something I can do when I have a moment of time.

  click to enlarge

The above was my first attempt. I have no idea what the egg or the bird signify.  The book I read on the subject of automatic drawing said to start by making marks on your paper. They can be any marks (swooping lines, crosshatches, dots). You can use the side of your pencil and your eraser. The idea is to draw. It was suggested that you follow the shapes of what you are creating and can turn the format and view it from all angles as you work your drawing. As you begin to see something appear, shade and draw to bring that image to the foreground. I have a tendency to be judgemental, so I have to keep reminding myself to let go and let it happen.

click to enlarge

This was my second automatic drawing.  This one actually moved me as it began to appear.  I imagined a fairy- like figure shaping the landscape. I searched for what she might be fashioning. I stopped, prematurely, because I wanted to allow that landscape to become whatever the viewer wants to imagine it to be. I may try and watercolor and rice paper collage this one. I wonder if I can maintain the mystery in paint.  I will post it if I do so.

 click to enlarge

Back to another egg and figure and bird.  What is this?  I can assure you I did not set out to draw them. As it began to appear in the lines, I even had to erase back along the bird’s breast to bring the figure I saw forward. I think I’d like to paint this one, also.

If any of you try this, I’d really like to see what you come up with. I find it a great way to free me up and suggest possibilities for paintings as well practice my drawing skills.

I drew the above drawing in a life drawing session about 2 years ago.  Every once in awhile, I enjoy taking a line drawing, like this, and creating a painting from it.  The drawing was smaller than what I wanted so I  placed the acrylic cross hairs I use to lay over a photo and laid it on top of my drawing.  I discussed this in this previous post. I then drew the two cross hair lines on a larger format watercolor paper and re-drew the lines  of the drawing. This enlarged my image.

Knowing that I would need to stay focused to paint this image using my imagination, I  opted to play some sort of music in the background. The figure appeared rather restful and contemplative, so I chose two CDs of  Adagios. One was Mozart and the other Vivaldi.

I followed what I had learned in my workshop this summer about carving out a pathway of light along the figure’s form and allowing that to remain the white of the paper.  I chose colors that seemed to fit the music I was listening to as well as the mood of the figure.  The above painting is what I ended up with.

It seemed only fitting that I post a drawing and a portrait painting, today, as my first session classes ended tonight and they were in  Beginning Drawing  and Watercolor Portrait.  You may view some of the students’ work here

Thank-you to all my students who contributed to the Student Art Page.

I am following Heather on her blog. She is studying drawing and has been practicing value studies and making marks to describe form. This runs hand-in-hand with what my students started last week.  I decided to take a black and white photo of clouds (thank-you Wet Canvas!) and practice some mark making of my own. I introduced my class to the marks made by Degas, Van Gogh, Seurat and a few others that are found in the pages of Bert Dodson’s Keys to Drawing book. We spoke about how we needed to try and find the mark making that best suited us. I decided to try some mark-making of my own.

 2H, B and 6B pencils

In this study I drew my marks all one direction laying line next to line and going over areas that were to be darker with a softer lead pencil. I found this to be very tedious and time-consuming. Notice my angle strayed off to the right in the upper right hand corner. Bad me! 🙂

 2H, B and 6B pencils

In this study, I used the sides of my pencils. This was the quickest method to get these shapes and values down. In the past, this is what I see my students doing. Makes me wonder if other forms of mark making are too tedious and confusing for them in the beginning.  My other thought was that this form of shading comes in handy for a thumbnail sketch, done quickly, for a larger finished drawing or painting.

 2H, B and 6B pencils

This way was, by far, the most fun for me. I tried to imagine the form of the clouds I was seeing and attempted to emulate their contours and gesture by allowing the point of my pencil to scroll over and around them. I like the feeling of roiling clouds that I was able to capture with this mark making. Note I made my strokes over the sky flat. I saw no form in that and made my marks to reflect that.

 2H,B,6B pencils and gum eraser

In this attempt, I used crosshatching and incorporated curved lines laying next to each other as well as layers of lines going the other way to build up the layers of midtones and darks. This took longer than the contour/gesture study but was shorter than the lines laid next to each other study.  I like this study because it incorporates the contours as well as gives furthur definition to the cloud forms and allows me to achieve better values in the sky. I used a gum eraser to lightly touch up some areas around the rays and to soften some areas within the clouds.

Reno is a black shepherd of a friend of my daughter.  I was asked to see what I could do with graphite and Reno’s image. I have to say that the photos I received drew me right in to wanting to try this project.  The above image was my first attempt. I used Stonehenge 250 GSM vellum finish paper and 2B thru 6B graphite pencils. I began the drawing with contour line and some light cross contours trying to build up his form. For the intial line I used the 2B pencil pressing down a little on those lines I wanted to be evident in the final drawing. Next I built up his coat with textured strokes trying to mimic his coat. I built the darker areas up with cross hatching and some cross contours across the bridge of his nose. I used 3,4 and 6 B pencils to do this. I next used a kneaded eraser to smudge out some of the detail in his coat in the bottom right hand corner. I built the background by scratching in loose abstract marks with the side of a dull 3B pencil. I then took my 4B pencil and scraped over a piece of rough sandpaper allowing the pwdered graphite to collect on a sheet of note paper. I took a non-lotioned kleenex and picked up the graphite powder I made and began to rub it into the background. I left the background light around his nose and head and darkened the remainder with several layers of the 3B powder. This process also took the edge off the random marks I’d made earlier but still allowed them to show through.I did not smudge the portrait and had to be careful to not rest my hand on his head throughout laying in the background.

I had always admired drawings I had seen on gessoed paper, so I decided to try one with Reno, above.  I used a bristle brush to apply acrylic white gesso to a piece of Aquarius II watercolor paper, making sure I applied the gesso in abstract strokes running different directions. This leaves the artist with a textured surface to work on. I then drew Reno again using contour and cross contour line. The graphite looked darker on this surface right away so I began with a 2H. I then began crosshatching the forms of the darks in gradually working up to a B pencil and finishing with a 3B. The texture of the gesso supplied the textural qualities you see in this drawing. I had to be careful to not rest any portion of my drawing hand on the work as it immediately smudged. I did no rubbing to produce this image. I thoroughly enjoyed working on a gessoed surface and will use this as a support for drawing again in the future.

I sprayed both drawings with Matte Fixative to prevent smudging with handling.

Thank-you, Chrissie, for introducing me to Reno!

 Royal Tern


This week,  in creative drawing, we masked off areas of our paper with torn and cut pieces of painters tape. We then drew into these with graphite. For an explanation of supplies and how we did this check week six on the creative drawing page.


In creative drawing this week we created drawings of a dream or memory by creating a collage of pictures to use as a photo reference. You can follow how I created this under the Illustrating a Dream or Memory on my Creative Drawing page here.

crosscontour3    Self Portrait

This week in Creative Drawing we practiced drawing by using only cross contours. We drew our subject material by imagining that our pencil was travelling across the form from top to bottom and left to right. As the pencil moved across the form we tried to replicate that form. We lightened the pressure on our pencil where we saw more light or where the form moved towards us and applied more pressure where it was darker or  moved back and away. We concluded that cross contours could add to the shape, heft and movement of a drawing. We decided to look for the evidence of cross contours in finished drawings and paintings that we observed in the future.

I decided to title this piece “Grandmummy” because my grand daughter recognized it right off as being me. I guess that’s a good thing?

tomthinking    ink

abstractline41   graphite

Sometimes, a few simple lines just work. I’m always looking for others’ work like this.