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« Venus de Milo (in progress) | Main | TSJ Portrait Workshop: Melissa »

TSJ Portrait Workshop: Bridgette

18 x 24 inches
graphite pencil and white chalk pencil on toned paper
about 20 hours

I experimented with a new technique with the white chalk. Unfortunately, what Ted is teaching requires so much modeling, I don't think it works well with the chalk, which gets ground in and over-manipulated in trying to get very fine detail.

Besides all that, I am happy with the drawing, especially how it compares to my first portrait of Bridgette I did 9 months ago. I feel like in this new drawing there is more a sense of the dimensional feel of the landscape of her skin. When I am drawing now I feel like my pencil is actually touching the surface of the form, like sculpting. Previously I only thought about copying lights and darks, so this is a totally different approach for me.

I do think a combination of the two is best. I first have to "flatten" my vision and record the major proportions without thinking of them as three-dimensional, in order to get the proportions right. But when the major proportions are set, there is a sense of switching to a different mode, thinking in 3 dimensions, and looking very closely at the surface, watching how it undulates towards and away from the light, and towards and away from the picture plane.

I think if you look at my first drawing, you'll see that there is no sense of being able to touch the surface of Bridgett's skin, it's just flat blankness.

I have no idea how anyone ever did or does portrait commissions from life. The pressure to achieve likeness in as short a time as possible must be tremendous.

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