Portrait Workshop

We had a successful two week workshop on drawing and painting the portrait. Here are a few photos regarding the process:

Our lovely model, Emily.

Our lovely model, Emily.

An initial block-in.

An initial block-in.

Achieving a likeness in a linear manner. This drawing could be called a  cartoon  and is used to transfer onto canvas or panel.

Achieving a likeness in a linear manner. This drawing could be called a cartoon and is used to transfer onto canvas or panel.

A transfer onto a wooded panel and an ebouche, a thin application of oils.

A transfer onto a wooded panel and an ebouche, a thin application of oils.

Beginning to lay in opaque paint.

Beginning to lay in opaque paint.

Slightly more resolved.

Slightly more resolved.

Potluck

We had a wonderful dinner with friends and family at Walton Avenue Atelier. Thanks for all the good food and company. And thank you to Stephen for performing on the cello!

DSCF5177.JPG
DSCF5208.JPG
DSCF5184.JPG

Demo

Peter Green came in yesterday and demonstrated the lift out technique. This is a technique he recently used in an alla prima workshop at Grand Central Atelier.

 

DSCF0932.JPG
DSCF0939.JPG
DSCF0948.JPG

Preparing Panels

Recently, I have been preparing panels for painting plein air by gluing pre-primed linen to Ampersand panels. The linen is a great surface to paint on and the hardboard panel provides a rigid and durable support. 

 

I begin by sanding the panel with 220 grit sandpaper. This roughens the surface to allow for a stronger bond with the linen. The panel is ready to take glue, a ph balanced PVA used for book binding.  

I begin by sanding the panel with 220 grit sandpaper. This roughens the surface to allow for a stronger bond with the linen. The panel is ready to take glue, a ph balanced PVA used for book binding.  

The glue is down and ready for the linen to be rolled out on top. I try to be especially mindful of putting enough glue down on the edges and corners.

The glue is down and ready for the linen to be rolled out on top. I try to be especially mindful of putting enough glue down on the edges and corners.

The linen is rolled on top and firmly pressed down. 

The linen is rolled on top and firmly pressed down. 

I put a wooden board and weight on top of the panel and let it dry.

I put a wooden board and weight on top of the panel and let it dry.

Ready to be cut out and painted on. 

Ready to be cut out and painted on. 

Plein Air Painting by Adrian Eisenhower

Spring is here and, for me, that means painting a lot more outside. This style of painting is known as Plein Air. I still think of it as early in the season and for some warm up exercises, I have made (and will continue to make) some quick pencil sketches. These help me explore compositional ideas in particular. 

 

DSCF0385.JPG
DSCF0286.JPG
DSCF0285.JPG
DSCF0284.JPG
I have also dusted off the pochade box - a box that holds my panel and paints that mounts to a tripod - and taken it outside. I was enchanted by this hillside in Lakeview Cemetery, and the early intimations of Spring in sprouting daffodils. 

I have also dusted off the pochade box - a box that holds my panel and paints that mounts to a tripod - and taken it outside. I was enchanted by this hillside in Lakeview Cemetery, and the early intimations of Spring in sprouting daffodils. 

Here is my plein air painting kit. My goal this season is to really slim it down. At the moment, it is still a rather heavy amount of gear. The numbers are a little hard to see but this is what I have-  1. Manfrotto Tripod- this model and make is heavy, but in this case weight can be a benefit. It is not likely to tip or blow over in windy conditions.  2. 8x10 Panel Box- I made this box out of readily accessible materials. It is a good way to carry my panels and to pack out wet panels after painting.  3. Paper towels on a Bungy Cord- I like Viva paper towels. The bungy cord lets me hang the paper towels on my pochade box.  4. Pochade Box- this is made by Open Box M. This holds my panel and paints while I am painting.   5. Brushes  6. Paints  7. Medium and Turp Jars  8. Cheese clothe  9. 5x7 Panel Box- for smaller paintings I use a cigar box with velcro  10. Backpack

Here is my plein air painting kit. My goal this season is to really slim it down. At the moment, it is still a rather heavy amount of gear. The numbers are a little hard to see but this is what I have-

1. Manfrotto Tripod- this model and make is heavy, but in this case weight can be a benefit. It is not likely to tip or blow over in windy conditions.

2. 8x10 Panel Box- I made this box out of readily accessible materials. It is a good way to carry my panels and to pack out wet panels after painting.

3. Paper towels on a Bungy Cord- I like Viva paper towels. The bungy cord lets me hang the paper towels on my pochade box.

4. Pochade Box- this is made by Open Box M. This holds my panel and paints while I am painting. 

5. Brushes

6. Paints

7. Medium and Turp Jars

8. Cheese clothe

9. 5x7 Panel Box- for smaller paintings I use a cigar box with velcro

10. Backpack

DSCF0318.JPG
DSCF0319.JPG
DSCF0321.JPG
DSCF0322.JPG
DSCF0323.JPG
DSCF0324.JPG
DSCF0325.JPG
Night Passing the Earth onto Day

Night Passing the Earth onto Day

From Rocky River Metro Park

From Rocky River Metro Park

CMA at dusk

CMA at dusk

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Merced River

Merced River

Tenaya Lake

Tenaya Lake

El Cap Meadow

El Cap Meadow

DSCF1017.JPG

Indirect Painting by Adrian Eisenhower

I have started a portrait painting of Cary using an indirect method. This means that I make the drawing in graphite first before transferring it onto panel to commence with painting. During the first 3 hours of drawing I laid out a general block-in. In the following session, I was able to achieve more of a likeness and get more of his character into the picture.

 

DSCF0250.JPG
DSCF0261.JPG
Here, I have copied the drawing onto tracing paper.

Here, I have copied the drawing onto tracing paper.

And then covered the back of the traced drawing with graphite from a 6B pencil. 

And then covered the back of the traced drawing with graphite from a 6B pencil. 

With the graphite smudged over the drawing on the back of the tracing paper, I tape the drawing down to a panel right side up. I can then go over the drawn lines with a pen. I choose to use a blue pen so I can distinctly see the lines that I have gone over. By going over the lines with a pen, the graphite that is sandwiched between the tracing paper and the panel is transferred over to the panel. 

With the graphite smudged over the drawing on the back of the tracing paper, I tape the drawing down to a panel right side up. I can then go over the drawn lines with a pen. I choose to use a blue pen so I can distinctly see the lines that I have gone over. By going over the lines with a pen, the graphite that is sandwiched between the tracing paper and the panel is transferred over to the panel. 

The transfer is complete but still needs to be fixed. I can use spray fixative to lock down the lines, so they don't wash away when I commence with painting. I choose to ink the lines with a brush and permanent india ink, however. 

The transfer is complete but still needs to be fixed. I can use spray fixative to lock down the lines, so they don't wash away when I commence with painting. I choose to ink the lines with a brush and permanent india ink, however. 

Here is the inked panel, ready to be painted. 

Here is the inked panel, ready to be painted. 

Here is a painting of the Sacrifice of Isaac, 1527, by Andrea del Sarto from the Cleveland Museum of Art. We can see that he has not finished the painting and in some passages, his inked lines are plainly visible. From the drawing - the disegno - he built his painting up with relatively thin applications of paint. 

Here is a painting of the Sacrifice of Isaac, 1527, by Andrea del Sarto from the Cleveland Museum of Art. We can see that he has not finished the painting and in some passages, his inked lines are plainly visible. From the drawing - the disegno - he built his painting up with relatively thin applications of paint. 

A closed grisaille underpainting of raw umber and white.

A closed grisaille underpainting of raw umber and white.

A first pass with color. I am still keeping shapes and color very simple at this point. 

A first pass with color. I am still keeping shapes and color very simple at this point. 

A second pass on Cary's face. This was about a month after the first pass. Cary had since gotten quite a tan and a haircut. Such are the trials and tribulation of working from life. 

A second pass on Cary's face. This was about a month after the first pass. Cary had since gotten quite a tan and a haircut. Such are the trials and tribulation of working from life. 

July Workshop

Peter Green and Adrian Eisenhower are hosting a Portrait Drawing and Painting workshop in July. Open to all levels-

Workshop_1.jpg

Fire at the Hildebrandt Building

Words and Images by Billy Ritter-

It was the start of yet another magical evening at the Hildebrandt. Our monthly third Saturday open studio event. The [Walton Avenue Atelier] was set beautifully as always, with a hopeful and fresh crowd, anticipating greatness. I had just finished making 40 new long awaited dinner plates and wrapped the ware cart for the evening. Literally in the following seconds as I was ready to lock up and head to the event, a passing crowd outside my studio door informed me that the building was on fire. 
My heart dropped.
I looked up, the black smoke behind them was thin. I thought, we still had a moment. Something told me to open our studio windows and not lock the door just incase. -Where this wisdom comes from in a state of panic escapes me, but it’s usually right. Know that. As I exited the building I already heard the sirens on their way. 
In the following thirty minutes I paced around our historic compound outside, scrupulously watching the body language of the firefighters. They weren’t panicked, this was a drill, they had this. I felt assured for a moment as I thought about all of what could possibly be at jeopardy here. (The building, our dreams, our projects, each of them, where was the fire?) The next second...If you’ve never heard the sound of a fire truck hose blasting out glass windows, it’s sort of beautiful and horrifying in an unexplainable sort of way. (I closed my eyes) they were just controlling the smoke, I was certain of it. {Time then stopped. I snapped a lot of pictures as my hands shook erratically.} Somewhere between here and then there were so many seconds that happened in not knowing but hoping. And just like that...as fast as the dynamic and angelic Cleveland Fire department had arrived, they were now exiting in droves, folding up hoses, punching and joking with one another, the party was over. And though it was never spoken by the audience of many, we knew they had saved us all from unknown fates. And so, in the awkward silence of the next few minutes we were all waiting for a report. What happened? ..Turns out a roll of carpet around the loading dock mysteriously caught blaze. Mysteriously. From what, time will tell. In the interim, I am thankful for all of the spirits of positive energy and light and the universe of beautiful good that has saved us all from the other ways that it could have gone. And lastly but most importantly, all of the love and gratitude to the swift and amazing men of the Cleveland Fire Department. THANK YOU!!!

 

31131510_897627937076268_4817573320234893312_n.jpg
31131006_897627930409602_4337653958047694848_n.jpg
31073351_897627933742935_7112681793131642880_n.jpg

On Keeping a Sketchbook

These are a few recent drawings from a small sketchbook I keep on me. They are mostly of people but some of the subject matter spills into landscapes and cityscapes. The importance of keeping an active sketchbook for me is difficult to put my finger on. It has something to do with staying awake and not passing time in a somewhat somnambulant state. Drawing keeps me alert to the sights around me. As a regular exercise it also helps me maintain a certain artistic fitness. 

 

Jooanna.jpg
Kristina.jpg
Matthias.jpg
W25.jpg
Rob.jpg
Chick.jpg
Downtown.jpg
Jack_Becca.jpg