Back to Basics – Learning to Draw Again

I recently did something I never thought I’d do. Accept a commission involving a personal portrait in oils. A large portrait.

I can’t share details beyond the fact that it’s full figure, includes lots of flowers, an outdoor setting and, well, a real live human being. Nary a horse in sight.

Like I said, something I never thought I’d do.

Because it’s a long distance portrait, I’ll be working from photographs, but that doesn’t diminish the scale or scope of the portrait. Or the Fright Factor. (The Fright Factor, by the way, is huge!)

To prepare myself, I’ve been searching online for anything I can find relative to doing human portraits in oils. Among the things I’ve found are a series of YouTube videos that have not only been very helpful, but also motivating.

One of them is a Russian artist, Igor Kazarin (see his website here). He works in oils and one of his videos features a head and shoulders portrait in oil. But the bigger benefit to me has been the collection of portraits showing his dry brush drawing technique with black oil paint. Amazing.

I’ve also found the tutorial videos of David Gray (visit his website here). He uses a technique similar to mine, so watching his videos has been helpful.

I’ve been enthralled with these and other videos and try to watch at least one video every work day if I have the time. Especially the drawing videos as I work my way through drawing this new portrait.

No, I’m not bold enough to draw directly on the panel and not only because I don’t yet have the panel. I’m not confident enough of my drawing skills to believe I can get away with something like that on a project like this.

However, I have been motivated to start a personal drawing challenge. I first thought about doing a drawing each work day. Given the number of things already on my daily to-do list, I decided to aim for one drawing a week. Just one and not very complicated. Fifteen or twenty minutes and done. Draw from life if possible, but draw.

So I’m interrupting the demonstration of Afternoon Graze to share a few of the early results.

This is the first drawing of the challenge. I chose this because I’ve discovered I can draw almost anything that’s organic, but give me something man-made and it’s a nightmare!

Daily Drawing, Handbag

Here’s a little man-made thing that lives on my desk and is used almost every day of my life.

Daily Drawing, Handbag

I walk the cat every day (yes, on a leash), so decided to take my drawing pad with me. This study features one of the trees in our backyard.

Daily Drawing, Handbag

I won’t post drawings every week, but I hope to do at least one post a month and feature some of the better drawings for the previous month.

Next week, back to Afternoon Graze.

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