First Self Portrait!

detail of self portrait with Serdar's scarf 9-20-18 web
‘Self portrait with Emily’s scarf’ (detail) watercolor pencil and gouache on paper © J.Hart

I have done very few self portrait in my career: never thought that my face was so interesting. However, while researching portraits, I looked at various artists’ self portraits and was encouraged to do one of myself. Not sure how good a likeness this is, but I feel that it is a good drawing.

 

 

Live vs. Photo (2)

These portraits are again from a photo and from a live sitting (the one on the left from a photo) of a friend who was visiting from Berlin. The one done from life is a better drawing capturing as it does a certain intelligence and characteristic expression of the sitter. However, as Mirka remarked (and she was right!) the drawing makes the width of her face too narrow.

Interestingly, it took me three tries to get close to a resemblance when working from the photo. Mirka’s face is asymmetrical ( actually all of our faces are, but some people are more asymmetrical than others), which I got in the sketch, but struggled with when using the photo. And again, as a drawing, the one done from the photo has an overworked quality which I don’t like.

I’m going to do one or two more drawings of Mirka, this time working from the drawings rather than the photo. Let’s see what happens!

The Daily Practice of Portraiture

Chris with Bonchat
‘Chris with Bonchat’ watercolor pencil on paper 11″ x 15″ © J.Hart

I am going to take a suggestion from Seth Godin and start a daily blog of my portraiture work. I am practicing doing portraits in order to become as skilled as possible so that I can work with live models as well as photos. Also, doing this practice in public will keep me honest and on task!

Today’s drawing is of my neighbor Chris with his very ironically named cat, Bonchat sitting on our balcony in late summer. This portrait got to the heart of their relationship: undemonstrative cat, very loving master!

Although I did this from a photo, I worked to get some of the more interesting and less definitive marks of unmediated seeing. It is also fun to do portraits of friends and family that I know well. The portrait is more likely to be an authentic representation of the person.

More on the difference between working from life and from photos tomorrow!

 

Magnolias!

'pinkie' magnolia web
Magnolia ‘Pinkie” Water colour pencil and gouache on paper 11″ x 15″

Spent the past week at the Botanical Gardens. The magnolias were in spectacular bloom until Thursday when it went up to the high 80’s. I actually got to see blossoms open, bloom, and then drop their petals even as I was drawing!!

saucer magnolias web
Saucer Magnolia Water colour crayon on paper 11″ x 15″

The Garden also had some yellow saucer magnolias that were lovely but I will need to catch them next year.  Magnolias bloom before their leaves are out so the flowers and branches make for striking designs.

'Butterflies' magnolia web
Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ Water colour pencil on paper 11″ x 15″

One special point of information for early birds: the Botanical Garden is offering, if you are a Montreal resident, a card that would allow you access to the outside gardens between 6 am and 9 am every morning! It costs 8$ for the year. This will be particularly nice in the hotter part of the summer!

Un point spécial d’information pour les premiers oiseaux: le Jardin botanique offre, si vous êtes résident de Montréal, une carte qui vous permettra d’accéder aux jardins extérieurs entre 6 h et 9 h tous les matins! Cela coûte 8 $ pour l’année. Cela sera particulièrement agréable dans la partie la plus chaude de l’été!

 

Flowers & Fans

white-rose-peony-webwhite-peonies-1-web

 

During this past summer in Montreal, I had the pleasure of spending hours in the Botanical Gardens when the peonies were in bloom. I did a series of sketches using watercolor pencils which, as the name suggest, are colored pencils that act like watercolors when water is added. The drawings were done on a heavier weight but smooth tooth mixed media paper. The sketches will be available soon as prints.

Not all artists work from Nature, but I like to start with more realistic botanical drawings and then use them for references for looser, more abstract paintings. With these I have chosen to paint a series of fans using acrylic paints to which glaze can be added to create a watercolor effect.

I’m just starting this series so I have not yet decided on the type of fan or the look I want. This first paper fan is small (about 10 inches when open) and takes the paint well. The inspiration for doing fans comes from the fan pieces that Edgar Degas did in the 1870’s. (The fan below is Degas’.)degas_fan_dancers_1879_0