Learning to draw, Chapter Twelve

Posted by on Mar 31, 2010 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments



This comes from a borrowed photo but it is cropped beyond recognition. Cropping is a great way to focus in on the part of a subject that causes your heart to sing! Pam is creating a piece for her dining room. She is learning that many of the principles of graphite apply to colored pencil. She is also learning this:  really good colored pencil pieces take 3-4 times as long to produce as graphite! 

Learning to draw, Chapter Eleven

Posted by on Mar 30, 2010 in drawing, Lessons | One Comment


Jackie is very experienced in  graphite and may be one of the most careful of all my students. She has been known to erase and redo entire areas over and over. Because she has a light touch, this doesn’t destroy the tooth of the paper. She works from her own photos, and occasionally from borrowed photos but generally redesigns them (wish you could see her rocks/leaves/water drawing!). In this drawing, she has changed the colors,  and edited out weird parts that don’t make sense. Weird things are believable in photos, but in drawings they look as if the artist messed up.

Learning to draw, Chapter Ten

Posted by on Mar 29, 2010 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments


Adalaide shows an usual ability to design art rather than just copy photographs. She works from her own photos, but occasionally uses images from other sources. This shows the flags as she designed them, and then she got the idea of adding the insignia from her brother’s Air Force patch in the background. After some thought and experimentation on tissue paper over the top, she decided to draw the patch as a separate piece. Planning on tissue paper over the top is a great method of designing changes to an existing piece of art.

Learning to draw, Chapter Nine

Posted by on Mar 28, 2010 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments


Before anyone graduates to colored pencil, they need to have skill with graphite. If one doesn’t understand the steps of drawing accurately, adding color to the mix is not going to improve one’s skill or one’s finished pieces. Wendy is very very good with graphite and has a wonderfully light touch that makes her colored pencil drawings both have depth and a glow. She has begun this picture with a gray scale underneath in gray colored pencils, not graphite. This method is called “grisaille” – pronounced “greeze eye”.

Learning to draw, Chapter Eight

Posted by on Mar 27, 2010 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments



This is the beginning of a colored pencil portrait. It looks like a heavy graphite outline, but this will go away as each color is applied. Mae is another traveler who works from her own photos. She looks very very carefully at each subject and crops and rearranges to make the best compositions possible. Being the proud owner of a new set of high-end colored pencils, she is also learning how to combine the colors to depict all the skin tones. Mae is a water-color painter who wanted to be more accurate in her shapes, and after 3 or 4 years with me, she is very accurate. Her paintings are reflecting her growing skill; this brings up the point that drawing is the basis of all art.

Learning to draw, Chapter Seven

Posted by on Mar 26, 2010 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments



This is in graphite and has been spray-fixed so it won’t smear. Next, the giant pot/vase thing will be done in colored pencil. Mary works from the photos she takes on her travels all over the world.  Working from one’s own photos is best: no copyright problems and great familiarity with the subject are the advantages.

Learning to draw, Chapter Six

Posted by on Mar 25, 2010 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments


This is a very difficult photo from which to draw. It has a zillion different textures and it is only 3-1/2 x 5″ (Aren’t we spoiled by the 4×6″ size now?) Olivia has diligently worked her way from top to bottom, left to right. We have done a bit of redesigning because there are some particularly annoying shrubs that neither of us can figure out how to duplicate with a pencil. There is no need to be handcuffed by a photo – it is YOUR drawing, and you can do whatever you need to make it look best. Real Life Is Messy; Artists get to clean it up!

Learning to draw, Chapter Five

Posted by on Mar 24, 2010 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments



Here is another sunflower drawing. Shereen works from her own photographs, and she is quite experienced at drawing. She has the outline of the petals on the page, and is now working on the background. In general, a right-handed person shades from top to bottom and from back to front. This prevents the smearing problem that often occurs with graphite. And the good news is that a leftie can work from right to left and not smear either!

Goodbye, Virginia

Posted by on Mar 23, 2010 in Events, General, Thoughts | 2 Comments



Virginia May Botkin, 82, of Visalia passed away Sunday, March 14, 2010. She was born in Visalia on June 18, 1927 to Dorval Wallace and Versa May Beamish. Because her parents were both deaf-mute, she grew up communicating with American Sign Language. Virginia and her sister younger Rosalie (Shiffert) loved to sing, and often performed together in the Exeter Lions Club Follies. She graduated from Visalia Union High School and married the love of her life, William “Bill” Franklin Botkin, a union that lasted 53 years until Bill’s death in 2002. Bill and Virginia reared their three children in Exeter, and she was a homemaker who particularly loved family gatherings and time in Mineral King. She enjoyed the music of Tony Bennett, Judy Garland, and more recently Michael Buble’. Virginia was preceded in death by her parents, husband and sister, and is survived by son William C. “Billy” Botkin of Visalia, son Michael (Jana) Botkin of Three Rivers, and daughter Laurie Metz of South Lake Tahoe. In addition, she is survived by a few aunts and uncles, many nieces and one nephew. At her request there will be no services. Remembrances may be made to the Mineral King Preservation Society, P.O. Box 286, Exeter CA 93221 or other charity of choice.




Studio Tour, Day Three

Posted by on Mar 22, 2010 in Events, Three Rivers | No Comments

Lots of people, more paintings sold, I’m tired, thanks for coming.