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Old 05-15-2008, 01:11 PM   #1
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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Michael G's Sketchbook




Hello, I am Michael Georges, the Moderator of the Life Section.

Welcome to my Open Studio sketchbook!

After an extended absence, I am back to drawing weekly at a local art center and I am really enjoying it. Drawing and painting from life is hard for me and I struggle. So what you will see in this topic are not only my victories, but also my victims. But that is sort of the point isn't it?

I am the classic portrait artist who learned by painting exclusively from photographs. Let me take photos of my subject, and I will put up a pretty nice portrait. But that is only half of the picture. As I learned later from great painters like Bill Whitaker, painting from photos can teach you "how" to paint, but direct observation from life will teach you "what" to paint, and more importantly, "how to see". Now I am not knocking painting from photos - 3 year olds, and bank presidents have neither the time nor the patience to sit for the amount of time it takes to do a high finish portrait from life, and photo reference is more the norm than the exception. But as professional artists, we need the expanded skillset that direct observation gives you.

So come along as I wrestle with this conundrum of translating what I see onto a 2D surface. Heck, start your own sketchbook topic and let's all do it together!

Cheers!
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:29 PM   #2
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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Let's start with three from recent weeks sessions and in Sanguine Creatacolor sticks. Times on these varied, with the portrait of the gentleman being the shortest - about an hour and a half.

Enjoy!

Edit: One thing to note is that you can see a pretty clear progression in these as I got used to using the creatacolor sticks and adapted to how to model the form with them.
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Old 05-15-2008, 09:45 PM   #3
Enzie Shahmiri Enzie Shahmiri is offline
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Michael, it's so nice to see you posting again. Welcome back!
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:36 AM   #4
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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Thank you Enzie, it is good to be back.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:49 AM   #5
Donna Johnson Donna Johnson is offline
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smile

Hi Michael,

I am glad you are posting your sketchbook. I wish I could see a lot of the SOG members drawings. I was lucky to get good advice HERE early on about the photos. My life teacher says that all the critical mistakes are made in the first 2 minutes. That is why he makes us do so many 2 min gestures. My only question about that is, why does it take me 5 minutes to do one?

Looking forward to more,
Donna
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Old 05-17-2008, 12:24 PM   #6
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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Hello Donna and thanks for your comments.

I so agree with you that those first minutes are crucial, and as you can see below, it is a lesson I am still learning. :P

I might say that the first session of 20 minutes are when we must be most critical. I used to use the first 20 to place features...these days, I am spending the first two getting placement and proportion right, and then refining it all the way. It is not easy, but Gods is it fun!
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Old 05-21-2008, 12:11 PM   #7
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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Last night's model had such character in her face, and the glasses were wonderful to puzzle out!

Also, I scored about 150 sheets of Fabriano 140lb watercolor paper in 30x40 inch sheets...for free! This is the first of many on that paper, it is wonderful!

I toned the ground on this one with powdered sanguine so I could work a bit with the white sticks.

Enjoy!
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:14 PM   #8
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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When model's don't show, the proprietor is often pressed into service. This is Lanette, who runs the Wild Arts Center where I draw each Tuesday, with a "the model didn't show" expression.

I am finding that my traditional way of doing charcoals - i.e., blending with bristle brushes - is really what I need to be doing. Took one along last night and the coverage an ability to get smoother transitions over the texture of the paper is superior over either a chamois or fingers.

I am also struggling with "next morning syndrome" - she looked great last night, and this morning, I see drawing errors in her eyes that last night I just did not see...
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Old 06-04-2008, 12:12 PM   #9
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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Last night we had a beautiful young lady whom I have drawn before - Chantelle. She came in her prom dress and I decided to pull out the paints. I fought the surface like mad all night and really need to prep boards for painting weeks in advance as this was just too absorbent and just sucked the paint in like crazy and I had a devil of a time pushing anything back and forth.

Still, there are things I like about it, so here it is.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:12 AM   #10
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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I got lucky last night - great model, all the stars in alignment, and the drawing somehow fell together quite nicely. I am pleased with this one.

I have refined my process with these Cretacolor leads over time. I am beginning with the oil stick to define the shape and place features - it is harder and I can draw more subtle lines, then I switch to the chalk sticks to begin rendering values. Again, blending these with bristle brushes and chamois cloth works wonders! Over time, I am learning how to eliminate that "filling in the lines" look.
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Drawing skills are the foundation of all an artist does.
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