Saturday, July 22, 2017

It's Never Too Late

When people tell me, "I wish I could draw but I can't" or "I don't have a creative bone in my body!" I always tell them two things, "It's never too late to try something new" and "If you practice, you will get better."

"Chica Du Jour" in Charcoal and White Conté on 9" X 12" Gray Pastel Paper
Available for Purchase

In grade school we all went to art class and nobody sat out because they couldn't do it. We all did what we could and had fun doing it...and it was a nice break from all the academic subjects.

For the past couple of years I've been teaching Colored Pencil Techniques in Portrait Drawing in retirement communities, at corporate events and in private settings. What amazes me most is seeing what the oldest seniors in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) can create with simple, step-by-step instructions and a live demo.

Having been an Administrator of an ALF for a little over six years, I keep my license active, therefore, I am able to continue working alongside Residents from Independent Living through Memory Care. It's a blessing; they're a wonderful mix of people with fascinating backgrounds and stories and they have plenty of time to explore their creativity, which is nice.

The most rewarding part of what I do is not actually seeing the completed faces (although they're amazing), but seeing the faces of those who participate in my classes. They smile and tell me thinks like, "I never thought I could draw but you made it seem easy; I actually learned something!" and "I can't believe I did this!" These types of comments inspire me and help me move forward with fresh ideas.

I once read on a box of crayons: For Ages 3-104. I love that, although I must tell you, if you're 104 and think it's almost over, I encourage you to keep moving and think outside those box of crayons!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Thoughts of You

Songs create a mood, bring back memories, move us and make us feel something. The expressive or narrative portrait is similar in that when you look at it you can identify with the subject; happy, sad or lost in thought, we've all been there.

The above piece, Thoughts of You, was created in charcoal, white Conté and red oil pastel over a loose page from an old piano book. It's part of my "Musical Memories" series and I hope the faces I create will make you feel something...hopefully a connection to the subject, to people in general (as we all have similar thoughts and emotions), and most importantly, to the one who's been with us since the beginning, Dios/Dio/Dieu/God.

It's all about relationships, my friends.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Finding Faces and Creating Your Own

As a kid I always loved finding faces in everyday things. We've all looked up at the clouds and noticed animal shapes and other objects floating around in the sky. On a clear night we can sometimes see "The Man in the Moon," and some people have even recognized religious figures and symbols on trees, rocks and even food. Remember the image of Jesus on toast?

Face Pareidolia is the tendency to recognize faces in inanimate objects and patterns where they don't actually exist. I still enjoy discovering these images today, but I also like creating faces of my own and sharing my love of portrait drawing with others. For the past couple of years, I've been teaching in local retirement communities, from Independent Living to Memory Care, corporate gatherings and small groups, and there's nothing like it.

After hearing participants tell me things like, "I never imagined I could draw but you really help me get it!" and "This is so much fun! I can't believe I did this!," I realized great things were beginning to happen and the experience was rewarding for all of us. With desire and discipline, a hidden talent can be discovered at any age.

I wanted to offer the same opportunity for those who were unable to attend my classes and/or wanted to learn in the privacy of their own homes. I explored the possibility of teaching online and I am happy to announce that an online version of my Portrait Drawing class will be available soon.  

The class will be open to anyone who would like to discover the joy of working with colored pencils while developing a new skill. "It's never too late to learn something new," I always say, "as long as you're able."

What do YOU think? Is there something you've always wanted to try? Is it possible to start with baby steps...a phone call, a trip to the store to buy supplies, a visit to a place that will inspire you? I'd love to know your thoughts. xo

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Charcoal Chicas

I've been exploring charcoal in Kara Bullock's online class, Charcoal Like Madand have fallen in love with the medium.  Here are some faces I made using vine and compressed charcoal, white Conté pencils, and General's charcoal and charcoal white pencils:

These portraits were created using hot pressed and cold pressed watercolor paper, a plain sketchbook and black drawing paper. I also experimented with different surfaces like cardboard and pages inside a damaged book. 

I added oil pastels to a few pieces for a little more interest, learned what a brayer was and used it over yellow and red acrylic paint (see third face from the top), and made some new online friends...inspirational, die-hard charcoal fans that came with the class. They're priceless.

The plan for me is to create a new series of passionate portraits while continuing to teach and work on other projects (to be revealed at a future date).

There's a lot to be thankful for this 4th of July...freedom, family, friends and no gun shots being fired into the sky in our neck of the woods for the second year in a row. My dogs are happy.