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USK:MTL Portrait Party

November 27, 2013

This month USK:MTL needed a place to sketch indoors. It’s officially too cold to sketch in the streets. It seemed like a great idea to do a Portrait Party.

Even if you’ve never been to one, it’s pretty straightforward hey? Just invite a bunch of artists, sit around a big table and draw whoever is sitting across from you. Nobody is supposed to worry about accurate likenesses or being flattering. Anything goes as far as media or style. You shouldn’t be a perfectionist, approach it with a sense of fun. You are donating your own visage, in return for borrowing another person’s face.

In order to loosen up for the night I sketched a few students in my watercolor classes. (Which still has a few openings next session :) They were working an ‘open’ assignment, doing their own thing, so I stole some high speed impressions in between my walk-and-talk critique rounds. (Ballpoint and Kuretake #13 Brushpen).

13Nov24_SynStudents01

After last week’s drawing day at the Higgins Armory, some of the artists headed out for dinner. Immediately (without even asking) we brought out sketchbooks and began drawing each other.

13Nov22_Higgins_Armory (80)_x

13Nov24_ORATS_Higgins_Dinner01

Here’s Greg Shea, James Gurney and Gavin Baker.

The week before that I’d gone to a Montreal Drink and Draw party – and brought back these – done with Private Reserve water soluble inks.

13Nov24_Drink_and_Draw_MTL

So, what with all these social drawing situations I was thoroughly warmed up for USK:MTL’s official portrait party.

I brought three Canson 9×12″ watercolor blocks and just rotated through the sketches – switching whenever the paper was soaked, so they’d be mostly dry by the time I got back to the top of the rotation.

It was quite cold at our location – (you’ll see everyone is wearing scarves indoors). A chill always slows down drying time. I think that was actually an advantage – I ended up working more wet-in-wet than I would normally, which is handy inside the flesh tones. Though, strategically speaking, I’m still mostly following my wet-on-dry, Tea, Milk, Honey method of three passes of gradually richer washes.

13Nov24_PortraitParty_Benedictine

[Benedictine]

I think these are all good examples of my philosophy about drawing eyeglasses. Which is – as much as possible – don’t draw them at all.

I try to indicate the frames with open shapes – dashed arcs that do not close the outline of the lens. Hint at the thickness and the distortion of the glass, but don’t over emphasize the frames. Even when they are the chunky dark kind that are in fashion these days. Also, consider how the eyebrow often merges with the frame. And, don’t forget the cast shadow. Just like drawing the hair line, the arms and nose-piece might need a subtle, descriptive shadow.

13Nov24_PortraitParty_Lucy

[Lucy]

13Nov24_PortraitParty_Suzanne

[Suzanne}

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2013 1:22 pm

    Nice work Marc

  2. November 28, 2013 9:17 am

    very nice meeting you at the portrait party and all the others, nice group of artists. Thank you for this lovely portrait.

  3. December 10, 2013 9:15 am

    Excellent drawings and the concept of these parties sounds like creative fun. I liked the Benedictine drawing best. The hint of glasses is just right, less is often more in watercolor and prose. Listening to you speak about your visual craft helps me think more critically of mine as a writer. Thank you. :)

    • December 10, 2013 10:01 am

      That’s interesting – as I often read writers, on the subject of writing, but I’m thinking about painting. Most of the advice/thoughts apply to visual arts just as well, but writers, (naturally) can talk about it more lucidly than artists :)

  4. December 10, 2013 9:57 am

    Is there a Higgins Armory in Montreal? I had no idea! Or were you guys down in Worcester, MA for a day? In which case…would love to know if you’re planning another event in this area.

    • December 10, 2013 10:02 am

      Ah, yes we were in MA for the weekend. I can’t say when we’ll be back, that was a spur of the moment kind of thing – but if you subscribe to the blog, you’ll hear about events here first. I know there are some Urban Sketchers in Boston, so that’s another possibility.

      • December 10, 2013 10:08 am

        Cool – I will have to check that out :)

  5. December 10, 2013 10:56 am

    What awesome portraits! Very Very realistic, right?

  6. December 10, 2013 12:21 pm

    Unique illustration!

  7. December 10, 2013 1:40 pm

    Great drawing… floating lines – beautiful!

  8. December 10, 2013 2:59 pm

    I envy your talent.

  9. paintman721 permalink
    December 10, 2013 4:12 pm

    Love the balance and placement of these figures within the composition here, as well as the spontaneous (not overly detailed) rendering style of this artist! Well done…very fresh and interesting!

  10. smorris2948 permalink
    December 10, 2013 5:22 pm

    Reblogged this on Double Thump–The Silverbacks' Blog and commented:
    check this out.

  11. December 11, 2013 2:14 am

    This article is so good, I like this blog, Thank you very much for sharing

  12. December 11, 2013 7:44 am

    What a nice creative idea!

  13. December 12, 2013 2:50 pm

    Excellent drawings and the concept of these parties sounds like creative fun. I liked the Benedictine drawing best. The hint of glasses is just right, less is often more in watercolor and prose. Listening to you speak about your visual craft helps me think more critically of mine as a writer.

  14. December 15, 2013 1:26 pm

    It’s a great idea. The only uncomfortable thing is probably that every model is looking down :)

  15. January 4, 2014 3:19 pm

    Love the idea and the results of your efforts. Beautiful.

  16. January 9, 2014 2:20 am

    Reblogged this on Majo Workshop and commented:
    Wonderful Idea…love the work

  17. January 17, 2014 3:21 pm

    I would definitely look to join your group if I lived anywhere near you! Your drawings have great expressive quality–thoroughly enjoyable!

  18. February 17, 2014 2:34 pm

    Good thinking there

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