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Showing posts from 2011

Figure Drawing Resources

Drawing and painting skills used to be passed down from master to apprentice throughout the centuries. Students were thoroughly trained by drawing first from plaster casts and sculptures, next by copying the works of great masters, and finally moving to the live model. Today's art students are hard pressed to find a school that will teach good foundational skills before expecting them to churn out original concepts. But, for a person with a mind to learn the skills of the great masters, there are great resources out there: 1) Take a class at an atelier!  If you're lucky enough to live in or near a major city, chances are you live near a workshop taught by one of the rare few descendants of the atelier/academy system. Nothing beats experience with a live model and a live instructor that can point out how to improve your work during the process. There is a list of recommended ateliers, schools, and classes at the Art Renewal Center website:


I hope everyone is having a blessed Advent season. Here's another photo of the advent wreath I put together for my family: More blog entries to follow soon, I promise!

St. Francis, St. Patrick, St. Thomas Aquinas

Hello again! I recently had the chance to make good scans of some pen and ink projects I completed over the past few months. Here's a "master copy" of El Greco's St. Francis Recieving the Stigmata. I used pen and ink plus ink wash: Here is the completed St. Patrick drawing. I used cotton vellum paper to trace up the celtic knot border, pencil drawing of St. Pat, and text and make them one finished image:   And finally, here is St. Thomas Aquinas, the same as before, but a better quality scan: They are all formatted to the same size so that I can add them easily to my portfolio website the next time I make updates.

Portrait Drawing

It's been a busy few weeks! Here are the results of a 5-week portrait drawing class that I just completed at Gage Academy of Art.  We learned a lot about anatomy and proportion. Each pose was 2-3 hours long. I used charcoal pencil for the first two and pencil for the rest. My skills really improved with each class. We also had to draw a self portrait each week for homework, and this is the one that turned out the best:

Gregorian Chant

It's a rainy, cold, gloomy day here. People are even wearing coats outside in July. I'm inside with a cup of tea, a blanket, and some lovely Gregorian Chant: I've been very busy taking a portrait drawing workshop. It's only one evening a week for 5 weeks, but the homework is pretty intense and takes up my usual free time. Once I'm done I'll be able to post pictures so you can see my progress.


I was using both Google and Bing to search for images for another project, and I accidentally discovered   a beta Wikipedia of sorts containing images of famous public domain paintings, each available at various resolutions.  I was immediately able to find some great International Gothic and Renaissance art under the Christianity section. For example, Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter, painted by Pietro Perugino:

St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata

I'm doing a little research for a drawing I'd like to make of St. Francis receiving the Stigmata. I'm trying to see if there's a traditionally accepted iconography...figures, objects, postures, symbols, etc. that help tell the story, teach sound doctrine, and are consistent throughout Catholic art. I came across three examples by three artists that I very much enjoy. Going chronologically we have...  Giotto (c. 1295-1300, Italian) Van Eyck (c. 1430-1432, Netherlands) El Greco (c. 1585-1590) In each, there are definitely similarities. St. Francis wears the Franciscan habit of course, he is generally kneeling, displays Christ's wounds in his own praying hands, and is confronted by a vision of a 6-winged seraph bearing a crucifix. The differences are striking as well.  Giotto is painting during the Gothic era, and his image bears a Byzantine influence common to Italian painting at that time. St. Francis and Christ look almost like icons against a guilded backg


Sitting in a dentist's office waiting room today, I read a magazine article that referenced an important work that I hadn't heard of before... In 1593, Cesare Ripa (an Italian aesthetician) published Iconologia, a model book of allegorical figures.  There are short descriptions of the symbols and figures, followed by woodcuts of the figures which illustrate concepts such as virtues and vices, arts and sciences.  Some of the baroque masters, Vermeer for instance, referenced Ripa's work.  You can read it online here: