Portrait Drawing: Workshop with David White 4 February 2012

What a wonderful day! Seven hours of drawing and creating surrounded by David White‘s very impressive portrait works. It is enough to inspire anyone.

I was working under the intense gaze of this guy (Detail only):

"Dark Portrait" by David White

"Dark Portrait" by David White: Oil on Canvas

The painting is huge and I gazed at it many times during the day, scrutinising the use of colour and expressiveness of the eyes.

Morning Session: Charcoal Sketch

Our model for the day was artist Ray Harrington. During the morning session we did a charcoal sketch with the aim of emphasising the structure of the skull.

Charcoal drawing of Ray Harrington: First hour

Charcoal drawing of Ray Harrington: First hour

 

Charcoal Drawing of Ray Harrington: Second hour

Charcoal Drawing of Ray Harrington: Second hour

You can see that in the second hour I was trying to define the shape of the skull, particular on either side above the eyes and also under the cheeks. I used cross contour hatching to define the shape of the head. (I will discuss cross contour hatching in my next workshop so keep an eye out!) I started with willow charcoal in the first hour and moved onto the darker and less forgiving compressed charcoal in the second hour. I also used some white conte for the midtone and touches of white pastel for lighter areas.

Afternoon session: the large experiment

David creates amazing portraits using a mixed media technique. He starts with a detailed drawing in willow charcoal, covers it with a watercolour wash and then draws over it with Sennelier oil pastels. Here are a few examples of his works using this technique.

"Jerome" by David White (Detail)

"Jerome" by David White (Detail)

 

"Maliangappa Man"  by David White (Detail)

"Maliangappa Man" by David White (Detail)

"Aristotle" by David White (Detail)

"Aristotle" by David White (Detail)

The portraits are large – approximately 110cm x 89cm – and make a bigger impact when seen in life.

David very kindly gave me one of his huge sheets of paper and allowed me to use his beloved Senneliers to have a go at this technique. I only had 3 hours to complete it which, given the size, was unfortunately not enough time for me. I liked working on that scale – the eyes were so huge as to not require fiddly work – but I didn’t have enough room to step back an look at the work from a distance. I find it hard to gauge how the drawing is going if I can’t stand back from it.

Here is my effort. Not too bad for using oil pastels for the first time but I wasn’t all that happy with it. I’m comparing it to David’s work… ┬ábut have to remember that he has been doing this for a significantly longer time than I have.

Charcoal under-sketch: starting the wash

Charcoal under-sketch: starting the wash

 

Portrait Drawing at the end of the workshop

Portrait Drawing at the end of the workshop

I found the oil pastels a challenge. I am used to being able to cover a large area quickly with my soft pastels. The oils required either a hatching or scribbling approach. In my frenzy to get it anywhere near completed, I opted for the scribbly technique. Very energetic. And still not finished.

Back into the comfort zone of my soft pastels, I think!

 

You can see larger and complete images of David’s oil pastel works here.

 

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Related posts:

  1. Portrait Drawing My Way: Workshop 1 – Loosen up!
  2. Creation of a Portrait Painting: Work in Progress “Girl with Watermelon”

4 Comments

Filed under Pastel Paintings and Drawings, Portrait Paintings, Portraits

4 Responses to Portrait Drawing: Workshop with David White 4 February 2012

  1. Caitlin

    That is what that was!:):):):):):):):):)

  2. Kazza

    The eyes really are windows to the soul in his oil pastel portraits! Are you going to give oil pastels another go?

    • Hey Kazza! I just got my new oil pastels and have done my first sketch (posted to my Facebook page). It’s like painting with lipstick!

  3. Pingback: Giving Oil Pastels Another GoJulia Sattout

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