Monday, February 10, 2014

Sneak Peek 3 - The Road Less Traveled

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
                                 -- Robert Frost

 the "blocking-in" will take viewers from the initial gesture to the final contour drawing

When I was in the sixth grade I was introduced to three things that have had a profound influence on my life: the Folk Revival Movement (which, in turn, introduced me to the music of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie), the Great Outdoors (through our class' two-week "total immersion" stay in Muir Woods), and the evocative poetry of Robert Frost.

The latter taught me the pleasure to be found in seeking out alternatives to the mainstream and the well-warn path. And, in art, that eventually led to a fondness for working on toned paper -- which is a delight to work on, and produces eye-catching works, but has never seemed to be as popular among artists as its white paper "cousin."

the intermediate stage will see the buildup of light and shadow passages

It also just so happens that the Strathmore Artist Paper company produces two delicious lines of toned paper. So, when asked to come up with 4 lesson plans for my "Back to Basics" online workshop, I decided that toned paper might be the perfect subject for the final episode.

Since I had already addressed still life and cityscape as subjects, and weather had temporarily forced us indoors (where landscape wasn't a viable option), I chose portraiture as the subject for my final lesson. (However, participants are encouraged to select subjects based upon their own artistic interests and needs; toned paper will be the true focus of this lesson.)

participants will have an unobstructed view from my "shoulder cam"

The lesson starts off with a discussion of compositional options and an introduction to the paper and the medium used in the video. The introduction is then followed by the step-by-step demonstration -- alternating between over-the-shoulder "peeks"and close-ups of the drawing as it progresses from the initial "blocking in", through the gradual development of tonal areas, to the completion of the finished work. 

With the shooting and initial editing complete on my end (the final running time of each episode will be determined by the team at Strathmore) I can now turn my attention to completion of the "bonus" materials for each lesson. (Two bonus videos have already been completed for Lesson 1, and one for Lesson 3, while samples of alternate media and techniques are planned for Lessons 2 & 4.) And watch for a series of prolifically illustrated, workshop-specific posts right here beginning the first week in March.

you can be there as the finishing touches are added to the portrait demo

And, while we're waiting for things to get underway March 10, I'll be popping into the Forum/chat room at Strathmore (most likely every day) to meet new participants and see how everyone is doing. (We already have over 600 people signed up from 6 continents... although I'm still hoping that someone at one of the Antarctic research stations will decide to join us online.) I hope you'll be there too!



  1. I so like using toned paper. I haven't done a lot but I really like the results with what I've done. Looking forward to learning how to do "hair"! I'm never really thrilled with what I do with hair and figuring out when enough is enough!

  2. Which color tone do you like best, the tan or gray?

    1. Teri, I generally prefer the tan if I'm working with blue or black (and white) color pencils (or inks), and tan if I'm working with sanguine or bistre (and white) chalks or inks... and sometimes I've been known to venture farther afield by pulling out a full sheet of Strathmore pastel paper (great surface, more color options) and cut loose with oil pastels. :-D