Some Recent Work

A fellow member at the Keiser Collectors asked if I would link some of my work. Most of these are scattered throughout this blog, but I wanted to make one post that linked the ones I like the most.

Pencil Drawing

Pencil Drawing

I hope you, the reader, do not think of this as mass advertising or self promoting. I am just trying to link what I have in one spot so she can see it. I will probably take this down in a week or so. So here goes, the ones I really love I will put a narrative down to explain it a bit.

This pencil drawing was made in just under three hours. The overall image is about 8×10″ but I cropped the photo so that you could really see the detail of the model’s face. The model’s hair is amazing and you may be able to faintly see the earrings he was wearing, they were like tiny ivory tusks.

The paper is Gutenberg cream laid which was given a wash of ochre and then painted with a diluted solution of shellac. It probably sounds odd, but we use prismacolors which tend can be waxy. Using the shellac changes the surface and enables you to really add layers to your drawing with out the wax.

Nude Study (Gaiselle)

Nude Study (Graiselle)

The oil painting on the right is one of my favorites, it was the first one I made in Robert Liberace’s class that I actually liked. I used a RayMar panel (it is belgian linen that is double oil primed) which I love, these are relatively inexpensive, lightweight and the paint just slides right on them. I use these or unstretched linen taped to a Masonite panel because they are light, easy to transport and don’t require a lot of space to store.

Although the background looks blue it’s a blue-grey created by mixing lamp black with titanium white. The graisselle was made using varying amounts of brunt umber and brunt sienna with white. No other colors were used. The model’s head is a little large and frankly her chin should be lower, but I decided to stop while I was ahead. Her belly did pouch like this but that was mainly due to the angle I was at along with her pose.

Silverpoint Torso Study

Silverpoint Torso Study

This silverpoint study was created on the last day of a Robert Liberace Upper Anatomy workshop in April 2008. The drawing was made in a moleskine sketchbook (the heavy paper one). The surface was prepared using Pelikan’s Plaka an opaque white casein product that is water soluble.

The model’s name is Adam. He has a remarkable physique. When Rob was talking about the terres major (a muscle group near the shoulder blade) Adam was flexing his to really show you where it is and how it looks. He’s pretty remarkable.
Arm Study

Arm Study

I love silverpoint although frankly it’s difficult to use in classes since many times we only have the model for one evening.

This study was a quick pencil sketch of the back of Adam’s arm. It was drawn fairly quickly in my.
Although it photographs very blue (in real life it isn’t so it’s some idiosyncrasy of the camera), one of my favorite silverpoints is not (technically speaking) well executed. I just like the image of the outstretched arm. We were painting or drawing a model named Wayne. Robert Liberace uses way a lot and the model is featured in many of Rob’s paintings and drawings.
Angel's Wing Study

Angel Wing Study

I had a hard time that evening and gave up trying to draw his entire body and just focused on his arm, It reminds me of the studies of a bird’s wing which is outstretched. As I stated before it’s technically lacking and I can’t honestly say why I like it so much, I just do.



This next painting was made in Ted Reed’s class. Studying with Ted was challenging because he forced me to use powerful/bold colors and to use thick paint. The model in this picture is Alan. Although the skin may see to be very orange in the picture it was an accurate depiction/rendering of the color of Alan’s skin. The lighting was intense and very warm which mixed with the orange from his shirt that reflected onto his skin. This is probably the boldest I’ve ever been with oils.
I had started a 16×20″ painting of Alan that was an unmitigated disaster. Halfway through the second session, I gave up and started a portrait in profile on a toned raymar panel. I painted this in about two hours, I finished what I could because we only had him for the two sessions and I’d wasted one session with the full body painting. Although the color key is high and very different than what I usually use, I really liked this one.


The picture of Zukieka was painting in New Mexico when I first started painting with oils. I am placing this next to Alan’s portrait so that you can see the difference in technique. I think I’ve come a lot further but still have quite a bit to do. I’m also posting a few more pictures of things I worked on this year.
Seated Figure, Oil Study

Seated Figure, Oil Study

The painting on the right is an oil study of a male torso. I have to say that I love how the right arm of the model turned out. The left side of his torso looks odd, but he was twisted oddly and he moved a bit. The main thing I had to learn painting this was to simply be aware of how the smaller sections of light and shadow were interacting across his back.

Detail  From Seated Oil Study

Detail From Seated Oil Study

I included this close up of his right arm because I really liked how it looks. It makes me feel good because I can see how the anatomy workshops with Rob (Liberace) are starting to pay off for me. I may not be able to rattle off the names of the smaller structures (muscles/tendons etc) but I do understand what is below there and am now trying to correctly render what is visible and try to make sense of it.

This one study was completed in one session (3 hours) so it was a race against the clock. I’ve left it mounted on the board I painted it on (and the tape as well) simply because I like how it all looks together.

Charcoal Study

Charcoal Study

Finally, here is a charcoal study of a female nude. I lost it around her abdomen but I liked how her knees looked, I think the lighting was pretty dramatic.

A friend urged me to stay away from charcoal after this session, since it frustrated me to no end, I didn’t enjoy how dirty everything felt and I simply am not that good at it.

Ideally this gives you an idea of what I am working on and my skill range. I am still fairly new to oils, I’ve been painting about 2 1/2 years. I’ve drawn and doodled my entire life but drawing (and painting) from life is fun and incredibly challenging.

Hope you enjoyed the glimpse. I have several other works I like but I felt that this was more than enough to give an idea of what my work looks like; mostly figurative oils, pencil and silverpoint. Thanks for stopping by,

17 responses to “Some Recent Work

  1. No need to feel concerned about self-promoting and please don’t take them down; that’s what a lot of us go wandering the blogs for – to see the artist’s work. I love the top sketch; you are very skilled with human form.

  2. I like the torso’s and the seated figure is great. You paint quite well Michelle

  3. Thank you for the kind comments Triecia.
    I love the top sketch, the color looks a tad wonky because the paper was wavy.

  4. Thank you Michelle. I struggled with the torso and that right arm and wiped/repainted it sseveral times during the session. But I was really happy with how it and the right side of the torso came out. Not so happy with the left side. I think I have to learn how to edit some of the things that are visible but wouldn’t make sense to someone who wasn’t in the studio with the model.

  5. Interesting you felt frustrated with charcoal – that one is my fave.

  6. And I want to be good at it but not sure it’s going to work. I think I just need to loosen up a bit and let the drawing go where it will.

    My class headed over to the National Gallery and the archivists brought out several Sargent charcoal portaits and studies and they were beautiful and very powerful.

    Not sure if you’ve seen the newest drawing magazine but the cover by Kent Bellows is amazing. I think most of his work is graphite but there are some charcoals in it that are delicate.

  7. Oh really? Cool, I’m going to look for it. I’m jealous you got to see some Sargents up close!

  8. Actually if you will be in DC during business hours, you can make arrangements in advance to view the works that are either too fragile or currently not on display.

    The day we went we spent time in both the east and west wing of the national gallery. In the west wing we saw some beautiful etchings and drawings by Inges, Rembrant, quite a few italian masters as well as some wonderful french and english drawings. In the east wing they show us works by Easkins, Sergant, Whistler, and quite a few others.

    So, if you’re in the DC area and have a free week day call ahead. I believe you can even make arrangements to copy (I think using only pencil nothing liquid and I am not sure of pastels) the etchings/drawings.

  9. Wow, Cindy, these are wonderful. I wouldn’t have guessed that you’re new to any life drawing, since your line work and brush strokes seem so aptly placed, and bold.

    I *love* silverpoint too, but I’ve never heard of Pelikan’s Plaka??

    The charcoal drawing is lovely – don’t give up on it yet. It’s dirty – for sure, but there are so many ways to use it, and so many varieties (soft vine, hard sticks, powdered, etc.) Have you seen Scott Burdick’s paintings done with water and powdered charcoal on watercolor board? They’re amazmo.

    And I agree with the others – don’t take these down. They’re lovely. That torso study is awesome.

  10. Hi Belinda,
    No I will have to check on his work (Scott Burdick). After looking through the current drawing magazine I want to try it again 🙂

    Thank you for the compliments.

  11. Cindy – you really mustn’t take these down – they’re absolutely great and, as importantly, they’re also a huge incentive for people to try working from a model in class.

    I love all the work you’ve shown although I think I maybe like “seated figure, oil study” best. I also like your explanations of how you approached them and what worked, what didn’t and why you like each work.

    I think I know the problem you’re having with the works on paper and I have a solution. I think I maybe need to do a blog post about photographing and processing images from life class/drawing class……

    Please can you say more about the Plaka. I’m also a great fan of silverpoint but have never heard of Plaka.

    I’m going to be listing this post in my ‘who’s made a mark this week’ post as I think a lot of people would get a real incentive to try going to class and working from a model if they saw your work in this post.

  12. Gratz, Evil One. I saw you were linked by Katherine over at Making a Mark, so well done!

    Having known you since were were .. err … in situ so to speak, and witnessed the devlopment from Miss Bell’s first grade class (remember stick people in stick houses? I remember your first purple sun you drew!) to what you are doing now leaves me beathless and very proud!

    I’m amazed at how incredible you’ve become since you started studying with Robert Liberace. I find it interesting that I’ve moved away from humans as subjects into botanicals you did in watercolor and you’ve moved into it. And you are doing my favorite thing, metalpoint. Since you get more exposure than me, ago ahead and take the metalpoint page, with the recipes, and repost it all here. Might want to add Liberace’s Casien method too, since I haven’t updated yet to reflect my experiments with it. (

    I’m proud of your work and I demand some drawings, an oil painting or two, etc so I can properly show you off to my friends. I am so proud of you, even if you are the evil twin!

    Much love,

  13. PS… the Crane… I framed it yesterday, after years it finally went to a mild sepia pantina, and it is finally up on the wall. S is borrowing the apple she made me for the Denever Botanic Gardens Botanic Illustration student show. I’m still slogging away at Golden Chinese Rain Tree pods for the show. Sadly I can’t do metalpoint for it as it must be a medium they instruct in. (Mervi is trying to get a workshop brought in to teach silverpoint.) Anyway I am stuck in graphite.

    The crane is probably going to stay in Boulder forever. But I will re-draw it in 24kt gold for you since I don’t like the wing and I want to redo it for you. Expect a 10 x 10.

    Much Love

  14. Hello Katherine and Belinda,
    I am trying to find an online source for the Plaka so I can link it. My twin sister told me she’d gone all over Boulder CO looking for it and the art stores told her Pelikan doesn’t make it anymore.
    It’s hard to find locally and when I see it I usually grab one or two bottles. I am planning on driving to the art store today to track some down.
    Basically plaka looks like think white mud and is that consistency. it’s casien and you can thin it with water (which I often have to do to get it to a workable/paintable consistency). You can also put some in a saucer/bowl and mix in watercolor to tint it. I found that cerulean blue seems to work best and gives you a wonderful soft sky blue; but I am certian you could use any color as a tint.

    As soon as I find a souce either on line or local to DC I will post it.

    Katherine- thank you agian for the kind mention in your blog. I’d sent me sister Penny to it yesterday to see your amazing peony drawing. 🙂

    Penny- I sent the package of yesterday with several sketches from in class and I have to figure out how to get Zuleika to you. I think it’s best if you come and visit me and take it home! 😉

  15. Penny
    Hmm, you should talk to Rob -he is teaching silverpoint at studio incamminati this weekend.
    I think if they could host him (he usually travels with Lina and his two daughters) and work out the details I think he’d do it. You guys could cohost it with the atelier in Boulder? (he mainly does figurative work so not sure how it will work).

    Do you want me to ask him about it? any idea of how many students?

  16. Pingback: Evolution at Measure by Measure

  17. wait!!!!!!

    There were no oil studies or paintings in that box! I demand oil studies and paintings!!!!

    When I finish the two drawings for the show I’ll do up your birthday crane, but it will be late.

    Will also measure out the consitutate materials for the ground formulas this weekend.

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