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Friday, May 13, 2011

Carolyn Anderson workshop (part 2)

The two images shown here are detail sections of portraits I did in the Carolyn Anderson (totally awesome!) workshop. I'm showing the close-ups to illustrate what I think was one of the most important things I learned: how to paint soft eyes and mouths.

There is such a strong pull (for me) to carefully draw in the shapes of things and then fill them in. Carolyn likens this to walking down a hallway slamming doors of possibility closed behind you. (I like to call it safety.) But I was there to learn, so when I caught myself doing that in the workshop,  I would intentionally drag off a couple of edges or bring the values really close together where edges met.

 She also encouraged keeping the larger shapes of light and shadow open (not outlined and filled in). In her words "it's important to maintain the integrity of the dimension of the shapes." I had to bend my mind around that one, but essentially I think I got her meaning. In order to create dimension (the feeling of things "filling up space" and having 3 dimensional form, as well as the feeling of the space itself), edge variety is critical (soft, hard, lost - and interesting shape of line when there is one.)

Just a few things to be thinking about once you get past the easy part of getting the drawing, color, and value right. :-)


  1. Love that you posted close-up details of these great paintings Liz. And just the kind of advise I need to ponder as I incubate how to proceed with the double portrait I'm struggling with!

  2. So beautiful Liz! I was in a figure painting class with Nancy Chaboun this week. I read this blog post to the class. Then Nancy showed us some of Carolyn's work. Amazing.

  3. Carol I love that you shared Carolyn's wisdom (via my learning) with your class. This so perfectly portrays the enormous value of social media to share knowledge on a global scale.

  4. My tagline this summer (while I am peddling my work) will be "Send an artist to Scottsdale". I've been wanting to you have just fanned the flames.

  5. I love the way you do skin tones. The reflections and light on the face are fabulous. I love how the face seems to glow. The pieces are very expressive and full of emotion.

  6. Absolutely gorgeous portraits, Liz. Love your loose, skillful brushwork. Will test out a few of your ideas in portrait studio this week. Thank you so much for sharing what you learned from the workshop.