Father and child

Father & daughter

This time I was determined to visit the art supply store on my own. I did not want to bore the others to tears and nor did I want to rush over what was a big treat for me. I did pick up a few new things to try and one of them was transparent photo colours – warm brown and black. I discovered today that the brown has lovely shades of pink and rose in it.

My niece with her father.  She is frowning in this one too but I couldnt capture that.  I was worried about using too many dark lines on her face.  Used a photo reference. Pen & Ink with a wash of warm brown Camel tranparent photo colour in my sketchbook.


Last day at TASL

Model 3 Model 3 Model 3

Ever the optimist, I made some notes on the colors of the setup.

5th week 2nd model

Managed to do a quick sketch of the second model in class. I’m thinking that I would’ve enjoyed the next two weeks too 😀

A few things that were learnt/reinforced during this month

1. make many starts

2. pay attention to the negative spaces

3. for the figure be aware of the balance – the triangle between the base of the neck and the two armpits.

4. something as basic as – use a palette knife to put fresh paint onto the mixing area and clean brushes every so often and use many.

One thing that was recommended but I didnt try, was to use a midtone gray as the base color for the palette instead of plastic white or natural wood.  Or to use a sheet painted midtone gray placed underneath a plexiglass or clear glass palette.  I will try this with the next painting that i do from home.

End of week 4 at TASL

Edilma 3 Edilma Pose 2 - 2

I didnt manage to get too much done in week 4. Did some work on the portrait. I think I needed to work further on the highlights. Looking at it now I can see a lot of things that I should’ve kept in mind while trying to paint her face. The forehead looks flat. The left side of her mouth doesnt correspond to the curve on the right.

The second pose is incomplete. I’ve also lost the feel of her sitting down in the chair which was there earlier. I dont know what I was thinking.

I asked Edilma which one she liked and she chose the portrait. I thought that she would like the pen sketch. I think I like the portrait too. 😀

I have one more day but it will be with a new pose. I’m thinking of doing some sketches.

Edilma – End of Week 3 at TASL

Edilma and Mike are the models in class for the next two weeks. This time I had the opportunity to pick a spot where there was a play of light and shadow.
Eldjuma Pen & Ink

I did a pen&ink sketch of Edilma first.

Eldjuma Portrait 1Eldjuma Portrait 2Eldjuma 2 & 1/2 :D

and then started what was supposed to have been a quick oil sketch but i just kept on going as I wasnt happy with it. at the end of day 2 I discovered that the nose was too short. wiped it out along with the lower part of her face but then had to deal with the dark outlines of the earlier drawing of her lips which now fall in the upper lip region. i then made the mistake of trying to wipe just that spot out with turpentine and now there is a distinct patch which has several layers of paint missing and the outline of earlier lip remains visible 😀 Keeping up with the moving pony-tail target has been funny. I’m looking forward to see where it is at on Monday.
Mike Pen & Ink

our model came in late on a couple of days and I took the opportunity to do a pen&ink of Mike. this was my second attempt.

Eldjuma Pose 2 - 1

decided to take a break from the earlier painting. this second one is being made on a larger piece of canvas. The chair she is sitting on is the same as that used by Claudia but this one has a lovely green satin cloth draped over it.

End of Week 2 at TASL

1. Claudia Portrait 3

Claudia Portrait 3
This has replaced the blue lady.

2. Black & White? 1 & 2
Claudia B&W 1 Claudia B&W
I wanted to do this one using just two colors – black and white. I dont think I’d taken the nature of the oil paints into account. I kept making changes and soon there was gray. The next day I made a few more changes and then added the two reds. The size is small – approx 8 X 10 and I forced myself to use no. 8 brushes to avoid getting into the details. Wasnt very successful in preventing an attempt at making those details 😛 I still went ahead and tried to make 1mm sized lips and eyes 😀

I think I need to get back to completing the Tonal and Value exercises given by Charles Sovek in Oil Painting : Developing your Natural Abilities.

3. Oil Sketch – Different position / angle
Claudia Sketch
I have been given good advice by Bob Martin to retain the starts so that I can see the progress and changes at the end. I stopped on the above two and started this sketch. It was the last day of this pose and so I chose an empty spot to look at Claudia from a different angle. Next 2 weeks we will be having a new pose.

The post with earlier versions of poses with this model are here. An easier place to check them out side-by-side would be on Flickr here.

A month at The Art Students League of New York

Decided that I would take an art class this summer while visiting my sisters in NY. I had read in art instruction books about famous artists and great teachers like Robert Henri, John Sloan, Kimon Nicolaides and many others teaching at The Art Students League. I took a look at their site and discovered that they continue to have internationally recognized, professional artists taking classes. And the most exciting part is that you can take a class for just a month!

I have signed up for one month of 5 evenings a week of Painting from Life, Portraiture, Composition, Color with Mary Beth McKenzie. The school follows the atelier system and the instructor is available on 2 days a week for criticisms and discussions and the rest of the time the class is managed by two monitors.

One week of this class is up and I’m putting below what I’ve done so far. I spent the first day making sketches as I was waiting for my supplies to arrive from Dick Blick but that’s another story. The second day was a holiday and the next three I spent working on 2 canvases.

Claudia on stretched canvas 2Claudia on stretched canvas 3
Claudia portrait on canvas 1Claudia portrait on canvas

In my ignorance I put more color and almost no turpentine on my first borrowed canvas to cover the painting that was already on it. Discovered to my horror that it was too wet for me to paint on the next day and so I started a portrait on a smaller piece of canvas. Ms McKenzie said that I’d made a good start and her advice was to do several such starts till I got familiar with the medium. She also added that i should use lots of paint as this would help me to learn more about the medium.

On Friday, I wiped clean the second one and tried again but with little success. The model will hold the pose for 2 weeks and so i have another week to make several more attempts to get it right.

I look forward to feedback so do leave me your comments.



I found a book on “Picasso’s Portraiture” which I fully intended to read. His photograph was on page one and I went no further that night. The drawing has been dated incorrectly. I made it on the 4th of July.

Revisiting Amina


I’m hoping to make another attempt at painting and this is a preliminary sketch to see if the next one will be and improvement on the last.

I used General’s Carbon Pencil for the first time on this sketch and fell in love with it. Runs on smoothly almost like a crayon and has the “black” of a stick of charcoal without the mess. 8″ X 10″ in my sketchbook.


First attempt – June 25th
Uma 1

Second attempt – July 2nd
PICTURE2LIFE.COM - 7/18/2006 3:46:50 AM
Not even a month old but her one look, a small gurgle has us dancing around in circles. I hope to do better ones and many more while here.

A journey begins

amina 3

It all started thanks to my younger sister, Gala.

I had taken some drawing lessons in Feb and was stuck on wanting to paint but couldn’t/hadn’t taken the first step. And it was around then that I came to visit my sister in July 2004. She sort of nudged me to it by giving me a large

amina 2amina 1

canvas (4′ X 3′), her paint supplies, an easel and space in her studio. And that seemed to have been all the encouragement I needed. I painted over 2 days pausing only because i hoped the paint would dry the next day.

The first effort didn’t quite go the way I wanted it to and each subsequent effort seemed to steadily take it away from the original. In the end, I felt that the first effort had been the best! But that’s not as important as the the fact that I fell in love with the feel of painting and decided that this was something that i wanted to pursue.

And when a few months later I was stuck in a hotel, remembering this experience pushed me to locate an art supply shop and start painting in earnest. I chose acrylics having decided that oils took too long to dry and turpentine would be toxic in a closed room 😀