Monday, April 11, 2011

Charcoal Portrait Demo

Hey all I recently did a Portrait demo in charcoal to promote my solo show and to let everyone know I'll be teaching a portrait workshop this summer. Salem Art Works has asked me to teach a three day Portrait workshop in August from the 12th to the 14th. Classes will start at 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm.

This workshop offers a classical approach to portraiture. The first day of class will consist of learning how to block-in a portrait. The second and third days of the workshop will focus on constructing and rendering a portrait. The instructor will give demonstrations and individual guidance to each student through every step of the process, assisting participants at their own level.

Fee: $120 Students are expected to bring their own materials. Contact the office for a detailed list.

Salem Art Works
19 Cary Lane
Salem, New York 12865
Phone: 518.854.7674
Fax: 518.854.7684
For Workshops and Artist Programs Inquiries please email

First 20 Minutes

I started at a rapid pace just sketching the angles and major masses that I was seeing in front of me. My academic training would have urged me to take measurements and plot point. Because this was just a demo and I wasn't being commissioned for the work I decided to have some fun. 

work in progress
Now I did this drawing in the local coffee shop in Lakeville, MA. Somethin's Brewin' is one of my favorite places to get my morning Coffee. They are really great and love to promote local artist and small businesses. As far as ideal studio conditions it would not be my first choice but I was able to work from a consistent natural light. Typically I like to draw with the model elevated to my eye level and sight-size

40 minutes 
After I roughed in some general shapes I now have enough information to start refining the contours and planes of the drawing. The beauty of charcoal is that it is easy to push around and shape. I find that if I keep things loose in the beginning I'm less attached and I don't think twice if have to erase something that is wrong.

Tristen is making sure that I'm not turning her into Quasimodo

I'm heightening the drawing with White Chalk
The final Drawing
So after about three and a half hours this is what I came up with. I had a lot of fun and made a few more friends in the process. I would have loved to have more time with this but happy I was able to do this much. Hopefully Tristen will pose for some more paintings in the future.


  1. I love how you showed your process. It was very informative and interesting. Your portrait is so mysterious and haunting. The dark marks in the background are very soft and ethereal. Very beautiful!

  2. Thank you Shelley. I hope to make some more portraits in charcoal soon. I forgot how much I love it,