Saturday, December 7, 2013


Diane Toso
Yesterday students made drawings of one textured object in the morning and small still life compositions in the afternoon. Diane's drawing above is one from the afternoon. The objective was to employ "cropping" in order to activate the negative areas strengthening the dynamics of the composition. The pod in the lower left balances the dark negative shape in the upper right. In addition, she has engaged all sides of the composition by isolating all the negative areas of the table top thus elevating their importance.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Morgan Caricchio
Once again, students made small arrangements of 3 to 5 objects to draw. Morgan has very effectively employed "cropping" within the composition above. The forms and shapes all work as interlocking elements of the "whole." In particular, notice how the black areas establish a rhythm moving from positive (the dots) to negative (cast shadows and background).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

COMPOSITION: Balance and Cropping

Grantt Miksis
Last night, students continued with compositional studies exploring balance and cropping in preparation for the final project. Grantt's drawing above has effectively activated the negative areas by cropping the wooden forms. We enter the drawing on the left and follow the overlapping forms to the right. This rhythm is reenforced by the repeating circle motif seen in the two central circles followed by the open circle in the bottom right. The drawing is strengthened by the full range of values and textural elements.


Brandon O'rourke
Last Wednesday, students made drawings of skulls and employing "cropping", (allowing the subject to go outside the edge of the paper). The objective was to engage the negative areas of the composition. In Brandon's drawing above the black areas of the composition is divided by the antlers creating a series of triangular shapes.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Last night was the last class for working on the Imaginary Space drawings. We will look at them first thing on Wed. Also take note that portfolios are due next week. Check out the Portfolio Review tab above for the list of drawings and due dates.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

HOMEWORK #8 Texture

This drawing is to be completed in your sketchbook. In a 4 x 5 in. format, using graphite pencils, draw a "continuous field" composition of an actual texture. Your image should be similar to the one above in that there is no reference to the exterior shape of the object, only the texture zoomed in to fill the rectangular format. A "continuous field" composition touches all sides of the format. Bare in mind that "texture" drawings are essentially "value" drawings. Pay close attention to contrast and gradations. It will help to set up a strong, single directional light source.


Emily Sanfilippo
Students completed work on their Imaginary Space drawings yesterday. Emily's drawing above is balanced by the triangulation of the stairs as well as the cube in the upper left, the table and the balcony area on the right. The varying heights of all the elements within the space create a strong up and down and side to side rhythm not unlike a game of tetris.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Students of the M/W class began work on the Imaginary Space project. They will continue working on these all week.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Students began working on the Imaginary Space project. For more info click the tab above on Linear Perspective. We will continue working on them next week.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

TEXTURE: Simulated Texture

Alex Gabriel
Last night students made drawings of textural objects (i.e. bark, leaves, pine cones, feathers, etc.) Alex's drawing above is rich with value and mark-making. Swirling and flowing marks capture the fluidity of the wood grain. Texture drawings are essentially value drawings so contrast is key to capturing the subtle variations of color and volume. Furthermore, the success of Alex's drawing is due in part to his use of additive as well as reductive drawing techniques. Notice how the light areas "pop" through the marks and darker tonalities.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

HOMEWORK #8: Self-portrait

With the aid of a mirror, draw a self-portrait on 18 x 24 in drawing paper. You may use any media.You may create a traditional portrait (below) or one that is more narrative based as in the drawing at the bottom. Be imaginative.


Nelson Le
Class began Friday morning with a discussion on the proportions of the head and the "Rule of Thirds." You can clearly see in the planar study above how Nelson was comparing the locations of the features to one another.
Allison Brooke
After making some planar studies and reviewing slides, students drew from a projected skull and then superimposed a classmates portrait on top. Allison's drawing above still reveals the skull structure underneath the portrait of Dante. In addition to this structure provided by the skull, her mark-making and handling of the charcoal materials and eraser are very complementary to the volumes of the face.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Justin Horgan
Students continued drawing portraits last night. Justin's drawing above exhibits a very strong and bold sense of weight and volume. The additive and reductive drawing techniques skillfully capture the advancing and receding planes of the face. Justin's handling of the materials has effectively created  an almost carved or sculptural appearance.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

PORTRAITS: Proportions and the Rule of Thirds

Grantt Miksis "Morgan Caricchio"
Last night students began work on Portraiture. We discussed "The Rule of Thirds", which is a guide to the proportions of the face. In a frontal view, the face may be divided into equal thirds. Starting with the hair line to the brow then to the bottom of the nose and lastly to the chin. Everyone more or less fits into these proportions. We began with a couple of planar studies and then to the skull. The drawing above was superimposed over the top of a skull drawing. This not only lays the foundation for the structure of the face but helps get the portrait going by adding some dimension and volume.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

COLOR: Still Life

Dante Altamirano
On Friday, students made color drawings from an arrangement of their own choosing. Dante's drawing above illustrates a momento mori or reminder of death and the afterlife. Throughout art history the skull has been used as a symbol of death. The fruit in the composition symbolizes the transience of life. And the watery background suggests a great unknown abyss. The impressionistic and expressive handling of the materials adds to the element of time and memory.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

HOMEWORK #6: Color Still Life

Mike Koonce
Draw a still life of at least 5 to 7 small (real) objects using colored pencil on black paper. Choose a color scheme that complements the subjects in mood and/or function. Pay attention to compositional balance, negative space and eye level. Paper size approx. 18 x 24 in. In the drawing above, Mike has grouped objects to the right which would seem imbalanced. Although, the placement of the small bottle on the left in the foreground is a perfect counterweight when combined with the fabric. The yellow reflections and hints of blue connect with the colors and accents throughout the composition.

COLOR: Still Life

Iris Lopez
Students finished up working on their personal still life arrangements in color. Iris took a more contemporary approach to dealing with space. Rather than creating a grounded and realistic sense of space, the objects float, swirling around like a seen from an early Sam Rami movie. Notice how you are lead from similar objects (jack-o-lantern to jack-o-lantern) as well as colors (blue of the eyeballs to the blue die). The frenzied and electric-like mark-making around the forms adds to the floating quality as well as the energy of the image.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

COLOR: Still Life

Last night students made still life arrangements of three or more objects to be rendered in colored pencil. They will continue working on the drawings Wed. Pix to follow.

Monday, October 28, 2013

INK: Wash and COLOR

Last Friday students made ink wash drawings in the morning and colored pencils studies in the afternoon.
Victoria Castaneda
Victoria has discovered the medium that works best for her. In this drawing, she has balanced the values well while creating a very interesting sense of space. The layered mark-making in the white paint can and dark funnel are particularly well rendered with clarity and definition.
Emily Sanfilippo
Emily has very effectively addressed the whole page while developing volumetric and luminous objects. The ball is especially well drawn. Take note of the full and skillfully rendered categories of light.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

HOMEWORK #5: Ink Drawings in your Sketchbook

In your Sketchbook, draw 3 to 5 small objects (from observation) arranged in a composition using India ink. Employ the various techniques discussed in class. You may use only one technique or a combination. Strive for volume addressing the categories of light. You may also add wash.

COLOR: Dice and Balls

Morgan Caricchio

Sarena Dunn
Last night students began working with colored pencils on black paper. Each student had a still life of one die, one ball and a letter or number to hold the ball in place. When working on toned paper of any color or value, one should take advantage of what that tone provides. On black paper, you are working from dark to light. The opposite of working on white paper. The shadows are already present, you just need to create the lighter tonalities around them.
Morgan's drawing (top) has a more open and grainy application of the pencil. Much more of the paper is revealed through her marks than in Sarena's drawing (bottom). Sarena has heavily applied the pencil in the objects with a more open application in the table and background. Both drawings exhibit a strong, bold and dramatic sense of light. This is a benefit of working on black paper. In addition, both students have employed layered and expressive marks that add dynamics and energy to the compositions.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

INK: Wash Drawing

Angel Ortiz
Last night students made drawings employing the Wash and Brush technique. India ink was diluted with water and applied to the entire surface of the paper except areas to remain white. The drawing was then dried with a hair dryer and successive layers of ink wash applied until the desired tonalities were achieved. Angel's drawing above exhibits a bold sense of light with clean, crisp values. The water can is especially well rendered. Take note of the bands of values addressing the categories of light.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

INK: Exquisite Corpse and Still Life

Friday morning began with  a round of the Exquisite Corpse followed in the afternoon with a still life. In all the excitement of the day, I forgot to get photos. See the post from Monday and Wednesday's classes for examples.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

INK: Still Life

Nicole Tabor
Last night students continued working with pen and ink. Nicole's drawing demonstrates the parallel hatching and cross-hatching techniques. We've already discussed the benefits of contrasting values to establish depth and define edges of shapes and forms. In addition to this, when using ink, you may also use various techniques and the direction of the "marks" to illustrate objects and their location. For example, the small jar in the foreground exhibits arcing, parallel lines moving across the contour. In contrast, the gas can behind it exhibits contrasting values as well as the cross-hatch technique.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

INK: The Exquisite Corpse

Last night students began working with India Ink. For the introduction of wet media, we played the Surrealist game, the "Exquisite Corpse." It is a game of collaboration requiring a minimum of three players. One for the head, one for the torso and one for the legs. Like all Surrealist games it is based on irrational thought and combinations pulled from the subconscious. Aside from the game, the objective was to explore various value and textural techniques in a fun and inventive way and to gain a better understanding of what it is to work with a wet medium.

Friday, October 11, 2013

HOMEWORK #4: The Place Setting

On 18 x 24 in. drawing paper using graphite pencils make a drawing of a meal setting. Your still life should be the "before or after" setting of a meal. Create an asymmetrical composition including plate(s), glassware, silverware, etc. You may also include cereal boxes or condiment bottles, etc. for a stronger narrative. Be imaginative and creative. (Look closely and study the compositions above. These are all exceptional drawings.)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


All this week students will be working on midterm drawings and participating in portfolio reviews. Here are some examples from previous semesters. The objective of the midterm drawings is for students to display their understanding of the concepts pertaining to line, value, positive and negative shape and composition.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

HOMEWORK #3 Local Value

Frank Vallin

Mike Koonce
On 18 x 24 in. drawing paper using graphite pencils make a drawing addressing the local values of at least three objects. The still life should consist of one dark object, one mid-toned object and one light object. While addressing the local values, illustrate the categories of light as well. The two drawings above are stellar examples of this project. Take note of the full, rich rendering of value and texture as well as the attention to negative space (i.e. background). Frank has worked the entire surface with additive and reductive drawing whereas Mike has vignetted the still life with horizontal bands. Both approaches are acceptable and more importantly very effective when done well.


Angelica Cortez
Yesterday students of the Friday 7A class made drawings addressing the value patterns observed in a still life of black, gray and white objects. Angelica's drawing above is composed well and exhibits balance among similar objects as well as in the negative areas. Notice how the long cast shadows balance the darks of the upper left hand corner. She has very effectively used value for dramatic effect evoking a moonlit scenario. In addition, Angelica illustrates a more expressive or "painterly" application and manipulation of the materials.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Daniela Abed
Last night students continued with studying value patterns. Upon entering Daniela's drawing at the funnel in the foreground, you are immediately pushed to the stacked funnels on the left, mostly by association and likeness but also by the direction of the funnel spout in the foreground. The white areas and forms then direct your eye diagonally to the right. The subtleties in tone and the attention to shadow are beautifully rendered but it's the attention to the negative areas that really sets the space for this drawing. Notice how the negative areas around the still life "loosely" follow the edges as if the objects were laying on a pillow. The dark areas between the objects and under the inside of the tilted funnel are skillfully balanced against the black funnel and pipe in the background.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Last night students made drawings addressing value patterns observed across a still life. The objective was to establish a rhythm with the placement of similar values throughout the composition.
Sarena Dunn
Sarena's drawing above exhibits a well balanced composition rich with value and textural variation. The combination of additive and reductive techniques addresses the light and weight of objects while providing dark and moody atmospheric conditions. The real strength in the drawing is the attention she has given to the negative areas. The spaces between the objects are like little cave openings allowing the "eye" to travel through the space. The tonal variations in the background are atmospheric in quality and envelop the objects holding them in the space.
Patty Camara
Patty's combination of man-made, geometric forms accented with organic reed-like marks suggests a surrealist still-life arrangement. The alternating light and dark forms tumble the "eye" across the composition while the two black areas pull the "eye" up and down. The reed-like marks create a whimsical and fantastic sense of light giving the objects a more powerful, almost magical, character. Both of these drawings have effectively used value for dramatic effect as well as to create volume and depth.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

VALUE: Local Value and Rendering Light

Kyle Sullivan
Friday morning began with studies made from two white objects rendered in graphite pencil. In the upper left hand corner students drew value scales of six tones. Kyle's drawing illustrates the design qualities achieved with more than one light source realized in the multiple cast shadows. This would normally reveal artificial lighting but Kyle has transformed the table top into a barren, surreal landscape suggesting the presence of two suns.
Patricia Baskerville
After the lunch break, students made drawings emphasizing Light by employing a single, directional hatch or scribble gesture. Patricia's drawing is rich and varied with its swirling, frantic web of lines. The dark mass in the background is reminiscent of a foreboding storm moving inward. Notice how she has reenforced the negative areas between objects creating dark passages for the "eye" to wander and move through.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

VALUE: Rendering Light

Brandon O'rourke
Artist's may make work that emphasizes light patterns or volume. When working with a technique that is uncomplementary to the planar structure of an object (ex. straight cross-contours on a round form), the light is emphasized over volume. Placement of tonalities is determined by the planes of an object so you can't have light without volume but you can place emphasis on one over the other.
Last night students made drawing emphasizing Light. Brandon's drawing above illustrates a single, parallel hatch technique. Notice how he has juxtaposed a dark, receding background against lighter, advancing objects. The dark background also balances the darks of the cast shadows. Although the objects reveal subtle volumes, the single hatch technique is more complementary to the light patterns than it is to volume because of the straightness of the line against a curvilinear form.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

VALUE: Modeling

Ashley Kiefer

Connor Brusseau
Last night students made drawings addressing the value transitions across a curvilinear form (bottle) and a rectilinear form (block). Rounded forms will have smooth, gradual transitions in tonalities whereas forms with angles will exhibit abrupt changes in tone.
Ashley's drawing above illustrates an exaggerated intensity in value which is very complementary to the surrealistic shadows and space. The shadows seam to reveal the true character or secret life of the objects.
Connor's drawing is a more objective rendering of the forms. The limited tonal range creates a calm and realistic sense of the space as if light were cast through a window. In addition, he has addressed the negative space with subtle atmospheric rendering defining the table surface and enveloping the objects.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Serena Dunn (Monday/ Wednesday)
Students began work on the Subjective Value drawings. This project is loosely based on the concepts of Cubism and Surrealism. The objective is to create a fractured composition of many, interlocking shapes - like a puzzle. That's the Cubist part. To basically breakdown and reassemble your subject randomly, again, like scattered puzzle pieces. But first, the process starts with the Surrealist approach to drawing called Automatism. Making large arm movements (drawing from you shoulder), draw across the paper, zig-zagging and looping back, cropping and enclosing shapes. If you follow the edges of the shapes in the two drawings here, you should get the idea. From there the image may take the form of a Cubist-like portrait or remain a non-objective design. It's important to find the image within the lines rather than "project" your idea onto the paper. The shapes are then filled with values applied additively as well as reductively using a variety of charcoal materials.
Serena's drawing above is texturally rich exhibiting a variety of mark-making techniques. The composition swoops and swirls around like rising and falling waves. As the curling forms part, passages of patterns and smaller forms are revealed.
Christina Rehberg (Friday)
Christina's drawing exhibits a tornado-like swirling rhythm. The high contrast between the black and white areas makes the drawing "pop." The shapes are very well balanced between size and value creating a unified and clear composition.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Friday morning began with some gesture warm-ups. Miranda's drawing above demonstrates the Scribble technique. Notice how she has rendered mass as well as a sense of light and place by including a cast shadow and a few strategically placed marks suggesting a ground plane.
From there we moved on to Proportions. Starting with one object and evolving to an arrangement of three objects. The important thing about proportions is "believability." They don't have to be perfect but they shouldn't be so off to draw attention. Notice in Allison's drawing the importance of all the lines. Every line either identifies a volume, a shift in planes or aids in the organizing and comparing of the forms. Another important aspect of proportions is that all the forms should be unified. In other words, appear to be from the same world. If the forms are distorted and "wonky" then everything should be.
We ended the day with a discussion on One and Two-Point Linear Perspective. Caleigh's drawing illustrates a "bird's-eye" view of the still life.  In addition, the strong contrast in the shadows anchors the objects and pops them out while adding balance to the overall composition. Like proportions, the perspective needn't be perfect but it should be consistent. All the objects should conform to one "eye-level" and diminish and recede proportionally.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Morgan Caricchio
Last night we continued working on proportions with the aid of one and two-point linear perspective. Linear perspective creates the illusion of depth by establishing a consistent horizon line (a.k.a. eye-level) for all objects. The parallel, diagonal edges of these objects will appear to diminish as they recede and converge meeting at vanishing points located on the horizon line. These were "free-hand" drawings. The objective was not perfect perspective but to establish a consistent "eye-level" and to accurately render the blocks as they approach the horizon line (eye-level). Just to be clear, eye-level and horizon line are the same thing.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Katheryn Pitkin

Monday night students made drawings with the goal of rendering accurate proportions. The method was to identify  the Ideal Solids within a more complex form building the structure of the object with line and then measuring the proportions through "sighting." Notice in the drawing above how Katheryn has used a vertical axis line to aid in maintaining symmetry. She has also placed ellipses at all of the major structural changes (i.e. the base of objects, the widest point, where two shapes join and at the top of the objects.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Katy Brown
On Friday morning students made studies of the five Ideal Solids addressing the categories of light. Notice how the smooth rendering and strong contrasting values in Katy's drawing above creates a strong sense of volume but also suggests a metal-like surface on the forms.
Angelica Cortez
In the afternoon, students made compositions with the solids employing the Distal Ques. Click the tab above if you missed the lecture notes.  Angelica's drawing illustrates a fairly deep sense of space moving straight back from sphere to sphere and crossing with an implied diagonal of cylinders. The broad, wavy strokes add a turbulent quality like a sand storm. Although she could balance the darks of the cone and sphere in the foreground more on the right side of the composition, the tonal range and gradations are very complete and well drawn.