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Portrait Night

August 14, 2017

There’s an ad-hoc portrait sketching night at Montreal’s George Vanier cultural center. (Unfortunately, the session is closed for this summer, but they should be back in the fall? – Just check GVCC’s site).

These guys have a clever system. Each artist takes a turn in the chair, posing for the others. Saves on hiring models, and you get more variety of people.

I think these were 15 min? I remember them feeling like a huge rush. Like I held my breath the entire time to get them done. But then sitting for mine seemed to take an eternity.

Right now I’m just back from the USK workshop in Chicago – probably we’ve been doing a lot of these while sitting around the dinner table!

These are small heads, probably 3.5″ high.. These have been sitting around for a while, so I can’t be sure, but I’d say my home color was Perlyne Maroon, modified with Grey of Grey, Naples Yellow plus various accidental touches.. Then Raw Umber Violet, Quin Gold, and Transparent Red Oxide for dark hair.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2017 5:04 PM

    These are great, very alive and full of light! You really captured the people in the paintings.
    I sent you a message on facebook this morning, just wondering the name and series of that brush you were using in Chicago.. princeton elite?? with the hour glass shaped handle..You said it was the long point.. thanks!!

    • August 14, 2017 7:37 PM

      Ya that’s the Winsor and Newton Artist’s Watercolor Sable in Pointed Round (what a name!). The Neptune is a synthetic that’s not a bad alternative – Though the Princeton Elite is closer to sable. So look for the W&N with the hour glass handle!

  2. August 14, 2017 5:13 PM

    Your portraits are wonderful, full of life and personality. Such talent to capture so much in so little time. I really like being able to see the pencil sketch under the watercolors. I’d still be sharpening my pencil and looking for a pot of water in 15 minutes.

    • August 14, 2017 7:39 PM

      Preparation is everything Sharon :) Pre-taped paper, clean water in small jars ready at hand, and always a mechanical pencil, so no sharpening halfway through :) I even pre-mist my paint with an atomizer so it it’s moist and ready to go :)

  3. August 14, 2017 7:07 PM

    Wow! These are amazing for being such rapid studies. Perhaps the speed adds to the vitality of the portraits.

  4. August 14, 2017 7:38 PM

    I think it does Laura!

  5. August 14, 2017 9:06 PM

    You’re so good. I loved seeing these. Bet it was really hard to do. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Melih permalink
    August 15, 2017 3:09 AM

    i liked them all, but you should try some cool blue or green shades on face to make them more interesting

  7. August 15, 2017 4:15 AM

    Excellent work and thanks for sharing – would you mind if I re-blogged this post? R

  8. August 15, 2017 12:18 PM

    I’m not an artist, but I LOVE reading about your process. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Tami Jacques permalink
    August 15, 2017 3:10 PM

    Very inspiring work!!! Thank you for sharing!
    Question: Do you have a ‘go to’ method when approaching a portrait, like beginning with the eyes to get the proportions correct. I sometimes get a frozen block when faced with a portrait, like some do with a white sheet of paper- any pointers about this you could offer?
    Thanks for your time

  10. marghorak permalink
    August 15, 2017 6:49 PM

    Another great, instructional post from youI always look forward to your blogs, Marc, and this one about portraits was so timely! I was the lucky one to have won the small portrait you painted of Gabi, at the silent auction at the UsK Symposium in Chicago! (which is already framed!) I was doubly lucky to have painted with you and a few others on Michigan Avenue on Thursday night, also at the Symposium. Such a great event! Great memories!


  1. Portrait Night — Citizen Sketcher | Simple Things

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