Wednesday, June 23, 2010


On saturday 19th june we had the most fantastic workshop with Willie Jacobs. Drawing portraits can be scary and frustrating but Willie got good results from all of us.
We had to bring A4 black and white photo copy. Paper and Charcoal sticks or pencils or if we preferred 6B-8B pencils. Willie tapes a piece of charcoal on to a pencils so he has a long reach when drawing.
Place the head on the paper and make negative angles using your arm not wrist. Make light angles to form shape of face, no curves. slowly put down lines of hair along face and outside shape. add neck.
Willie explained about the measurements of a face. The face can be divided into three, the top of the head to the eyebrows, from the eyebrows to the bottom of the nose and from the bottom of the nose to the chin. The line for the eyes is the middle line across the face. The mouth is halfway between eye line and chin. Willie than added the pupils, marks for the side of the nose and the corners of the mouth. When you smile the edges of the mouth are the same distance apart as the pupils. And the distance from the corner of the mouth to the pupil is the same length as from pupil to pupil.This distance is the same as from the mouth line to the chin and from the bottom of the nose to the eyebrow line Half way down from the bottom of the nose and the chin is the lower line of the bottom lip. The middle line follows down the curve of the face to the left or the right of the nose to show the direction of the face. The face is egg shaped. Men have heavier jaw lines, woman have a higher forehead and small children have all their features below the halfway line. Willie then demonstrated how to draw eyes, noses, and the mouth.
Willie explained that he uses the method John Howard Sanden has developed for portraits. "there is agreement among top portrait painters that a persons likeness is dependent on the proportional relationships between facial features, not specific shape of nose, mouth, ears or eyes. That is the location of the eyes is more important than the colour or the shape of the eyes'. And he uses his painting formula.
We then drew in the features hair etc. Willie walked around encouraging us and giving a helping hand.
After lunch Willie explained about the colours he uses. He divides the head into the bands: yellow or golden for the forehead; Warm rosie or ruddy from the eyes down to bottom of the nose: Cooler Blue, grey or green with orange on the chin. Willie went on to show us how he painted in oils using shapes of colour. He marked of the pupils, corner of nose and corners of lips with a dark colour. He then painted the eyes forehead working down to the nose and mouth, cheeks and eventualy the chin and neck And as he was doin this he added back ground colour to show up the lighgter areas on the face and hair. He added the darkest shadows then finished the hair and the clothing.
Even if you do not work in oils this was a wonderful workshop to watch as you could use so much of what we learnt for your water colour portraits. We will be doing this next month at our meeting.
Willie gives a great workshop and if you have the opportunity of going to one do take it. We all had a lot of fun enjoyed ourselves and learnt a lot.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010



Zanne has given us a challenge to think about for the duration of the month of June. She would like us to produce a painting based on the following quote from Winston Churchill. There will be an entrance fee for the challenge of R20 which will be placed in a tin for a lucky draw.

'Happy are the painters for they shall not be lonely. Light, colour, peace and hope will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end of day.'

Also in June we are asked to develop a theme around which we can base our paintings. It is a good idea to collect your thoughts, ideas, sketches and put them together in one note book. Zanne showed us an example in class of what Alma has done so far. She has chosen the theme of 'HANDS' and all her ideas have been organised together in a file.

The Rules for your work during June!!!

A. You must produce a thumbnail of you proposed work. This will help you to clarify composition and tonal values in your final painting.

B. Think about the 5 steps in watercolour methodology
1.Leave whites
2.Work from top to bottom of the page
3.Work from big bruhes to small.
4.Work from light and dark
5.Add detail last.

C. When applying glazes you will always work from light to dark and transparents to opaques. When in doubt work using the following order of colours

Variations on your personal theme:-Choose 3 primaries to paint your picture.
Consider the temperature of the primaries and do the following
WEEK 1: Use 2 hot colours and one cold
WEEK 2: Use 2 cold colours and one hot
WEEK 3: Use cold muted colours
WEEK 4; Use hot muted colours