Monday, 6 October 2014

Studying under the Masters{portraits}week 1. part 1.

Week One. Part One. 

A while ago I was intrigued by  a link that Jane Davenport promoted, the link led to her blog on which she talked about an upcoming class that she was taking part in.. as a teacher. The class was to run for 6 weeks, with 6 teachers, and would focus on portraits. However not just any old portraits. Each teacher would pick a well known artist, and would construct their lesson around that artist. Teaching, in that artitsts style. This sounded fascinating. 

I am not a fan of 'the masters' I find those old painting dark and dirty, grim and miserable... I just don't see in them what others see. That has frustrated me somewhat. So I decided to sign up for this course and see what it could teach me. 

The course is hosted by Jeanne Oliver, she has a Ning site where you will find over 30 courses. The course that I have signed up for is Studying Under The Masters {portraits and self portraits}

Click HERE to read more about the course content and the teachers. If you go to THIS LINK you will find a short intro video by Jane Davenport, where she talks about the 'master' that she chose to use in her lessons. 

We are coming to the end of week one. Our first lesson was all about Vincent Van Gogh. Jeanne Oliver has been teaching this lesson herself, and has provided a wealth of information for us to digest. Not only are there inspirational photos and quotes, but also a great list of references and links. 

Jeanne has also made 19 videos for this lesson.... how's that for good value. Wow! remember this is only lesson 1. 

I signed up and paid for this class a while back, and I am so glad that I did. For a few reasons. Mainly because I am feeling like I have art burn out at the moment, and I am struggling to create anything. This class is forcing me to focus and just get stuff down on paper. Hopefully it will be the kickstart that I need. 

So in lesson one we are encouraged to do all kinds of exercises in different mediums, inspired by Vincent Van Gogh. 

The first exercise looks at his sketches, and we are told to really examine them and look for the types of lines and mark making that he used. i was struck by how many patterns he created using simple lines. He really was the original 'zentangler'

We were asked to pick out our favourite line patterns and coping them into our sketchbook. 

Here I used a regular hb pencil to copy the patterns. 

Then I switched to a Lamy pen and black ink. Van Gogh used pen and ink in many of his sketches. 

Finally I used an oriental brush and brown ink {Winsor and Newton, peat brown}

see what I mean about the 'tangling' 

As well as researching the art, we have learned so much about 'the man', his life, his family. All so very interesting, and actually moving. His life was definitely strange by our standards, and more than  a little sad. 

Our next assignment was to pick one of Van Goghs ink drawings and try and copy it, paying careful attention to the lines and patterns that were used. 

I chose 'Peasant of the Carmargue' and this is my rendition. 

Our next exercise uses watercolour paints, which frankly scares the pants off me... so we shall see what I manage to produce... 

Darcy x


  1. It all sounds really stimulating Darcy, love the mark making and your drawing is really lively. Will look for patterns too now! Xx

  2. Intriguiging and wonderful, great to see where Zentangling originally came from. There are never any new ideas just old ones reworked...

    Love your rendition, you sound motivated also. Bring on the watercolour! :-) xxx

  3. Fabulous work, it's only in the last year that I realised the wealth of patterns in his work. Can't wait to see the watercolouring :)

  4. This sounds like a great class. Love the effect of the different pens on your patterns. Your portrait is great. Looking forward to seeing more. Hugz

  5. Your sketches and patterns are wonderful. I took her first course and I think it was one of the best online courses I have ever taken. I am currently enrolled in the Portraits course. I love immersing myself in each artist

  6. This is amazing Darcy! What a fascinating course, look forward to the next installment! Sue C x

  7. Wow Darcy! This really is interesting - all those patterns used so effectively! I had no idea! Look forward to seeing what's next! Chrisx

  8. That looks great! The course sounds very interesting.

  9. That looks fabulous Darcy!! :) Coco xx