Almost 101 Faces

The luxury of being a student, instead of a teacher, continued this past week as I delved into the latest online art class by Carla Sonheim.

Over the course of the week I created 90 plus faces with various mediums and techniques.  Ninety-ish instead of 101 because the last ten are part of a “pick your favorite technique and do a series” assignment so I’m taking a little more time to complete the final faces.

Submerged in Creating Art

There is something freeing about spending several hours a day creating art, especially when the assignments are specifically designed to silence your inner critic and move to a looser frame of mind and pen (or pencil, or charcoal).  If I felt stiff during the first assignment of the day that was fine, because by assignment three I’d have a big smile on my face-not because a great product was sitting in front of me but because I’d enjoyed myself so much.

Faces 101

Steeped in well-planned lessons, instructional videos, and assignments I learned more about faces.  Now I can picture the detailed and varied shadows in faces without looking at a photograph, I gained a better sense of drawing a child versus on adult, I can capture the basic essence of a person pretty quickly while sitting at a coffee shop glancing at the tables around me.  I learned that I love realistic portraits because it’s satisfying to accomplish a likeness but I also like to see what comes out of my head with a blob of watercolor or a collage eyeball sitting on a piece of paper.

What kind of artist am I?

I’ve always assumed there were two types of visual artists.  Those that can do a pretty good rendering of proportion and shadow from an object or person in their direct sight and those that can do that but also fill every space of their notes and books with fantastic creatures and faces that arrive directly from their imagination. I’ve always classified myself in the first group.

Carla’s books and classes have been full of gifts and one of them is learning to trust my imagination (that I even have one worth exploring) and she’s helped me find it in a non-threatening way that didn’t involve sticking me out in open space without a parachute and shouting “jump!”, instead she’s given me blobby marks of color or photographs or some chalky smudges as a foundation, and my imagination and hand have responded.

Here are some highlights from the week:

Blobby face shapes of watercolor with hair and features added in pencil, from the first day of class:

Portraits drawn with my non-dominant hand-hard to expect perfection with that assignment right?

Contour Drawings from old photos:

Acrylic Ink applied with a dropper:

Pastels chalk faces-plan to go back and make some more of these:

Realistic portrait of my daughter with sharpie and water-soluble black crayon smeared with a finger (another technique that removed some of my control and helped me yield to the process):

A portrait of my Granny, also with sharpie and water-soluble crayon:

A warm-up that began with a random eye or nose in each square (already part of the worksheet when it was printed), with pencil added and then erased:

Stylistic portraits based on magazine photos created with a Conte crayon:

Another stylized portrait in charcoal:

Face created with marker and sharpie on a layer of gesso with collage elements added:

Are you inspired to go do some art? I hope so!

Or maybe you don’t want to explore visual artist, but you’ve secretly wanted to write, knit, or learn an instrument-go sign up for a class!

More information on Carla Sonheim:

To read a review of her book, Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists, click here.

To read about our experience with her last class, Imaginary Creatures, click here and here.

To read about our experience with her class, The Art of Silliness, click here.

Check her book Drawing Lab and her soon to be released books The Art of Silliness and Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals.

She also has a two more online summer class left: Watercolor Transfer Paintings and Paper Dolls.

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