Peggi Kroll Roberts Workshop, day two

We started each day's work with ten 1-minute poses which we drew using a "semi-blind contour" method.  "Contour" means drawing the outer perimeter of the form.  A "blind" contour drawing means that you do not look at the paper at all, but we were allowed to occasionally look and re-orient ourselves.  When looking at the paper, the pen stopped--no drawing while looking at the paper.  Stop the pen, look down and see where you are, then look at the model again and continue to draw. 

This exercise facilitates a connection between what the eye observes, and how the hand moves in response to it.  It's a direct link to the right brain, because the left brain isn't watching the results and trying to interfere.  (We all know how that goes.)  Obviously the results are nothing like a finished drawing, and in the case of true blind contour drawings, often don't resemble anything at all (because that's not the point). 

Here are six of mine, the most recognizable.  If you look at the ghost images coming through the back of the sheets, it's clear that I stopped the pen and looked quite often (probably too often).  These are each 8" X 6".  We used permanent marker rather than pencil because with ink, you have to commit.

Peggi draws a lot.  In fact, just about any time she's sitting still, she's making art.  She showed us reams of notebooks filled with drawings, sketches and gouache studies.   That all contributes to the "mileage" which is what helps us grow as painters.  As she reminded us each day, a painter's two secret weapons are a sketchbook and a pocket mirror.  More about the mirror later.

Today as yesterday, we focused on getting correct proportions of the figures, and establishing effective "value families".  Here is Peggi's demo, to illustrate the procedure:  correct line drawing of the form, mass in the dark value family, then choose the lightest area in the picture plane and define that.

Work the whole picture plane, restating the dark values and maintaining the value plan which holds it all together.  The conditions were not ideal for this demo, since we were indoors and the room was dimly lit with bright light coming in sideways from the windows, causing glare on the painting surface. 

The models did two 20-minute poses for each of four paintings done today.  Mine were all on 12" X 9" supports, probably a little large for that time frame, but it was good for me to push it like that.  In order, here are my four paintings.  Two of them (the first and the last) were damaged in transit coming home, so they've been retouched.  The other two are exactly as finished in the 40-minute session.

That third one is one of my favorites.  My other favorite will post tomorrow.  And the pocket mirror?  It's for constantly checking your work, to give you a fresh "eye".  As you're working, you become unable to see the work objectively.  A mirror allows you to see it with a fresh perspective, and makes errors more perceptible.