I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Sunday 4 November 2012


I enjoy life drawing sessions. I am not a great fan of long poses but I love the quickies - from 2 minutes to 15 or so. Capturing those fast poses I find really helps me in drawing in general - simplification, triangulation, quick value studies etc. The benefits for me I think are best seen when working plein air . Plein air is "shooting from the hip " painting and requires quick observation and recording. 

Examples of quick line drawings on news paper  using pencil or markers - one to ten minutes. 

I have little patience for long poses so when poses over 30 minutes are held I generally make multiple interpretations of the same position using different tools and trying to simplify more with each statement

I said in an earlier post that my learning for the next few months would focus on oils and on figurative and portraiture - a follow up to my workshop at the Watts Atelier. I was pleased that I was able to attend another life drawing series in conjunction with that learning. 

What interests me this time and the reason for this post  is not line drawing but to take my water mixable oils and to do fast sketches using a variety of brushes to increase my confidence in drawing with oils - direct painting. I did a few of these quick studies a year ago and found them helpful. 

 This week I tried it again and again found it very helpful, particularly working with the different brushes,  that I have decided to continue to use the oils at future life drawing classes. The one thing I found in common with all of  these was that I felt most confident when working on a dark ground. In most cases on black gesso. The two above were done on linen - 8x10 and 6x10 . Two below were done on Terraskin ( I mentioned earlier my love for working on this product with oils)  treated with black gesso the other on clear gesso primed linen - all 8x10. All quick studies. 

I worked with a limited palette - yellow ochre, vermillion, ultramarine blue and ivory black - basically the Zorn palette - and simply tried to block in and play a bit with values and colour temperature. It was trying  the suggestive brushwork and a variety of brushes that seems to be most helpful for my learning.  

Nice thing about the WM oils is that I am not bothering anyone else in the room. 

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