And thanks for visiting! This blog has given me the opportunity to share my work with the WORLD! Isn't that amazing to think about?! It seems, almost overnight, the world has shrunk in size. Please continue to visit. I hope you like what you see.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I was looking through some old sketchbooks of mine and I noticed I had a few of these funny little creatures which I had included throughout the pages. The one I liked the best and smiled when I turned to it is the tall gangly one that's holding a plant leaf of some sort. I decided I would share them with you. I hope at least one of these will bring a smile to your face as it did to mine! We all need to do that at LEAST once a day! :D

If any of these succeeded in making you smile then my goal for the day is done. Have a great day!

Friday, July 1, 2011


 I just finished up with a head painting class I took over the first summer block with Peter Sakievich (good guy and VERY talented) and I thought I would share with you the method in which he taught the class.  I enjoyed the class very much and I liked how he eased us into using multiple colors and felt it wasn't overwhelming at all in this way. I would highly recommend this method to any of you who would like to try painting portraits.

Peter had us use Canson Canva paper for all of our assignments in and out of class. We were to put 2-3 coats of shellac on the paper so that the oils wouldn't sink in but lay on top instead. He assigned us homework which typically consisted of four 1 hour paintings per week. For those that know me, you know that I don't know what an hour is so my homework assignments that I will post will be roughly around three hours or so. I never really timed them. I started painting and thought to myself "okay just one hour Cyndi" but then I became immersed in the painting and, well, all the time restraints went out the window. I think Peter chose the 1 hour time mark because he wanted us to get a feel of the oils and he wanted to see how we laid down the colors. The paintings weren't supposed to be a finished piece of art but just the beginnings. Most of my images I will post will be my homework assignments because I find them more interesting than a non emotive face staring at a blank wall. I will however, post some of the live portraits of the models we used.

"wipe out" method
The first method we were taught was the "wipe out" method (samples above). We were to use just one dark color. I chose burnt umber, others used raw umber or asphaltum. All we were to do was to paint in the darks and wipe out the lights with a rag or shop towel. Not to difficult at all. The trick is to pay attention to the different tones that one sees.

After we worked on this method for a week we moved on to using two colors. (Shown below)

"two color" method
With this method we were to use white and raw umber. White is to be mostly used on the lighted side of the face. By keeping to this technique, the shadows stay dark and there will be a cleaner delineation between the lights and the darks.

Then we moved on to three colors (below).

three colors
The three colors Peter required of us to use were Transparent Red Oxide, Blue Black or Cold Black and of course, White. That's it! I was amazed in what I could do with just three colors! Transparent Red Oxide is more of an orangy red so it was quite easy to get some flesh tones. I just cooled it down with some of the Blue Black. Even the blue you see in the background is just the Blue Black mixed with white. I found it quite amazing!!! 

Everything fell apart when we went to four colors. Just by adding a yellow to the mix caused me considerable struggles and frustrations. Luckily, I wasn't the only one who had a hard time with the four colors. The rest of the class was struggling as well so Peter left us on this pallet for several weeks. Thank goodness!!!

four colors
The four colors I used in the above paintings were again, Blue Black, and White, but Peter changed our red from Transparent Red Oxide to Venetian Red and the yellow that was added was Yellow Ochre. Be careful with the Venetian Red. This color is very powerful. It will take over your painting if you're not careful. As you can see in the little baby girl, I lost control of it. The girl is quite red. Oh well. The trick with this potent red is to start with Yellow Ochre and then add a small (and I mean small) amount of the Venetian Red to it. Your mixture will then need to be cooled down with some Blue Black. Or you can make a very dull green with Yellow Ochre and Blue Black and then this can be used to cool down the other mixture. I've tried both. Just for some more info, the Venetian Red and the Blue Black can also be mixed to give you a very dull purple. Peter called these colors the "dead palette". They are very earthy and dull.

After several weeks with this pallet, Peter suggested we try adding in some bright colors as well. He suggested Indian Yellow or Cadmium Yellow,  Ultramarine Blue or Cobalt Blue, and Cadmium Red or Perylene Red. I tied some Cad Yellow in some of my paintings and then some Indian Yellow in others. I added Ultramarine Blue to my pallet and have yet to try the Cobalt Blue. I leaned more toward the Perylene Red instead of the Cad Red, but I liked them both. The paintings below include the "dead pallet" colors with a few of the brights.

"dead pallet" with some brights
It wasn't as hard to include multiple colors to my pallet than it was to jump from three colors to four. I wonder why that is. Hmmm. Anyway, I'm now including some of the paintings I worked on in class from the live models. The first one is just a three color pallet. The rest have multiple colors. Do any of you recognize any of them? One is actually a student. The model didn't show that day so we had someone from our class sit for us. Thanks Frankie!!!

I didn't get as far on Frankie as I had hoped. We started late because of the lack of model and I believe that day we were required to show Peter some of our work or maybe I was just having a slow day. One or the other. Idk. 

For our final, we were required to paint another self portrait. Our first self portrait for the class was done in the beginning when we were just using the wipe out method, but for this self portrait we were to paint two images of us using just a mirror (not photos) showing two sides of our personality. We could use as many colors as we wanted. Below is my final. The left image shows my expression to Peter as he tells us we have more homework and the right image shows my expression after leaving my last class at the beginning of summer break. Ahhhhhhh!!!!

self portrait
And that was the end of the class!!! It was a great class and I feel I learned quite a lot. Of course I still have more to learn but I feel I got a great start. Thanks Peter!!!