Happy holidays everyone.    I hope that you all have found a simple, happy place to slip into this holiday season, and I hope you had a relatively quiet or happy and celebratory time with those close to you.  We need this time to reboot, to rethink and to refocus.  It is that time to remember what is really important and reorganize, prioritize the important things once again!

And here’s to ending this year and starting fresh.


Please reboot system!

One of those little voices often tells me I am no good at what I do, and I have to fight with that demon quite often.  I reset the voice loop that speaks of these evils by practice.  I do enough construction between my work and my teaching that I do enough of it already, but to sit and finish something that isn’t due tomorrow morning is such a wonderful relief, and a mental necessity to remind me that I’m not as bad as I think I am when I wake up each morning.

I wanted to share this practice drawing with you all, but of course I screwed that up enough to chuck the step by step and just post some images in the few stages I captured for you to see parts of the process.   I do apologize for the earlier stages missing from the process images.

When I sit to practice, I do like to try and draw someone I know rather than someone pulled from the internet.  Not only is it easier to understand everything I am looking at, but I know what makes the shapes “their” shapes, and then attempt to capture those particular nuances that make them personal to that particular individual.  This time around I drew a great person all the IX people might recognize if I captured the likeness correctly.   His name is Lawrence C. Hartman, and if you go to the event, be sure to say hello to him, and talk music and photography.  He was once a professional photographer, specializing in music and concerts, shooting so many famous bands that came through PA back in the 70’s up until a few years ago.  Be sure to ask him about his career and the musicians he photographed, he has an amazing portfolio on his phone ready to share with you if you ask him about it.

He is also the driver for our sketch tour Sean Andrew Murray and I do around Reading, PA. and has a deep understanding of the city.  He has been a great tour guide, without his expertise it would just be an art class.  Since I only teach at IX, I have a lot of time to spare.  I have spent many hours talking with him about his photography, music, and Reading.  Drawing him felt very familiar, I was comfortable with the reference, and I didn’t feel nervous guessing at someone else’s image as I made this drawing.


And of course, like the idiot that I am most of the time, I used a .35 mechanical pencil to draw on a 12 x 16″ portrait.  I do not recommend that to anyone who needs to finish something within a reasonable amount of time.




At this stage of the drawing, it is about building up layers of tone.




With the hair, I am mostly suggesting and using the edges of the shape to help drive the texture home.  While there is subtle hatching throughout the form, the focus was the edges of the shapes and the rest was building up a light spherical-like form to help influence the volume.



Many hours later, I step out of the therapeutic zone I slip into when I work.  This drawing could easily use another 12 hours of rendering, but since I do not have that kind of luxury of time, I work with what I can get.  I only hope I was able to capture him and his character with what little I have to work with.  As well, I hope it has helped silence the negative voice in my head for a little bit so I can wake up without that voice stopping me from finding freedom in a creative head space.

Happy New Year to you all and I look forward to a positive, creative, exciting new year for all of us!