View Full Version : Basic 102 - Class 15 The Creative Process in Portrait Drawing

Pages : [1] 2 3 4

05-07-2007, 10:04 AM
Class description

Drawing relies on a clear vision. Vision that’s developed by learning to see what’s in front of you and just as important what’s inside of you, translation: a nexus of feelings and facts. There are great classes here on Wet Canvas taught by amazing instructors that address the technical side of drawing, how to render a convincing portrait, dealing with textures, landscapes, improving compositions…just a host of technical knowledge. From what I’ve seen these classes have been a great success. The knowledge and understanding gained through drawing from life directly enhances our ability to draw from more conceptual sources, from pure emotion and your imagination. From what I see most of you have the tools to dig deeper inside to try new concepts that are a bit more edgy.

This class will focus on experimenting with concept, not just drawing a portrait to capture a likeness but to render an “idea”. Realism of course can be used as magically as ever but we can go beyond the boundaries that we set up for ourselves. This can be as straightforward as a certain expression on the face that’s heightened or exaggerated by the artist or it can be taken as far as expressionism or surrealism, even the dreaded “A” word can be explored (abstraction). I do want to keep it in the realm of portraiture so we have a foundation to work from but after that the depth of your imagination is your only boundary. Can an abstraction be portraiture, maybe not in the sense we are used to but there is plenty of abstraction that’s inspired by the human form and I don’t want to exclude an “ism”
This does not mean that I will not have technical suggestions, I will have plenty but I will not concentrate on them as my only source of critical feedback. I will focus on your technical language be that loose expressionistic or tight photorealistic by how it helps tell your story, certainly I don’t want everyone to draw alike. At times I will pose lots of questions, why, what if, and so on, and you need to ask me questions I will address everyone, and from what I see the other students are not shy to give there views as well.

If this class is good it will heighten your sense of self-discovery. Technically drawing well is just the beginning of your artistic journey. So let’s make some art…

Disclaimer, you will see lost of typos on my part, as long as my name is spelled right I don’t worry too much I about it!


05-07-2007, 10:05 AM

Any form of graphite: wood incased pencils, mechanical pencils, grip pencils, graphite sticks, ebony, or any other graphite drawing materials, (personally for this type of drawing I use mechanical Pencils; Pentel Graphite 1000 .3,.4,.5,.7 and .9, I use also use a grip pencils and a very thick graphite pencils for different effects, mostly softening areas).

The hardness is up to you as well, 9H to 9B (personally I have a small range 2h – 2b) but I will use others to get certain effects)

Any tool for erasing or subtractive drawing, kneaded erasers, the much celebrated blue tac, pink pearl, electric erasers, sand paper, etc. (Personally I use kneaded erasers and rarely some blue tac).
Charcoal sticks or pencils this is really up to you, (Personally I stay far away from the stuff)

I would like you to stay in the realm of black and white but a touch of color might break the rules with gusto. (I had a student build a sculpture with melted gummy bears, this was in a drawing class, and it worked) she had to defend her choices and it’s all about the spin…

Size of drawing, nothing smaller than 14” x 18” this should be a major project how much time you put into is up to you. Time is irrelevant, I have seen great art that took 15 minutes (not from me) and bird cage liners that took 300 hours(from me), and the opposite is true as well. (Personally I have been working in the 30” x 40” range I plane on doings some 50” x 80” on primed panel but that’s for another class). You can work in Illustration board hot or cold press, watercolor board hot or cold press, I work on many different kinds depending on the subject matter. It’s a creative class…. EXPERIMENT!!!!

Please feel free to ask me detailed questions on materials but I’m not a purist about this stuff especially in an advanced class like this one.
One rule! Work from your own references either from life or from photos that you take. Don t go to photo share sites or use published photos of any kind, the photo process is as much a part of the creative process as the final drawing.


05-07-2007, 10:09 AM
You will have three portrait options to choose from, here is option one:

THE NARRATIVE PORTRAIT, in the case of “Name of the Father” my dad acted as my model, but it was not about him or his religious ideas, he was like a character in a play that I wrote. This drawing portrays feelings that I have about Christianity especially Catholicism. Under the auspices of the Christian church there have been both horrible atrocities and amazing selfless acts of giving, all in “The Name of the Father”. The rouge priest stands for this duality; representing both the victim and culprit. Is he freeing the Christ from his cross or tearing him from his symbol of martyrdom? Helper, healer, consoler, rapist, madman, thief…

This was my view of a particular subject I was thinking about, right or wrong my personal view.

Your first option use portraiture to tell a story, you will illustrate an idea or a passion of yours, this can be political or social critical, it can also portray a much more personal story, for instance the experience of fighting cancer, there are hundreds of subject to chose from, what are your passions? If that gets propagandist, so be it. But be careful to harsh and you have “shock art” the other side just as trite sentimentally.

05-07-2007, 10:09 AM
THE HOMAGE, I have completed many homage drawings, some very direct without symbolism and others loaded with it. For me to do an honest portrait I have to know the person well, find them interesting and challenging to drawing technically but more important conceptually. That’s why I didn’t like doing commission work, I had no knowledge of the sitter and the drawings for the most part had no soul. My latest Homage is for my mom who died last August. This was my early concept for the drawing: My mother always commented to me, “Armin why don’t you draw something more pleasant, why do you always look at the “dark” when you can look at the light”. She was right but I was not wrong, it’s about balances, personal artistic language, and being true to your vision, and I strive for that with every drawing.
Concept is such an important part of my process; it’s the seed. Once I start the actual drawing a great deal of thought has been given and many questions have been answered. Yet there are many changes that take place throughout the drawing process, at times the end result has very little to do with my early concept. I never know when I start where it will go but I have to have a strong idea to get me going. What I do know about this drawing is this: it’s a portrait of my mother close to the end of her life, it must show wisdom and kindness, it must show hope and strength, it must say “I love you” and it must be cathartic. And yet it will have a bit of darkness to it as well… it’s my nature.

Option two THE HOMAGE

Your second option is to do a drawing of someone who changed your life, a person that was or is so important to you that you need to celebrate them in art. A simple photograph could of never be adequate but the experience of drawing them by keen observation that will allow you to understand that person in a brand new way will be an increasable artistic journey; This process becomes the ultimate collaboration between you the artist, the person you are doing an homage to and the viewer of your work. Of course if it’s a posthumous drawing you might have to rely on other photos but then you must go the extra mile to recreate the and not just do a drawing of a photo.

05-07-2007, 10:10 AM
THE SYMBOLIC SELF PORTRAIT every five years I do a self portrait, just to find out how old and fat I’m getting. But a truly symbolic one is rare. “Transplant” was a self portrait of me at eight. When my parents and I immigrated to the United States and I woke up that first morning in this new country, I was looking across the infinite flat lands of Mid-Michigan and my first pangs of homesickness hit. As I gazed teary eyed at this new landscape I imagined being a plant that was ripped out of a beautiful garden and transplanted in this vast emptiness. As the plant was lowered into this “grave” all colors faded. Instead of the flower leaning towards the sun, it bent towards its old home and wilted in the process.

After twenty-eight years I produced this work; partly form an early sketch that I made that fateful day. The Geranium represents me, the heart in the clouds symbolism my old home and the grandmother that was left behind. The planter is made out of barbed wire (it’s hard to see in this small version) this represents not having a choice in the matter, and the rectangular box “grave” is the vacant, lifeless country which was now my new home. I have drawn quite a few self portraits in my life and will continue to do so but this gave me so much more than just a physical likeness. Although drawings like “Forty-nine Trips Around the Sun” says things in different ways.

How can you represent yourself and your life with symbols? There are universal symbols that all understand and very personal one that read very mysterious and surreal and both can be used in unison. This doesn’t mean you cannot use your “true” (warts and all) image you certainty can but you can as I did go all symbolic well. This can be symbols of who you are now or at any age, it can even be a symbol of what you stand for or how will you be remembered. This is so wide open but an incredible challenge.


05-07-2007, 10:15 AM
Here are my three portraits that I disused in the options
One-THE NARRATIVE PORTRAIT “Name of the Father” Graphite 21” x 40”, 2005
Two-THE HOMAGE work in progress, this will be finished on Mother’s Day , Graphite 30” x 40”
Three- THE SYMBOLIC SELF PORTRAIT, “Transplant” 30" x 40" Graphite and Watercolor on Watercolor board, 1989

Chose one of these and start but stick with your choice. The start of the actual drawing might be week’s away, begin by listening to great music, drinking a glass of wine and getting lost in thought. Then bring your ideas to the class. How you “work it up” is up to you. (Personally I start by sketching ideas, thumbnails, contour drawings, drawings from life etc. I especially think about compositions that are powerful unique and carry the meaning. It takes weeks for me to begin the drawing, but one thing different here is to share the process with all of us, your well learn as much from your fellow students here as from me, maybe even more. Most of all think out of the box (I wish I could think “out of the box”, to get a different term for this) I will ask you a lot of questions and I hope you will ask me a lot as well, I will also critique, debate and give lots of cyber high-fives! It’s not going to be easy but good art rarely is

Blues for Mama wip link http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=380670&highlight=armin

Armin Mersmann

05-07-2007, 10:50 AM
Armin ... thanx for hosting this great class.
Seems like a huge challenge ... I'm in ("shiver").
I think I'll go for the symbolic selfportrait, thinking of doing something like that for a couple of years, so this is a great opportunity to finnaly DO it.
Hmmm ... I'll better start sketching, thinking, listen to that music and make a start.

05-07-2007, 10:50 AM
wow Armin.. this is going to be an amazing and thought provoking class.. i have stayed up late to get a sneak peek of the class.. its almost 1:00am here.. i have not been drawing due to a bit of a creative slump for the past few months.. i think i kinda got into the just drawing a pretty picture mode and felt a bit stifled... so i am very excited about this class.. already my head is buzzing with possibilities..
thanks Armin for this opportunity to join in a class by you... it is fantastic that you have offered to teach here :-) ....
Well im off to bed now but i will be in ideas mode tomorrow

05-07-2007, 10:55 AM
Armin...Thank you so much for agreeing to do this class! Who would have thought...just reading through your first postings for your class, that my mind would be in such turmoil. It's as if my world was about to end - so I have flashbacks of many incidents that affected my life, some good, some not. Each and every one affected me to some extent and did indeed shape the person I have become....I know now I shall spend some time deciding who or which occurance affect me most!

05-07-2007, 11:11 AM
Armin ,I agree this is a thought Provoking Class but I'm up to the challenge,Thanks so much for sharing with all of us Your the greatest. I'm off to do alot of thinking on my choice thanks for breaking each choice down for us , see ya soon;)

05-07-2007, 11:19 AM
Wanted to thank you for teaching this class and what a wonderful breakdown of the choices...I have to agree with all the others this is a very thought provoking class and as I am below beginner in drawing it is going to be a challenge..now if it was pick up a brush and paint I would have no problem...pencils actually scare me to death.
Ok went out and watered my little garden and was thinking...
Initial thoughts...might elaborate as I go along

Self Portrait...symbolism
What/who am I??...

Deeply rooted in catholicism...Nuns

Violin...classical music

Gothic feelings..old rock buildings...solitude




wife and mother and daughter

Thank you again! :wave:

05-07-2007, 11:44 AM
Thank you so much for being willing to teach us how to think about drawing. I am full and overflowing with ideas. I like your plant. It reminds me of me and what I went through as a young child. I wonder...........

Gordon's art
05-07-2007, 11:55 AM
wow Well I Am In On This One I Certainly Will Have The Glass Of Wine ( Or Two) Haven't Made My Mind Up Yet About What To Do But Will Ponder On It In My Drunken Stuper (''hic'')

05-07-2007, 11:56 AM
I'm in! I need, as you suggest, time to figure a way to go. This is a unique challenge, and a unique opportunity. Thank you for offering this class.


05-07-2007, 12:16 PM
Armin, all I can say is "thank you" and "now you got me thinking". This will be more than interesting, this will be revealing.

p.s. Guys, that unfair, I don't drink!!!!!!!!!!!! So where would I get my crazy/artistic ideas from?

05-07-2007, 12:19 PM
How interesting to start a drawing class with thinking and contemplating instead of leaping in with giant sheets of newsprint and blunt charcoal :) I think I know which of the three to pursue but want to mull it over a bit more.

05-07-2007, 12:23 PM
I'm in, thanks for making me think

05-07-2007, 12:34 PM
Hi Armin!:wave:

Wow-this will truly be a journey for me. I will have to do some heavy searching to find the option that I wish to choose! Thank you so much-I need this soooo badly. I always feel like such a copy artist-which was good to getting thing more technically corrct-but now I need to step out and up hopefully. I will appreciate your help along the way.

05-07-2007, 12:39 PM
Armin, Bro, (oops cannot call the teacher Bro anymore)
Not sure if you want to know the reason why and what yet but I just wanted to let you know you have given me that push to start a long time due Portrait. I have been putting aside doing my father's portrait for a long time and now with your watchful eye and this great explanation of how to do a symbol one I feel I am ready to start.

My father passed in 2002 but he still is with me in so many ways, I was Daddy's Girl and so when he died it was very very hard for me to accept. Even now it may silly but I still add him in my day, so much so, that Carmelo, (my bf) even mentions him to me.
My sister told me he visits in two crows but I see him when I see one crow. So yes I will do his portrait but the crows will also be in there too.
Thank you Armin for giving me the reason to do this. I know this portrait will probably give me some closeness to him and to finally accept his passing ( because I still greive ).

05-07-2007, 02:34 PM
I don’t think I mentioned the time factor, you will have on month to complete this project officially, but I will keep checking and critiquing until the last one is completed even if that takes much longer. With this kind of work the incubation part of the creative process is so important to the outcome, what I don’t want to see is people rushing through the conceptual planning element.

Even way back in art school I never did any assignment in a hurry yet I started the evening it was given. My goal was not to get it done but to do it, it was-frustrating, exhilarating, tinged with extreme heights and lows, and things haven’t changed.

Angela, Deirdre, Terry, Midge, Gordon, Jim, Judi I agree it should be a very exciting class, not easy but a great journey.

Naomi I hope you slept well with visions of portraits dancing in your head.

Reinhard, what a German that doesn’t drink?!!? I don’t drink anymore either but maybe this class will bring me back? Lol

EP exactly, the incubation process is such an important part of it all.

Thanks Sultz you can call me anything ya want. Great this homage to your Dad sounds so freeing although my experience drawing my mom was different then I thought it would be, when I finish it on Mothers day, ill talk about that on the “Blues for Mama” post.

LadyAlba great symbols so far, being catholic myself, having nuns in the family and I even toyed with the idea of the priesthood, until girls came into my life, this is something I deal with symbolically on many levels of creating art; the light bulbs are very symbolic of the “splintered ruler” days. (Catholic school),


05-07-2007, 02:49 PM
I like the thought of a symbolic self portrait. Its not something I have explored before and now have ideas streaming into my head. THe concept is exciting and possibilities endless and part of me wants to work on a much larger scale to challenge myself and my skills.

Ocean, wind, rocks and a tuckamore tree all may play a role in this symbolic drawing. (yes, you'll have to google what a tuckamore tree is :))

05-07-2007, 03:03 PM
I promised myself that I would participate in this class, no matter what the challenge--I have been working on a portrait of my grandmother at 100 (who died at the age of 101). She was a very special person to me throughout my life so I will need to think a lot about what to do for this class--maybe a self portrait--scary thought! Thanks for bringing your experience and talent to this class. It should be very interesting.

05-07-2007, 03:19 PM
Lot's of food for thought here and I will try a glass of wine to go with it. Have been working on a Fantasy self- potrait almost finished and it does have symbolism in it so don't think I want to spend the next month looking at this mug again my head is spinning with ideas tho haven't even touched the wine yet! This is truly an inspiring class can't thank you enough Armin for doing this.


05-07-2007, 03:26 PM
Well who thought a class on WC would turn into a type of therapy session!?!

I'm with you Jeanette, I have been thinking of something for a while - it involves a contemplative time in my life when I turned to a billabong and the quiet companionship of gums (that's gum trees) and the local wildlife quietly going about their business around me, and many hours there contemplating life.

So I think I'll have to explore these images further.:confused:

I've woken up with a stuffed up head and now been up since 3am. My brain is operating in this strange place at the moment & for some reason just writing those things down just now there has been an image come leaping into my head. This is either incredibly intuitive or my temps up again and I'm delerious :eek: - either way I'm going to play with this image I've just gotten. May not stay with it but its definately worth exploring.

Thanks Armin for giving the shove to make us think about our art in a new light and freeing us up to follow ideas we have been too self conscious to explore outside our own minds.


05-07-2007, 04:11 PM
As you already know, Armin, I have already started my next project. Since this will take me an eon to do, I'm so glad you are letting me use it here as well. :)

I'm doing a Narrative drawing. The "incubation" time spent was a total of 4 months, and I only just got started on this about a month ago. The title of this piece is "The Catalyst" and the definition of "catalyst" plays an important role into the concept of this piece.

1. Chemistry A substance, usually used in small amounts relative to the reactants, that modifies and increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process. 2. One that precipitates a process or event, especially without being involved in or changed by the consequences: “A free press … has remained … a vital catalyst to an informed and responsible electorate” (Robert O'Neal, News and Daily Advance (Lynchburg, VA) February 17, 1991).

1. Chemistry. a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected.
2. something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected.
3. a person or thing that precipitates an event or change: His imprisonment by the government served as the catalyst that helped transform social unrest into revolution.
4. a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.

I do not like to share the entire concept with people as it can alter their initial feelings, bias their thoughts, or keep them from experiencing it at a more personal level. However, as the teacher you have the right to know what that concept is so as better to instruct. If you want me to share that with you, Armin, let me know and I'll email you privately what the concept is. :)

My model wasn't too good at acting sad or emotional. She just stood there for me, face devoid of feeling, which is fine. It gives me a ton of room for imagination. If I questioned the appearance of the small details I grabbed a mirror and put on my saddest face. :D It must be convincing because friends of ours who knows the model said "I've never seen her cry. So this must be what she looks like when she cries!" Woohoo!

This is done with graphite, mechanical pencils, and is done on mat board. The size is 30x39 inches.



05-07-2007, 04:43 PM
Armin, good news for you, bad and sad news for me. I will not be able to deliver in the allotted timeframe. I have obligations for my University in the coming 3 weeks and preparation for a vacation in the US. We hope to have better luck with Chicago this time around. It is only our third try. With the time I need and want to invest into a qorthwhile drawing of mine, it'll be summer and the we have the wedding of our daughter. So sad, so sorry, but life sometimes gets in the way. I will attempt, most likely the symbolic portrait dealing with the moment of retirement where I was uprooted and found new grounding in art. No I will go and hunt for a nice fallen, uprooted and broken tree to sketch with my camera.

05-07-2007, 04:46 PM
Armin, good news for you, bad and sad news for me. I will not be able to deliver in the allotted timeframe. I have obligations for my University in the coming 3 weeks and preparation for a vacation in the US. We hope to have better luck with Chicago this time around. It is only our third try. With the time I need and want to invest into a worthwhile drawing of mine, it'll be summer and the we have the wedding of our daughter. So sad, so sorry, but life sometimes gets in the way. I will draw, most likely the narrative portrait depicting my situation after retirement. Having been uprooted form over 40 years of work and how art is helping me to master this situation. I will go and hunt for a photo of an uprooted tree in our woods to have a 'model' for that.

05-07-2007, 04:47 PM
sorry for this double post, can't edit for some reason.

05-07-2007, 05:23 PM
Rheinhard, these classes never officially end and the month turnaround is simply a marker. Get to this when you get to this. I am popping back out now.

05-07-2007, 05:37 PM
I'm excited to try on "this new hat" of artistic expression. I will try the self portrait and now that I'm armed with some new ideas I will set out to create my FIRST "self portrait"
I haven't been on WC for quite some time and to see all the fantastic works here is so inspiring.
Leaving for Las Vegas on Sunday, so I will spend a lot of quite time while hubby is in conference, on my concept.

frieda L
05-07-2007, 06:20 PM
I finally got to log into wet canvas after a crazy day... wow, I need some time out to re read all of this, and to think... haven't done many portraits, though,

frieda L
05-07-2007, 06:28 PM
sorry, my message got sent (all by itself), cannot edit it either...
Armin, thank you for teaching this class,
I am off, hoping to find some time to think...

05-07-2007, 07:46 PM
Hi . armin, just one question please . I was wondering about the size ? my scanner is small and also the wet canvas website only takes small pictures . what should I do about this ? if I draw a picture 14 inches how will I get it in my scanner ? sorry about this dumb question . jasminerose.

05-07-2007, 07:48 PM
dont worry freda neither have I done any portrates it will be ok we can hold eachothers hand and sit at the back of class ..lol jasmine

05-07-2007, 09:22 PM
Wow... just reading that stirs feelings. I had a few ideas in mind before this class 'officially' started, mainly doing a self portrait as I've never done one. Through reading your 3 portrait choices though, the instant I read The Homage the ideas started flowing. I will most likely be doing a portrait of my husband whom I've known since the age of 7 (ok, I'll date myself and mention that I'm 36). We've been through the best and worst together- it's been an incredible and continuing journey. I look forward to focusing the next month+ of my life on the one person that truly gives me the meaning of my life. Thank you Armin for encouraging the 'creative processes' to start flowing!


05-07-2007, 11:30 PM
I also am so excited and honored to have you teaching us and helping us stretch into better artists. I have been experiencing some comments on my art and how its good but doesn't say anything. How they don't know who I am by my work and I wonder if its because I don't know or I am afraid to let my guard down to find out. I can see that there will not be any hiding in this classroom. I am excited to start this new journey of discovery and growth. I haven't decided what to do yet, I could do any or all of them, heaven knows I need the practice. I will read again, slowly and hopefully decide in the next few days. Thanks again,

Fireman's kid
05-07-2007, 11:32 PM
Armin, you have given us so much to think about. And I will be thinking. I'm still not sure if I will be able to participate, but I will be following along no matter what. It has already been a worthwhile class, so I'm off to rate it! :thumbsup:

05-08-2007, 12:57 AM
I want to do an hommage to my 3 sisters. I have drawn 2 of them. Several weeks ago the 3rd requested I draw one for her but she wants the others drawn with her. The oldest (9 years older) is a mother figure, she has given me much insight and wisdom. The next (2 years older) is my protector, She watches out for and checks up on me. the next (1 year younger) is my Next door neighbor/life companion, we meander along together with a shoulder one for the other. In fact just last week I requestd the 3 of them have a nice photo made with each other for each other and I would use that as a starting point for a drawing. Thanks for the class.

05-08-2007, 01:22 AM
Hi Armin - Thank you for sharing with us your time and talents. I just read your remarks to all the students that have posted, and I thought to myself, I have no idea who I would want to do a portrait of; and then as I was reading along - bingo! it hit me (and with quite a bit of emotions I might say). My DH will be 80 this year and has had a hard year since his knee surgery last July; I have a photo I took of him about a year or so ago that I really love, and it will be interesting, as all these feelings emerge, whether they are helpful in portraying him (at least as I see him:heart: ).
:wave: Lessandra

05-08-2007, 01:26 AM
ohh your soo right Stacy, we must rate this thread with 100 stars

Looks like alot of beautiful portraits will be evolving from here from everyone. :)

05-08-2007, 04:01 AM
Hi to all the creative minded "students" and off course "our teacher" Armin,
The ideas keep comming and yesterday I started sketching, tried to get the effect of torn paper for the background of my portrait ... the idea is to make a torn background (the past), and a selfportrait from a recent photograph ... looking down with a big smile. Symbolic ... ik can look at life with a smile now.
After some hard work and a lot of soulsearching I found "the torn pieces "back" (maybe some are still a little black ?) and can get on with my life ... mostly smiling and enjoy it.
First I wanted to make the torn pieces together with tape, but (collorfull ?) butterflies seems more symbolic.
This is just a rough quick sketch, I think I'll make the portrait bigger and also use a bigger piece of paper. (this one is A3).
Should I call this a narrative portrait or a symbolic portrait ? Or both ? Does it matter ?

05-08-2007, 04:43 AM
wow angela what a great idea . im stummed for mine no ideas come too me yet . jasmine

05-08-2007, 07:45 AM
thank you for your time and efforts Armin :wave:

WOW, so much to learn, I think it's way beyond me but I will try LOL, my mind is on a tree with either my hubby or my mom . and thats about all I have in mind so far :D

05-08-2007, 10:43 AM
Let me address the general questions first. I didn’t want to have a built in time frame on this but we needed some deadline. Even though its four weeks I don’t care if it takes a year, most of you will want to start this in mind and four weeks is acceptable but as in Reinhards case I don’t want someone not to participate because they can not get it completed in the four week window its just an arbitrary suggestion anyway. TAKE YOUR TIME…we all hurry through the art process for different reasons, let this drawing really be part of your life for a while, ill be here for the long run.

Size of drawing? If you scanner can’t handle it use your digital camera, I don’t like using scanners anyway. If you don’t have a digital camera it’s probably time to get one they are dirt cheep now. But again if you can’t do it large I’ll accept that, do what you can. Is larger better? No it has nothing to do with that, I have noticed that most draw quite small here and this is a way to shock you into thinking with a perspective in mind, your perceptions changes. Its just another way to think our of the box (God I got to get rid of that expression)

Thank you Jeanette, Joane, frieda, jasminerose, Colette, Desiree, Stacy, Lessandra, and Sultz for your input.

Thanks Sue, probably not a good idea to do anther self portrait, you can only sit in front of a mirror for so long before you get sucked inside and have to live in a parallel universe.

Thanks Sue, I have taught this class as a 12 week course and yes people get very in tuned with their psyche

Thanks April I don’t think four weeks is going to do it for you, thats how long the pencil sharpening stage normally lasts. LOL Anyway I find it a good idea to get definitions to words that you are thinking about, be it the title or any symbolic words that you use within the project. The drawing is looking great so far, the area under the nose and in front of mouth seems unduly dark at this point but it might fall into place when you progress. I love the trail of tears, great choice. Don’t keep your thoughts totally away from the class that’s what we are learning from; but a little mystery is impotent as well. When my work is on the wall I tell very little about my concept, I am more interested on how the viewer interprets the content and buy then a different truth has evolved, the viewer’s truth. Yet we are here in a class situation, we learn from each other so spill some beans. But you can also PM me to tell more my lips are sealed.

Reinhard your one of the people I was looking forward to participating, again time is not an issue.

Thanks Debee, getting to know you last weekend, I’ll know you’ll kick…..well you know….

Dave I love your concept go for it…..

Angela torn paper and burnt paper has a fantastic presents, it’s a great symbol!

Jean this is not way beyond anyone, this things are inside all of us, you mission is to find your voice and you will.


05-08-2007, 12:19 PM
Gosh I don't have time for this at all but am going to try to fit it in anyway. Going for the homage one, I too lost mom last summer.

05-08-2007, 12:40 PM
Armin, thanks for understanding my situation. I am more than eager to participate.

05-08-2007, 12:47 PM
Thanks for offering this class Armin, it means alot to be able to participate in a class taught by someone whos work I admire. As far as the concept to the drawing, I know what I would like to convey, and this is exactly what my work has been lacking only because it scares the **** out of me, but its exactly the push I needed. What if someone questions me about the elements that I've used etc. omg do I want to let someone know me that well, eck! As long as long as we're all in this together.
I will be doing a portrait of my son, using as my main reference a photo I took of him when he was 3, he's now 23, but this photo conveys his true love which is music. I'll be using music also as an underlying theme, with elements taken loosely from bands that my son likes as well as other interests of his, possibly also a reference as to how much he and I are alike. Now I have to find where I put the illustration board I bought a couple of years ago, find the larger version of the ref photo that I know I have but must be in the attic. Much work to do!! I just love a new project! Thanks again :)!

Gordon's art
05-08-2007, 02:45 PM
I have decided on doing a self portrait, IT will be of me sat in front of a blank canvas on an easel but there will be drawings of two of my drawings as a tribute to two people who meant a lot to me in my life one is my father and the other (you might guess) is Elvis at the back of me, the blank canvas represents my starting from scratch in learning a new way of drawing

Ruth Tyson
05-08-2007, 03:08 PM
Hi Armin
I've just joined WC because I heard you were doing this class and I'd really like to participate. I'm worried though because 'thinking' isn't exactly my forte in or out of 'the box', it's possible I may fall at the first hurdle. I'll see if a glass of wine helps. I am determined to give it a try though, it's about time I tried pushing the envelope (sorry, another overused phrase)
Thanks for the opportunity, it's a year since I discovered Nimra and I've been inspired to do more gritty work!

05-08-2007, 04:11 PM
Armin, I was thinking of doing a portrait of my grandmother. All on one sheet, with her as a young woman, with her as a child and then a shot in the top of her just before she passed. This will take a long while to finish, but it is a tribute to the woman who took care of me for a year of my life. She loved me as child, then helped me as a young woman, then I was blessed to care for her. Do you think this is too much for one portrait? Would you say this is an Homage or a narrative portrait?

05-08-2007, 04:47 PM
Midge3 portraits in one ??? You're a brave lady !!! :thumbsup:
I was thinking of 2 in 1 ... one from the past and one now ... but I'm getting a little nervous just thinking about it ...

05-08-2007, 05:44 PM
After I posted that, I realised just what I was putting myself into. Now, I think perhaps her with me as a young child. I remember that she seemed so old, yet she was younger than I am now. LOL. Age is relative isn't it?!

05-08-2007, 07:26 PM
Wow Angela, Midge and Gordon, you are all brave doing multiple portraits. I am thinking of self portrait with a reflected image but I figure any hiccups can be labelled 'water movement' :p :evil:.

There are so many options to explore, I think the planning will be more than half of this project. I can see myself doing something fairly foreign to me; creating thumbnails to plan the values & placements - I usually just dive straightin.

Heres to our improvement.


05-08-2007, 09:04 PM
The hard part for me is the overall size. 19x24 is life like for the main body of the work. Phew. That is a lot of space to cover in pencil. It takes me forever on an 8x10. I am busy doing the line drawing, but wanted to see if anyone else has come up with ideas.

see you all around the classroom.

05-08-2007, 09:29 PM
I may give this one a shot even though I'm 'up to my ears' in art projects. An avenue will, eventually, make itself known. :eek:

05-08-2007, 11:01 PM
Wow.. I was getting my pencils all lined up, ready to go.. sharpened.. erasers to hand.. paper stacked by my side.. drawing board with lots of clips.. and wham! the assignment.

All my supplies are sitting idle while I sip my beer and think.. and think... and think..

I am so excited about this project, and yet.. I don't have a clue as to what this project will become or how I will handle the assignment.. I only know that I am in! Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity..


05-08-2007, 11:17 PM
This is my first post here in years. I heard about your class from someone, Armin, and had to check it out. I am quite inspired now after reading this thread. I will be participating but I have to finish my current projects first. I hate leaving drawings unfinished. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with everyone Armin. :)

05-08-2007, 11:49 PM
Time is the artist’s best friend, how long would it take you to do three drawings? Or six? Or one incredibly special one? Again don’t be too concerned about the four week window if you can make it great if not stay the course.

Margret this would be a great homage I know it helped me deal with feelings

Reinhard great to hear it!

Jackie if art is honest you put yourself on the line, be it just the way you “see” a flower or if it’s a deep emotional bleed. Good concept!

I like where you’re going here, how will Elvis be rendered, what if it’s symbolic? Don’t take the mystery away from the viewer by laying all out, mysterious works have great lasting power.

Welcome Ruth to WC you wont get a lot of “you rock dude” but that not all bad aye?

Midge, sounds like a grand journey, its an homage, the narratives is where the sitter is actually playing a part, like an actor in your story, a definite homage. And let the idea stew for a while, it will take shape. The size needs to be large for this huge project but in the end ill leave it to you, but don’t go smaller than 11 x 14 if you can

Thanks Sue, Angela and Stone!

Linda Ideas will come in the strangest times be open to them

Man Brian you’re all over the place, you would do a masterful work on this my friend! Don’t forget my opening south of GR in October; I’ll go off the wagon for you to buy me that beer!


05-08-2007, 11:50 PM
Hello Armin. I am thinking, thinking. About joining the class, committing to the portrait, and what I would draw. I initially thought an homage to my dad, still living, 71 years old, as I have long wanted to draw him. Tonight while I was working on a stained glass mosaic vase for my mother, I thought, perhaps a self portrait, a mosaic somehow which reflects different aspects of my life.

I wear glasses...could turn those into a bicycle that symbolized the coast to coast bicycle trip I took in 1989...
I have a husband I love, with our frailties and strengths...
three sons, all unique...
physical therapist...
Christian seeking to bring the Kingdom now...
oldest of seven children...
a loner much of the time...

Thanks for your time. I'll keep thinking.


05-09-2007, 05:51 AM
Hello Armin ... thank you for taking the time to host this class. This is going to take a decidedly religious tone but that's who I am and something that is important to me. I had been thinking about the assignment for a couple days and come up with nothing. Then last night as I was driving home from Bible study I got to thinking about my life. More specifically, I looked back at all the dreams I've had and pursued and how they all seemed to either fail or turn out differently than I had initially hoped/thought. In the end the only thing that is real is Christ. This began to take shape in symbolism to me and I thought I'd run this by you.

For now, the working title is "Shattered Dreams" and it has 3 stages. On the left is a child building something with blocks - those wooden ones with the ABC's on them. He is working on the left and all the blocks are nicely placed. As we move further to the right they crumble into ruin and chaos, however, out of those crumbled blocks a brick building is being done by a middle aged or at least an older man. But just as with the childish blocks the bricks tumble into ruin as we move further to the right. At last, on the far right stands an old man. Out of the ruined bricks stands Jesus with his hand out to the old man. I have not considered that any of the characters are building anything in particular, just neatly stacking their building blocks. To carry this to an even further level, rising off the top of their blocks would be an image depicting the dream that failed. From the child would be a musician on stage playing guitar. From the bricks would be a bride. Adding these last embellishments might make this too far beyond my skills at this point not to mention too busy.

I have no idea what size this needs to be ... I'll have to do some sketches to figure it out. This will be a gigantic leap from my comfort zone as I've never attempted anything remotely like this before. I don't know how familiar you are with my work to date, but mostly I do 9x12 portraits. I have developed a certain skill at copying photos, and I have recently begun to enhance features and otherwise modify the image. In fact, a recent drawing of Moses was only roughly based on the original reference photo but I changed almost everything about it. So this is an entirely new area for me and I'm not quite sure I'm ready to tackle it but I will give it my best shot. It's a good thing time isn't the issue though ... my 9x12's usually take me a month to do because I can generally only draw on weekends and this will be significantly more involved and larger. Even though I can see what I'm thinking in my mind's eye, I've only been at this drawing thing for 2 years so my experience is meagre and limited solely to evaluating and a visual explanation of photos, I don't want to dream so high that I would be so far over my head that failure would be almost guaranteed - in other words simply an extension of the drawing itself. (I'm more than somewhat of a perfectionist and expect quite a bit of myself - and in the end, I'm the one I need to please).

I'd appreciate your thoughts.

05-09-2007, 07:50 AM
Thanks April I don’t think four weeks is going to do it for you, thats how long the pencil sharpening stage normally lasts. LOL Anyway I find it a good idea to get definitions to words that you are thinking about, be it the title or any symbolic words that you use within the project. The drawing is looking great so far, the area under the nose and in front of mouth seems unduly dark at this point but it might fall into place when you progress. I love the trail of tears, great choice. Don’t keep your thoughts totally away from the class that’s what we are learning from; but a little mystery is impotent as well. When my work is on the wall I tell very little about my concept, I am more interested on how the viewer interprets the content and buy then a different truth has evolved, the viewer’s truth. Yet we are here in a class situation, we learn from each other so spill some beans. But you can also PM me to tell more my lips are sealed.


Hee hee hee! No indeed, four weeks isn't going to cut it! :p

I was wondering if you were going to say something about the nose and mouth area. :) The reason for this is because of a shadow being cast there. It all goes along with what's happening in this drawing.

I suppose I could spill some beans......:) This is a class and I truly want to learn more, so I will take your advice and share some. I won't share everything, only because there will be so many things in this that it would be too much, but I'll share a bit. :)

This drawing will be much like how "He Is" was. There will be much symbolism and the background plays a huge role. I will have two subjects in this drawing. The subject on the left will be Jesus. They will be facing eachother and the young woman is placing the crown of thorns on his head. Just as with "He Is", everything in this piece will be symbolic. The reason why "catalyst" plays such a huge role is because Jesus is a catalyst. He brings change without he himself being changed.

Personally there is much more to this, and to the viewer there will be their own versions. Because of the amount of symbolism in this, I can't really explain in words what everything means. While I shared the above, it is only a shell of what everything means. I have a hard time explaining this concept. I know what I feel inside, I know the symbols that will be used, but to try and explain it leaves a blank. I'd much rather draw it......Drawing pictures is better for me than words. :)

I'm flying by the seat of my pants with this one. Trust is a huge lesson right now. While I see the majority of the image clearly in my mind, there are many things left unknown. I will only know it after it is done, I suppose. I have to trust that everything will turn out the way I see it in my mind.


05-09-2007, 12:34 PM
April-your reputation has proceded you!:D:lol: Will prove to be an awesome piece.

Ken-I really like the concept you outlined!

RONNIE!!! So glad to have you back with us!:clap: :clap:

Armin-I have a few sketches I am working on-and I think I have chosen the one I like the best. I hope to post in the next few days the concept.

05-09-2007, 01:24 PM
Hi Armin, first of all, thank you so much for doing this for us. Sure is a huge challenge- makes me soooo nervous! Been even thinking if this is too much and have just been following along...but really, your class is too important to miss! if I die trying, at least I tried :lol::D

As I first thought just to lurk and see what others come up with, I didn't pay attention to my own idea much- or I didn't know to have paid attention to it.

Today I had an usual visit to my old highschool- I go there time to time to seek inspiration- They have this amazing biology warehouse with all these great subjects to draw and study. One especially were most facinating. It was an old style glass jar. Inside of it were a complete life cycle of a chicken, the brown liquid where it had been stored had started to fade and only had half of it left. At the same time it were interesting to look at, but still had this creepy and sad feeling to it, as the now being a study subject has once been alive.

I'll use this jar to tell about my life. Each stage of that chicken were more evolved than the previous one- I've changed, grown as a person, as an artist, my work and my life can now be seen and studied: in that cycle a part of me has always died, so I could become a better (or worse) person. This jar what were used, is the world I live in- this is world made of glass. It's fragile and narrow. The glass itself isolates me from the rest of the world. The liquid inside of it either is what I have left or what I still have to come, something to wait for, something to hope for. But why a chicken? Well, I'm shy, I'll run away if there's a danger :p

Well, this is just one idea, really rough idea, don't know does it make any sense either, but it's something.

Gordon's art
05-09-2007, 01:42 PM
here is a rougth idea of my concept for my drawing i was toying with the idea of two small versions of the drawing behind me now I think I will go with larger versions :confused: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-May-2007/41972-drawing_class.jpg

05-09-2007, 03:14 PM
Here is my line drawing. Let me know if you think it will work. I placed the line of music on the top because my grandmother had a piano, and I first learned to make music on that piano. Since then I have played in my church for many years (before I got sick and couldn't coordinate any longer).

I was wondering if I made the child large enough. I was thinking that they needed to be that size apart. What do you think?

05-09-2007, 09:13 PM
wow some great ideas and thoughts are comingfrom everyone... as for me the 4 weeks threw me for a sec only because im moving to another state next week and didnt know how i was going to do it.. now i know that the timeframe is flexible im excited again :-).. i have a lot of ideas and im looking forward to just mulling through them and coming up with something personal.. something my work has been lacking until now...

05-09-2007, 09:50 PM
Armin - I would like to add my thanks to those of all the others who are amazed at your work and appreciative of your taking the time to teach us.

Still thinking. Will have to decide soon as I am running low on wine.

For a narrative I am thinking of something that visually explains my spiritual beliefs.

For a homage I am thinking of my wife and doing a series of portraits from the 43 years we have been together. ( 3 dating/40 married) The portarits would mark milestones we traveled together.

For a symbolic self portrait I had an idea for about 8-10 symbols that summarize my life to date.

Still sipping and cogitating...

05-10-2007, 06:28 AM
Wow, this tread is going fast. Didn't look for a day and already so much new messages.
Ken ... I love your idea for "shattered dreams".
Teea ... what a place to look for inspiration, sounds good, a world in a glass bottle. Makes sense to me ... but who am I ?
Gordon ... great sketch (and ... EP can't be big enough :D , but leave some room for your dad too)
April ... wow, fantastic portrait so far ... I'm following your "catalist-tread" as wel.
Midge ... great sketch as well .. like the music-notes (maybe you can make them bigger and use them as the entire background, just an idea).

Did a lot of sketching yesterday, tried some different technics to make the torn paper work and made the line-drawing for the portraits.
I also can use some advice, I am a beginner at portraits and backgrounds as well. What is the best aproach in this ? Do the background first, or work out the faces first ?

Thanx, Angela.
(sorry for my poor Englisch, I try my best, but can't find the right words sometimes, hope you all can understand it)

05-10-2007, 07:37 AM
wow . im stuck compleatly on this one . what too do ? tryed doing a self portrate but it was really bad . thought about drawing my mum but she hates having her picture taken let alone a drawing . what do you think guys ? from jasmine.

05-10-2007, 07:41 AM
I guess I could do a symbolic portrate but most of my life is not too good so i dont like too remember it . ? need help guys . from jasmine

05-10-2007, 08:15 AM
Hi Jasminerose,
Don't know if I can help you, but I'll try ....
First ... take a deep breath ... don't panic ... no mather how "bad" your life seems to be, there must be things you love (drawing for example ?), people you love. My past wasn't always a walk in the park either, but there are also much things to be greatfull for ... a good friend ... a great hobby ... What is your passion ? What makes your day good again, or who can ? Do you have a pet you love ? Are you a outdoor person or are there things you love to do ? What kind of work do you do or would you like to do ?
Who are you ? What would you like to be ? What are your wishes, your dreams ? Your goals ?
I think a sybolic portrait don't has to be about the past, but can also be about the future .......
About your "bad" selfportrait ... I'm not a portrait artist either ... but who cares ? It's YOUR project, YOUR drawing ... about YOUR feelings and dreams ... I think there are no "rights" or "wrongs" in that !!!!

Ruth Tyson
05-10-2007, 01:55 PM
Hi Jasminerose
I too am struggling a bit...it's a much harder task than I thought....but I'm thinking of doing a symbolic self portrait. Armin's symbolic portrait was based on not so happy memories, so there is no reason why you couldn't do the same. The fact that you will be using symbols might make it less difficult for you to portray your hard times. I'm still not sure what to do myself yet, but I just thought I'd share with you my thoughts in trying to decide.

05-10-2007, 04:41 PM
hi jasmine.. i have had a pretty crazy life myself and dont talk about it or try to remember it much but i think this might be a great opportunity to express those times through art.. i think it would be really cathartic and it would be a giant leap into making your art more personal and unique :-).. i have been thinking about addressing some of my issues in my portrait... we are all in this together be brave :-)

05-10-2007, 05:41 PM
In the spirit of throwing out ideas, how about this one? I decided that drawing two people was even harder, as they are so large. So, perhaps if I draw only one and make her full size it will be possible to do in a month.
I need to redo the leg that is folded under the other one, but other than that I think this one is better. What do you think?

05-10-2007, 06:56 PM

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. I am in, and will be on a longer timeline to complete the portrait. Am winding down from a hectic (and often painful) year of transition, and find myself feeling disconnected from my creative process... was grateful to read that you understand the need to go within and incubate ideas. Creatively speaking, I feel almost fragile right now. Via formal education I am working on technique and foundation knowledge/skills but sense that I have yet to bridge the gap between external learning and internal gnosis.

Still undecided on which option to go with, but will re-read, and savor the possibilities.


05-10-2007, 08:06 PM
To Jasminerose. There is not a person anywhere that has had a perfect life. Your happiness or lack thereof depends not on what happens on your life but how you react to what happens to you. Try to use this class to exorcise devils from the past. Many times those bad times make us who we are and can make us much stronger. Try to think of the positive things that have come out of that past. You will come up with a wonderful drawing.
All the best to you. :)

05-10-2007, 08:45 PM
This is a first approxomation of my project 'Awaiting to be judged'.

I hope, it might be perceivable, that I am rather scared of that judgement to come but still curious. The scale as a symbol should be rather clear and evident. The pilar without clear top is to indicate that there are 'higher powers (but who are THEY???) in art who are to judge me somehwere up there on a pedestal; and the little sketch (very fast and very poor but at this stage I did not want to invest too much into likeness and the size is very small so that makes it even more difficult; it is a sort of a placeholder sketch there) of a person is suppposed to indicate that someone has been inspiring and leading me; maybe it is him who will cast the final vote ?

Why this layout? Because it is exactly what I feel at the moment and I did not want to sit down and imagine a drawing overloaded with symbolism just is just not me. I am not even sure that this will be the image of me I will want to use but I asked Regina to take a quick photo in that position with flash and all just to see if this might work.

p.s. looking at it in the porst I don't really like the compositional flow. It somehow looks 'stacked' and artificially arranged. Need more thinking for that. Maybe a symbol or 2 has(ve) to go.

05-10-2007, 09:32 PM
First I want to throw out some general observations; I think you are all doing a great job sketching, thinking and digging deep into your psyche. Let your subconscious make some of the decisions for you, symbols will come to the forefront and they may not to make sense, they come “out of nowhere”… but they don’t, they’ve always been entwined. They are so much a part of you, they appear often in your dreams let them be part of your work, you just might understand yourself better.
Don’t make the symbols to easy to understand (for the viewer), case in point: you do a drawing about your love of fly-fishing, you draw your “happy-self” surrounded by fishing flys, fishing rods and a couple of unfortunate brown trouts stuffed on a plaque to be forever mounted on your wall. This isn’t a self portrait but and easy to understand drawing of one’s hobbies, it tells very little and yet gets tedious to look at in no time, nothing for the viewer to discover, unless it’s another fly fisherman.

Ronnie I like the way you’re braking this down..

Ken I am very aware of your work and it’s wonderful! Religious ideology is very strong and appropriate for this kind of thing, a world of symbolism.

April, trust is a major key to a lot of my work, this will be another great one.

Thanks Judi and Ruth

Teea, this chicken thing has fantastic potentials; it just depends on how you handle it, what a great concept!

Gordon great prelim…why not make part of EP go behind you a bit, it puts it more in the environment than both pictures swimming around your head. Also what if a three dimensional object that’s a symbol for your father was hanging on the wall partially covering his picture?

Great so far Midge, I actuary like the single figure better but play with it...

Naomi, did I say four weeks I meant years…..

Joe, that kind of relationship is worth celebrating in art, I would go for it

Angela each case is different, but I would start with the portrait and work back, at least on this one, great start.

Jasmine do the portrait of your mom anyway, sneak the photo, talk here into it, tell her it’s for your art. As far as “my life is not too good” that’s exactly why it needs to be explored in art, so some of it makes sense.


05-10-2007, 09:41 PM
Reinhard we cross-posted, I like your idea and concept could be very interesting I can also feel your nervousness. Great! That’s exactly what I feel every time I start a new one, it’s this tingling, nauseous feeling where I can’t sleep because I might not get any ideas or worse… awful ones and even better half way through a project when I think I have lost all ability to draw or to be creative that’s when I dig deeper and once again pull it out, just like you will my friend.


05-10-2007, 10:01 PM
Looks like a missed a few while I was writing

Kiva, take your time and really examine your thoughts and what that last year was like. I to had two parents die in my arms last year and its my art that helped get me through it, does it give closer, I don’t think that well ever happen, I lost my grandmother in 1969 and I still grieve. You are fragile but that a time to reflect, examine and bleed out on paper.

Good point Margret!


frieda L
05-10-2007, 10:24 PM
:evil: this tingling, nauseous feeling where I can’t sleep because I might not get any ideas or worse… awful ones

haha, that's where I am at, nothing but blank. I might not get anywhere for a while... probably not in may. Soon, I will be twiddling my thumbs in the gallery, when the season is over, and then I will have hours on end to think and think and think... I have always thought of myself as having some depth, in dutch there is a saying that quiet waters have deep bottoms, or quiet pounds have deep grounds,... I thought that described me. Now I am trying to look into the depths... and I see only mud.:lol: :evil: That could make for a quick self portrait. :lol:
I love the work you are all doing, some good progress made.
I admire how some of the masters managed to paint religious scenes that the church embraced (and sponsored), while in fact, they disguised their own views that went totally against everything the church dictated, and showed a totally personal view of the world. Talk of hidden symbolism!
That is not the direction I am taking, though... but I hope I get past the muddy pond symbolism.:D

05-11-2007, 12:49 AM
I have an idea, wow, what a concept, yet I feel like it would be easy to get carried away in the symbolism and try to put too many messages into one piece of artwork. I am almost afraid to admit I feel this way, I have never really allowed myself to admit some of these things. It is as though by not saying them outloud it makes them not so. This assignment is like asking us to expose ourselves on paper, revealing some of the deepest parts of ourselves to strangers. My husband said to me, Can't you just draw a picture? LOL I have never really dug this deep before, I feel like many others here, just struggling with the assignment. I think that even in my artwork I have put on a front, the mask of painting a happy picture, not allowing any of the sadness to creep in. My thought is of myself,straining to lift my arms so my head is looking up, holding up or lifting my fists that are full of chains, each connected to something of weight, my arms are made of rock or stone to represent the strength others see in me because of what I have gone through, behind my arms of stone I am hanging naked, parts are stone but parts are breaking away to reveal wounds and blood, some areas may even be transparent. I hang over water or something without substance, my feet almost in the postition I picture Christs' feet to be in on the cross. I also want to include some wings, either on me or on a dove that have been clipped severly. Behind me, in the background would be pieces of my life that have always been sacrificed. I don't know how I will get it all together in a good composition, still working on a sketch, I am a bit afraid to commit it to paper. Hmmm, maybe a nice portrait honoring someone might be better, still reading the assignment over and over!

05-11-2007, 01:20 AM
wow thankyou naomi . ruth and angel , what great ideas . yes thats what ill do then , a self portrate but in symbolisim . thankyou girls for that help . im feeling less freaked out . ill use the good parts of my life and maybe some ove the bad as well but im going off to think now you girls have helped me break through the hard bit, thanks agian isent it great we have eachother too work with . you can learn heaps that way. jasmine

05-11-2007, 01:24 AM
wow Desiree thats really powerful . what a great idea. jasmine

05-11-2007, 01:40 AM
ok armin should I use a photo of her or do her real ? thankyou from jasmine:)

Ruth Tyson
05-11-2007, 04:49 AM
Blimey, I had an idea! Woah Armin....you're good! How did you do it? How did you make an idea flash into my head and then build that way? It's never happened before.

So here are the basics of what I've come up with. My portrait will be of my son, he is autistic and has made the biggest impact on my life compared to anything or anyone else. I will also be in the picture but only symbolically, not as his mother.

I'm getting pretty excited now...I just hope I can pull it off technically, I'd hate to waste a good idea on a poor drawing.

05-11-2007, 06:31 AM
In my previous post I commented that the composition had an impression of 'being artificially arranged'. Instead of deleting some parts, I have added some and to me that has improved it a lot.

Firstly I added one more column, a little bit in the distance though; then I added a 'finished drawing' (hinted by some graphite shading) behind the head; and thirdly some drawing utensils - including a broken pencil.

Improved or overloaded?

05-11-2007, 06:47 AM
As I mentioned I plan to do an homage to my mother. I think included will be a rose or roses (she was crazy about roses and often painted them being an artist too) then the equation of 6 and 4 are 10 had meaning, the number 18. I still have all this whirling around in my mind and haven't had time to do any sketching yet for pulling it together. As I mull it over more things from mom's life may pop into the juggling act. But that's where I am at the moment.

05-11-2007, 07:29 AM
Desiree, you'll find working this way very scary yet very fulfilling at the same time. :) It does expose yourself, but there is understanding, healing, a releasing that comes from it. I have also experienced that this is where great art is to be found. It is these things that help the viewer relate to the artist. It draws them in and keeps them looking because they find, as Armin states, their own truth in it. This concept of yours is fantastic! Very powerful! This is art! Just a pretty picture is great if you want to hang it on your dining room wall, but art that invokes feeling and thought stays with the viewer even after they walk away from it. True art leaves an impression. A "pretty picture" doesn't do this.

Ruth Tyson, it is so good to see you here! I've often heard you say that creativity isn't in you and I've always thought "Only because you haven't delved into it." Creativity is in every one of us! I'm so glad you have found it! You're work will take a dramatic leap now - it will be fullfilling to you in such a way that you didn't know it was possible! Your work is already technically perfected - you won't mess up with this. :)

Wow! Seems I've jumped right in here and started yakking......sorry. I'm just so passionate about this now after discovering it myself, thanks to Armin. :) This class will be the start of so many great things for everyone. Armin is amazing at opening up your eyes to see your own potential without really saying too much. He directs your thoughts without pointing out the path, which is the perfect way to learn. Self-discovery creates a wonderful freedom. Ack! See? I'm going at it again. :) Anyway, I look forward to learning more from this class with him.:)

Reinhard, I love the hunched over figure covering the face in your drawing! Very powerful!

Gordon's art
05-11-2007, 08:21 AM
Reinhard this pillar that points to some higher being is pointing to the sketch of Armin (it is Armin isn't it) or someone that looks like him are you subconciously saying that you think Armin is a higher being in the art world
ArminI like your idea about the three dimensional object and thought of a golf club as he was a keen golfer thank you

05-11-2007, 08:31 AM
for some reason my scanner is saying that someother thing is using the port for the scanner ? what the heck is that mean ?it wont let me scan my picture that i did of my mum. oh well any ideas . thanks from jasmine

05-11-2007, 08:34 AM
it says the printer port is used by another divice what do you think has gone worng ? thats jasmine

05-11-2007, 09:02 AM
gordon, would I be wrong implying that? Armin definitely was and is influencing me very strongly artistically. Please keep in mind that this is a very personal piece.

05-11-2007, 09:39 AM
Jasminerose, I am helpless with technology but there is a computer forum in WC - you will prob find some help there.

Desiree, fabulous symbolism:clap: :thumbsup: .I would love to see that idea come to fruition.

Reinhard, far be it from me to critique someone as gifted as yourself, but I am feeling a resistance / stiffness in this piece. I am not sure if its your nervousness about this process or if it is the feeling that you wanted to convey. I like your thinking though, and as always admire your mastery of the pencil.

I am having more & more thoughts running through my head. There are so many things in my life that I would never give explicit expression to, perhaps a symbolic run here might work - but as I have never told anyone these things I will find it hard to voice them even in a symbolic way.Perhaps best not to pick at them after all.


05-11-2007, 10:28 AM
Sue, please, by all means, voice your opinion. This is what an open forum is all about. I hope to get a lot more critique on this. I feel more tension and apprehension than anything esle. Being a rather structured and realismoriented person venturing for the first time really into symbolism, what would I have expected.

05-11-2007, 11:53 AM
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS: A very important part of symbolism is scale; this can be eschewed to the point of surrealism. Lets say an egg is a symbol of yours, and its bigger then the person, the person is sitting on it or cracking it as she’s walking on it, she could be crawling out of it, everything “means” something different nothing needs to make sense in a realistic way but light sources should be constant to keep a consistency to the work.

Good point Frieda, hidden symbols and quasi-symbols are part of art history and it can be used in an interesting way by contemporary artists as well.

Desiree “This assignment is like asking us to expose ourselves on paper” I am asking that of you, no… your asking that of you if you want to do more powerful honest art. When you husband says to you why can t you just draw a picture? of course you can do that along with millions of others out here in cyber art land, but how do you grow as a creative entity, one way is to look deep within where other don’t dwell. Uncomfortable? Extremely! Rewarding? Extremely!

Jasmine, working from life in certainly the best way to do it, you can walk around the person, get close and most importantly understand what you observing. But if your mom can’t sit for you, work from both, draw a series of sketches and take photos as well. In our busy lives it’s hard to have live models but if you can do it more power to you it really its the best method. .

Gordon, I am not sure if you mentioned if your Dad is living or passed away. If the golf club in leaning against the wall, symbolically it points to his having died, unused waiting for someone to pick it up again, maybe that someone could be you? If it’s a small representation of a golf club or a whole set of them in miniature of course it simply means you or of him like golf. Placement and scale can change its meaning very quickly. What does Elvis meant to you? in addition to his image how can you describe this within your work?

What a great idea Ruth. We, the viewers don’t understand autism, what does that mean to a parent of an autistic child, what are the positives, what are the fears? You could do more then just a drawing but give us in insight into this world, perfect. 15 years ago I did a commission painting of an autistic young man, it was quite the project and I learned so much.

Reinhard, I like your pose very much! it very descriptive of the plight and the struggles of an artists. Your symbolism is very strong, but I don’t like the arrangement, its like four different drawings and feels forced. You need a true nexus of ideas, where they flow and feel united. Think about scale they don’t need be lifelike, your weaving us “around” your work but let the viewer travel “into” the drawing, that involves a strong, foreground, middle ground and background. Think more surreal, with dream like qualities. It is going to be very personal drawing but don’t forget to leave a sense of mystique.

Your in a good place Margaret, numbers are very powerful symbols universally and personally. The rose has many meanings and their color changes it as well, in black and white you can still allude to color. For instance a white rose universally means; Loyalty, Able to captivate secret thought, penetrating and platonic love. The rose of confession, the bridal rose, the rose of servitude.

Thanks for the good words April, and, as you know finding art within is a powerful journey that is quite different than drawing the observed. But without understanding the skills of observational drawing it can be very hard to add these powerful new conceptual abilities. Thanks you for your input as well.

Good points Sue. You don’t have to tell all in a drawing like this. It’s about sharing a part of you, a part that needs to get out or that you want to share. When ready other parts will be exposed some never will.


05-11-2007, 01:35 PM
I'm starting to wrap my mind around my symbolic self portrait and have made a few thumbnail sketches which I will scan later and post.

It will be loosely based on a book of 'Hours' - one of those fascinating illustrated medieval books which were often dedicated to prayer.

The central image will be my astrological sign - Pisces - two fish swimming in opposite directions. Realistic cod fish, symbolic of Newfoundland where my roots are, but not my heart.

The link between Newfoundland and Europe is the ocean and it will fill the top, indicating my years spent there. Large rocks on the cliff top indicate important people past and present, some toppled, some nearly buried in the grass and earth, other stones fractured or cracked. The sun is low in the sky, my knowledge that I'm not getting any younger :)

My role as a herbalist will form the corners - I haven't decided quite what form yet - some specific plant life and/or archaic herbal formulas written in latin.

Animals surround me and always have, but I'm not sure how that will be depicted yet. Should I use one animal to be symbolic of animal life or depict several important ones? Or should it be an entirely different symbol, not an animal at all, but representative of animals?

Those are my thoughts so far. I still have gaps to fill in the picture, but I believe that this will be the loose outline. Suggestions and comments are very welcome.

05-11-2007, 01:41 PM
I'm still here! I have been mulling over several ideas and themes and some interesting ideas have emerged. It's a bit like the creativity person (I think it was Eric Maisel in "Living the creative life" - "Do you stick with the first answer or surrender to the need to find the second?" http://www.ericmaisel.com/resources/living-creative-life.html ) - wait for the second great idea, don't just be content with the initial idea.

I've got several possible images which I could combine into one picture. I was considering doing each image as a polaroid photo and fanning them out in a circle with a puzzled face in the centre. However I was planning to work on the 14x17 paper size so this may be too small for all the content.

Instead I could focus on one image which is from a recurring dream. I could feel it's importance as I was brainstorming and then jotting notes down. It contains something that I need to address and so doing this as a drawing might help me figure it out. In this dream I'm running away from someone/something. I'm leaping down flights of stairs, hopping over railings in fire escapes, slithering through ductwork, and generally doing the evasive maneuver things like tipping over trash cans behind me as I run to slow down my pursuer. The interesting thing is that I have no idea who or what is pursuing me. I need to have this dream again and stop, turn around, and face the mysterious who or what.

I see several challenges in this drawing:
- environment - this includes figuring out a set of stairs or ducting or fire escape or railings or alley or garbage cans or ...
- composition - in my mind the figure running away is in the left middle or top ninth of the page and the mysterious figure is in the bottom right, possibly, with the maze of environment between them. But this is not the strongest possible layout
- persuer - I need to figure out what shape this pursuer will have in the drawing. Cloaked figure? Toothless prickly smelly ne'erdogood fellow brandishing a lead pipe? A blob of dust and debris like the one that follows the character PigPen in the Peanuts cartoons?
- pursuer - one or several?
- figure running away - should the figure be running away or turned to face the pursuer? If facing the pursuer, what is the expression on the face? Utter fear?

Ok it sounds like I'm talking myself into this one scene/image, and that I'll have the person facing the pursuer. That is the configuration that would help me figure out the meaning of this recurring dream.

As Jeanette says, suggestions and comments are welcome. Armin - is this a suitable project?


05-11-2007, 02:00 PM
Ok I've been thinking about this project and its hard . But i'm not quite sure if this is what I'll do but an idea all the same. Painting a portrait of me and some how painting Different MASK with Different emotions ,Kind of having to pick a emotion to make everyone happy when you dont always feel that way, Kinda haveing to always be what others want you to be to satisfy everyone, You see I'm the one everyone in my family/friends that they can turn too and I'm always here to help, But when I need a shoulder or help none of them are here for me, So for years I would wear a happy face with no troubles ,didnt want to cause any pain,troubles or a riff, but as I get older I've learned to speak up for my self ,to speak my mind and because I was always the happy and no opinioned one now everyone thinks I'm crazy, Wow this is a really personal Group and scary to share deep feelings because I'm a person who yearns to be like-able and scared of judgement Be I see this is a growing experience and we all have feelings to share so What do you think lol.

05-11-2007, 02:11 PM
Hello Armin and Class!
Armin, I have admired your work since I discovered Wet Canvas in 2005. You have an amazing talent an I appreciate that you are taking time to not only help us on our creative journeys, but at the same time sharing with us some of your creative journeys and thought processes.

I have been 'lurking' reading over this class and postings since it was put up and I really want to participate because this is exactly what I need! My head is overflowing with ideas but I have great difficulty getting them past the 'rough drawing' stage, so they sit stagnant on a shelf.

My work for this class will be a narrative self-portrait which will include symbolism. I am going through a divorce at 45, and the portrait will display how I am feeling at this time about the process, decisions that led up to this point and fear yet anticipation of moving on. (I actually came up with a start for the idea about a month ago and drew out one of those roughs)

Over the w/e I will work on refining the rough(s) and then post those along with more details on images being used and why.

One question: It may have some nudity or hint of nudity-I will appear as a foggy or misty image, either head & torso or full body walking, haven't decided yet on comp. Will that be alright here?

Thank you again Armin and Wet Canvas for this opportunity of creative exploration!

There are SOOOO many good ideas in this class already! Looking forward to sharing this journey with you all! :)

Gordon's art
05-11-2007, 03:51 PM
Reinhard I do appologise if by my statement I have offended you, that would be the furthest thing from my mind, all I can say is I did not think before I wrote what I wrote and I humbly and publicly beg your forgiveness and if I ever do anything like it again you can come to my home and give me a clout(smack) around the ears. Again I do send my appologies:o :(

05-11-2007, 04:51 PM
Aha! More Classmates! :clap: :clap:
This is wonderful! Armin-we can be a handful mind you:evil: :lol: and don't listen to Dave-I have no tomatoes:angel:

I have my concept selected and it is a self portrait. It will represent surviving lifes paths - which are represented meandering thru the drawing. I chose to begin the portrait at the time of my divorce. I was in great anguish/pain and sinking fast (that will be represented by water-maybe).Then I saw the bottom-it is RIGHT there--time to swim! So I pulled myself back up, onto a side ledge - which is concrete-(indicating it will still be hard-but I need to embrace the lesson and move on) Time passes and I learn much about real survival and become stronger. I am stuggling with raising three children, a mortgage, working, ya-de-ya-de-ya-dah--but I am doing it-al on my own! My head is well above the water now-and I am seeking peace and balance in my life. The seeking of balance will be indicated by the scales.
Then enters Patrick, my soul mate. As I am able to handle a romantic elationship again-the path now is no longer concrete but is a path thru the calming woods-strolling along the dirt paths amung the fallen leaves (we met in the fall season).
We marry two years after we met. Life is still very busy-each child begins moving along to college, some in High School and participating in sports-but all is well.:heart:
We bought a house together and we both love flower gardening-so the next path is a stone lined garden, full of lavender, lilacs, daisies, and coneflowers-to indicate tranquility-which is my present place. There are still challenges-there will always be-but that is life. I hope to remain in the garden for the rest of my life-then hopefully will be invited to heaven (indicated by the softness of clouds at the top of the drawing). This may be tweeked yet but will get the line drawing done. I have never done one this large-or chalenging before!:eek:

05-11-2007, 05:02 PM
gordon, paleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease. There was nothing I could have been offended by. By all means, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong. Peace. :wave:

05-11-2007, 06:00 PM
So, here we try again. I have taken the suggestions and TRIED to incorporate them. I eliminated the scale, the judging eyes and cut the column. The idea of being weighed I try to say by bringing in a feather on top of the broken column, indicating heavy and light. I hope that the feather points towards the drawing. Unfortunately I had to eliminate the 'Armin sketch' since I felt that the eyes pull away from the main topic. If you said NO, I'd be more than happy. One further element was brought in, a wall, closing off and fencing in, although the top starts to crumble by that other little symbol up there. This is just to give you an idea.

I await help, suggestions, critique, improvements ........

Please see below .......... :wave:

p.s. Now you know why I always, rightfully so, stayed away from backgrounds in my drawings. :lol:

Gordon's art
05-11-2007, 06:22 PM
Reinhard is this a rough sketch or have you started your drawing because its is very good

05-11-2007, 06:30 PM
gordon, this is still a rough sketch where I tried to see how some form shading might work. Armin wouldn't let me get away with that. I will not start the real thing before I hve not received the o.k. from Armin. This is my very first drawing where I wanted to say more than just drawing the portrait and need to learn a ton about composition. On top of that I will ask Regina to do some more photos in this pose in natural light without a flash to get better and meaningful shadings. Might even then be able to play around with them a bit to see what would fit best.

I am just thinking whether the 'brick wall' might be replaced by a curtain indicating that the barrier is not really a barrier and all it would need is my courage to push it aside. The folds of the curtain could 'lead' as well towards the portrait to get the visual flow better. Any thoughts there from the rest of you ??????????????? Helpppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp, please!

05-11-2007, 07:16 PM
I guess I could do a symbolic portrate but most of my life is not too good so i dont like too remember it . ? need help guys . from jasmine

Why restrict yourself to the past? 'What if' can be enticing.

05-11-2007, 07:22 PM
I admire how some of the masters managed to paint religious scenes that the church embraced (and sponsored), while in fact, they disguised their own views that went totally against everything the church dictated, and showed a totally personal view of the world. Talk of hidden symbolism!

Eh? For example?

05-11-2007, 07:23 PM
Reinhard, Hello Again! Good to see that you are deeply involved in this class already :)

First, I'd like to say that the portrait and concept is fantastic, you are doing great, personally I don't know what to tell you about the curtain vs the brick wall....but what I would like to comment on is the drawing board if you don't mind...you seem to be ever so slightly hinting at wanting suggestions :)

I wonder if the line of the drawing board should be right at the top of the head? Or would the drawing board be more interesting to the composition and not interfere with your head if it were larger and perhaps on an angle as it would be if it was resting on an easel?

Just a humble suggestion. I admire your stick-to-it attitude!

It is just a thought, Michele

05-11-2007, 07:46 PM
Past, present, and future all in one. The tree is what I used to draw as a coloring book for my children when they were young. The door in its side is where the little people lived, the cut off branches represent that my children were stolen so my blossoming was stopped. The easel is empty because my mind is empty. The hand represents me now drawing the child I used to be. The stuffed bear was the only toy I had as a child and I wanted this child to have a toy to cuddle.

A lot of stuff for one painting/drawing. Phew. Armin, is this what you had in mind?

05-11-2007, 07:47 PM
I originally thought this would be dark and deep - and it is in many ways but I can see more and more clearly the realms of possibilities in forcing myself past the pain threshold and moving into a more comfortable zone.

Judy, good to see you here too. Its nice to share class space with friends. :) Your scenario sounds interesting. I will wait to see what your draft is like before I comment more.

Reinhard, the pose is wonderful and so expressive. Wall or curtain? That can really be only decided by you, as you set the boundary for where you want this to go. I would like to see more depth to it too. Pushing that wall back further perhaps and instead of a house (I think) peeking over the wall, just sky and clouds?

This is my first thumbnail based on my previous post. Even as I post it, it changes a little in my mind and additions come into it. The two symbols on the left - the ring buoy and the mill stone will move upwards quite likely and be just the millstone. It represents responsibility - too much - weighing me down. The ring buoy represented current work, tethering me but I don't think that symbol will stay.

THe bottom left, an empty egg shell - a baby lost many years ago. The cat - animal, mystery, independence. The bottom right, the child in me. It may all get rearranged and rearranged but these are the first thoughts and scribblings to get them on paper. Later I will put them into some semblance of order.


05-11-2007, 07:52 PM
Reinhard, I like the idea of a curtain, because you knock down any wall that might stop you from your goals. A curtain is not so hard to get around or through. I remember once I used a 2x4 to knock down a brick wall (I used to have a temper) and it was hard on the body. So a curtain sounds much more reasonable.

I like the way you have your hand to your face. Your thumbnail is quite good.

Jeanette, your thumbnail is really interesting.

05-11-2007, 08:04 PM
Reinard, I too love your pose and I like what you've done w/ the column. Have you a reason for the clip on the piece of paper to be right in the middle of your head? Have you considered moving it to the left. Just a thought. After I get through this weekend of preparing for a show, I'll get started on mine. I'm thrilled, scared and everyhting in between about this project. Sucess to us all!

05-11-2007, 08:48 PM
Rein! I love your beginnings here!

Midge-Looking good! I really love your idea of the past, present and fuutre-and what a great idea on the teddy!

Jeanette!:wave: I love your symbology! I cannot wait to watch this-the fish really have my interest.

My layout may change a lil as I rethink things as I go--and may run out of paper. :lol: May be a lil more simplistic than I planned-or perhaps a lil different arrangement due to the compositional layout started. I want to ponder this layout more before I go further. I have roughed myself out so far on where I want to be here. I look a bit younger-about 10 years!:eek: -but the shadows and creases will be creeping in as I go along.

Gordon's art
05-11-2007, 09:30 PM
ok I had a rethink still mostly the same but now instead of an empty canvas i thought I would do a half finished (or is it half completed) picture of Elvis with a tear falling down his face to symblise the pain I felt at his passing and the unfinished part of my life where there will be nothing new to look forward to coming from Elvis, the picture of my father ( who has passed away) I took Armins suggestion and now have it framed and going behind me to add depth and make it part of the whole picture instead of just floating around and I have put a golf club leaning against it to represent my fathers enjoyment in playing golf ( as armin said it now stands unused and waiting) sorry the scan is a bit dark but I think you can get the idea http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-May-2007/41972-drawing_class_007.jpg

05-11-2007, 09:43 PM
Reinhard, it must be eprception but I don't see it as a brick wall - with the rise in it I saw it as a climb to the achievable level of who you see as a mentor - achievable but something to be worked at & for. I love the pose you have given yourself - I can feel the frustration with your work ( I know you have that - we all do no matter how accomplished) as well as the tension in deciding just how much of ourselves to share. The curtain as has been said is your own choice but I don't see the wall as a block - if we don't work for the things we want to achieve its sometimes hard to appreciate them. I really think you've found your mojo in this piece - it will of course change & be tweaked along the way but I think you've got it!!:thumbsup:

Judi, like your concept but not sure that I would have the patience to go into the detail that you have planned - will enjoy seeing you narrative portrait emerge.

Jeanette, love the symbology that you've got going & will enjoy seeing this refined as you continue.

Midge, I would have thought there would be more darkness in yours as I read your explanation before looking at your drawing - but now that I look again I am seeing yourself as a child perhaps representative of your niavity in some situations in your life, and your hand in there drawing your old self as representative of the control you've found in your life now. Please let me know if I am way off base but I like what you've drawn so far.

I am working on some thumnail sketches at the moment & have found I have 2 ideas on the run at the moment - will post what I've got so far when both ideas have fought it out in my subconscious :eek: & I come up with a winner :D .


05-11-2007, 11:02 PM
Hi guys wow some fantastic work going on!! .. im still in my head playing around with ideas.. i have so many!! which i find suprising as i thought withought a clear photo to use etc i wouldnt be creative enough to think of something....

i have two kinda vague ideas at the moment im playing with..

one is a huge picture of a tree one of those big spooky kinda trees that are in the fog somewhere and it will have branches reaching off everywhere and at the end of some of the branches there will be different eyes looking in different directions.. my idea with this is that the tree symbolises me finding my place in life finally hence the big strong tree.. the fog will kinda symbolise the eeriness and kinda mystery of my mind (not sure if i am explaining this well) and the eyes are representing where my mind is pulled to all these different places i kinda want to forget.. hmm
let me explain this again.... right now in my life i feel like i have finally found a place where i belong with my partner but even though i am happy and content my mind is very busy and gets pulled back to memories of the past memories of abuse and foster families etc not feeling like a belong anywhere....
i dont know if im explaining this well lol.....

Another idea i have is a big portrait of myself not sure of the expression yet.. but i either have cracks through my face etc or im falling apart in pieces and im either trying to hold myself together with my hands or holding some of the fallen away pieces so that i dont get completely lost and dissolve all together...
ok this are the thoughts that are floating through my head at the moment....
let me know what you think and i hope i have explained it well enough.. its hard to explain whats going on in your own mind...


05-11-2007, 11:18 PM
Sue, you hit it on the head.

05-12-2007, 12:15 AM
well Armin . Here is the picture of my mum you said too do , what do you think of it ? any thoughts would be apriciated guys . also This is odd but I woke up this am with a dream on my head . I was dreaming of a tree and a big road going around the tree . not sure what the road means but as for the tree it had big deep roots and it was reaching too the sky with its branches dripping with friut on it.I have often sean myself as a tree and the deep roots as the trils and tribulations ive had too endure in this life. also the fruit on the tree as the fruit you bear when you become stronger out of the tribulations you go through , my life being a trip too be with the lord and making it at the other end . the sky being the lord. this may sound crazy i dont know ive got now one too run this by at home being cronicly ill all the time , so please give me feedback guys thanks jasmine:) http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-May-2007/97398-my_drawing_of_my_mum.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-May-2007/97398-my_mum.jpg

05-12-2007, 02:33 AM
I started with one idea. Of my husbands change thru the years from a happy go lucky young man full of the joy of becoming a truck driver like his father, brother, and grandfather before him. Then to a man who is still satisfied with the career he chose for himself but being slowly saddened by the different companies he has worked for that didn't seem to appreciate his efforts and passed him by for promotion or a new truck, etc. Then to the man he is today. Tired, older and feeling really old, bad health, regretting the career and the damage it has done to his body. And the grouchy old man attitude he wears. He often apologizes for being so gruff with me. But says it is because he never feels good any more. And now he hates driving truck.

But now I am thinking about sybolism for myself. On the surface I appear very open and seem to tell all about myself, but underneath is a person who has dealt with more problems than she ever thought she could handle and one disappointment that nearly sent me over the edge.

05-12-2007, 03:23 AM
I am a very symbolic-type person and tend to think about what things mean "symbolically" - rather than to "feel" them emotionally (a form of denial about what is going on in my life). But when this project started and I began to ponder which of the three choices I would want to do, my mind instantly thought of my husband who will turn 80 this year and has been in poor health this past year. At the beginning of this year I took a drawing class at the community college and I was sketching a lot in my spare time. Here is a photo of the sketch I did of DH. I couldn't believe it after I took the pictures and viewed them in the camera - there were two images in his head! No, I think I see three. Can any of you see them? I think I know who these people/animals represent: me in the center of his head and the broken Christ at the back of his head and his beloved Armstrong in his chin. DH has OCD and is bipolar. A doc explained once that with OCD the energy seen in a PET scan is, first in the forehead area (where we think, think), then we Act on our thoughts and the energy pattern goes to the back of the head - but with OCD the energy goes round and round the forebrain and without medication it is hard for the person to act upon anything because the energy doesn't go to the back of the brain - hence, the broken Christ. Well, I seem to be getting into this even without trying:rolleyes: :eek: !


05-12-2007, 04:46 AM
This feels weird ... especially for someone who never thought about planning a drawing. I always tried to just get something with a little bit of likeness on the paper ... an animal or something else. I NEVER thought about "what" or "why" ... just draw.
This one is different, emotions are comming and go, emotions are changing, ideas are changing.
In some way I couldn't start to draw my original idea of torn paper and the two portraits ... something didn't "feel" right. Something was missing.
This night (after some sort of weird emotional outburst .... nuts !!!) ... it "hit me" ... I dont want to draw the portrait from the sketch ... it HAS to bee something with a dreamcather in it.
Thinking about a drawing, acting emotional, changing my mind completely ... what is happening to me ?????
Anyway ... the dreamcather seems a good idea, I want feathers (fragil but strong) ... dreams that can't be shattered by anyone but me, it has to be about catching dreams ... maybe some torn paper in the background ??? Maybe the double portrait in the edges, but the dreamcather has to be the centre ....

05-12-2007, 06:49 AM
On a very general note, it seems that the drawing part will be the easiest in this whole process. This is a comment to all of you who are so kind to help me with your thoughts on the composition. I am re-thinking the drawing at the moment. I feel that I fenced myself in too much having the drawing thought out with the paper in portrait, I think I will move to landscape giving me more room.

The face and the paper/canvas will stay. If it was to remain in the same positioning is something I am discussing with myself. I most likely will want to move the paper/canvas over to one side so one can imagine/see what is on there. The 'frustration look' I have in the portrait will stay but will gain a second importance. Not only will it show the apprehension from the judgement but at the same time show the frustration I always have when drawing and fearing it would not come out as I personally expected/hoped/wanted/desired/felt that it needed to meet outside expectations ...... or simply put, less than 150% .....

As for the additional components, I think I will want to continue to play with the feather and the broken column. Maybe even the curtain.

As an additional component, I am thinking of a judge's bench with chairs (plural) indicating that I feel to be appraised by many, unknown to me, so either the chairs will remain empty or have shadowy figures in them (or maybe just eyes - but this only if the eyes will not draw the viewer too much to this part of the draiwng and holding the viewers' eyes there). The drawing on the canvas will however be very much looking at me, as I always feel when drawing.

This all, I wanted to point out, need not be in the drawing because even in this listing them up it sounds like overload; but that is what planning is all about. Isn't it?

I have to sign off until Monday since I am on the way out for the weekend.

Michele, am I ever involved and sumbersed in this. Thanks for the observation. Please read my comments above. Your comment has made me think and that's what I came up with.

Jeanett, thanks as well, I think that the wall 'disappeared'. The 'house' was not to be one but the symbolisation of an avatar I feel observed by. Your sketch promises an interesting drawing to say the least.

Midge, thanks. Wall is OUT curtain is IN - I think at the moment. Still all in flow.

Jackie339, thanks for the observation. As I wrote above, it is supposed to be a drawing surface adn it will be moved to a side. The reason I drew it in the first place was to give the face in the middle something to 'hold on to' and then it developped into the paper/canvas with the easel. I am very much looking forward to your project.

Judi, loverly sketch. Why change the age of the face at all?????? We are as old as we are in our minds and we as artists are all young and curious. I love the fresh, positive, curious ..... attitude you show us there. We are to draw a personal portrait and not a photo.

gordon, I do like the change very much. Suggestion to think about. Why don't you have a small tear as well? You feel pain, don't you. Right now your expression is thoughtful.

Btw, I met Elvis twice personally. Once for a rather long talk. He was stationed in Friedberg where I lived and we sat together at a Baseball game and got to talk. He invited me to the house where he lived in Bad Nauheim, I have proof of that since he gave me his autograph where he wrote the address on, but my parents at that time didn't allow it. It was an interesting chat of which I still have the impression of a very normal and kind person. Not snobbish at all, good manners, good and clear English and very short fingernails. Funny what stuck in my mind.

Sue, thanks for seeing the wall as a kind of steps. I thought of it as well up to some point but then I dropped that idea since it could have insinuated that I thought of myself of being able to achive that level. Armin observes and maybe to some degree even challenges me with his work but I feel the need to have that level distance.

Naomi, kind of a spooky thought. I am looking forward to see how you will visualise it.

05-12-2007, 07:25 AM
Judy ... what a lovely sketch, like the composition and the look on her face.
Jeanette ... good idea to use your astro-sign. Love the symbolism of the pictures around it.
Reinhard ... The wall seems a little to much, the column is already broken (broken stone), I think your decision to loose the wall is a good one. Maybe a wooden barrier ? A fence ?
Midge ... I like your last sketch and your idea to intergrate the past and now this way.
Jasmine ... why not try to draw your dream ?
Lessandra ... you did this without planning it ? Use it ! I think it's great.

05-12-2007, 12:13 PM
Well, like many of you my sketch continues to evolve as I rethink all elements of the sketch. I am now deciding whether to put half my body in water, covering some of the nakedness but also it would look as though it were trying to pull me under and consume me, I could also have some other elements floating in the water representing them as a casuality. I also added a road, representing the journey I am on, once planned and fun, now dark and scary with many turns. I think my face needs to grimise more and the chains will need to look stretched more, just roughing in ideas. The water also would be part of the world, with land masses drawn in to represent countries and the millions of people on the planet yet the feeling of isolation.

Naomi your second thought sounds familar to this one I am doing. If you decide to do it I would be interested in how you design it compositionally.

Reinhard I have always loved your drawings and we are our own worst critics, maybe it should be you ontop of the curtain or wall or column not Armin. Maybe Armin should be represented in the jury box or by a gavel, his logo stamped onto it. Just thoughts I had when looking at and thinking about what you were trying to say, which I don't know entirely so take my thoughts as friendly observations.

Sue- I also will draw myself as I see myself, a bit younger and thinner!

Terri- I like your idea too, I feel that too, I could have used that to describe my thoughts also.

Everyone is really coming up with some interesting stuff here!

Comments and/or critics appreciated.

05-12-2007, 01:54 PM
yes angel I think I will do my dream . at least thats heaps easyer than drawing a person . lol jasmine

05-12-2007, 01:55 PM

05-12-2007, 02:06 PM
Thanks Desiree I like your sketch so far great job and Thanks for the comment on my comment

05-12-2007, 02:19 PM
This idea is nothing like the rough that I drew about a month ago and mentioned in a previous post. As I have been thinking over this portrait this week the following thoughts and image grew:

The Narrative:

I’m 45 in the process of a divorce from a marriage that drained me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, that part of my life will be represented as follows: my ex husband as a poisonous spider in the bottom VL corner (barely visible) because he tainted our marriage with venom and deceit almost from the beginning and I got tangled up in his web (this is where I will be)losing more and more of myself over time, feeling as if I couldn’t move, couldn’t live, I blocked everyone out as if I was wrapped in the spider silk. (before I came to my senses and chose to start living again I had a breakdown and almost ended my life). It was as if I saw no other way out.

Also in the web where the circle is will be Roman Numerals as in a clock face, showing I’m concerned about starting over at 45 and I am sad for the years lost being stuck and motionless. My religion didn’t/doesn’t agree with my divorce-separation yes, divorce no. Considering what I have been through, I strongly disagree, therefore I am on the outside. As part of the landscape/background there will be a fence of men with their backs to me representing that unfair ‘judgement by men’, also, my home, it has been in the family for over 60 years and now I may need to leave it.

The spiders’ web is attached to some bleeding hearts that my 1st husband planted here years ago before he passed away from cancer, I still mourn for him and the good relationship that we had. I am breaking free from the web, reaching toward a new unknown path that a dragonfly hovers over. (on a site called likeacat.com long ago I found what some consider the dragonfly to symbolize and I liked it-“..going past self-created illusions that limit our growing and changing. Dragonflies are a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity.”) On the path to the future I must put some African violets, they’ve always done well here in the window, but they did not bloom for the last 18 months of my marriage, BUT, less than ONE month after my ex moved out they are blooming profusely! HMMMM!

ARMIN, I wasn’t going to post my little rough thumbnail sketch, It is almost too embarrassing, but in a real life classroom you and others would see it! It is actually only about 6 x 8 inches, and VERY extremely rough and messy…
this is how all my ideas start out and then I refine and refine them. Could that be why I have such a difficult time getting them from this to finish?
The reason I posted this little rough is because this is a class, everyone seems to be putting it all out there, and I want to learn. Is this disorganized mess, ok, as part of the creative process?! Of course I will post my refined sketch as it progresses. Which I’m heading to the board right after this post! THANK YOU!!!
I am planning on working large probably the size of a full board minus some inches around the border.

How do the rest of you work so neatly right from the start?! And I am awe struck by your stories and images.


Gordon's art
05-12-2007, 02:27 PM
Reinhard thats a very good suggestion I will keep it in mind at the moment I am trying to think what to do in the middle of the drawing. You were very lucky to get to talk to EP, There are millions of people would of given everything they owned to have been in your shoes

05-12-2007, 03:44 PM
Haven't chosen my type of portrait yet, --a really awful week and a sinus infection and bronchitis to top it off (I am rarely sick and not a good patient). I want to be all over this NOW! Didn't do much drawing with watery eyes and runny nose and little time--but what I did do startled me--I was just loosely sketching things and up popped a portrait/torso drawing of me, nude reaching out my hand to another hand. It hit me that I have really had to take on the caregiver role for so much of my adult life (and I am a nurse practitioner as well). I had a really carefree childhood with lots of doting adults--first grandchild and niece--but life showed its true colors once I was an adult--fortunately, I have seen others much worse off and manage to keep a positive attitude most of the time. I just don't know if I can produce my image, naked, for the world to see--will think on it a while!

05-12-2007, 05:33 PM
Haven't chosen my type of portrait yet, --a really awful week and a sinus infection and bronchitis to top it off (I am rarely sick and not a good patient). I want to be all over this NOW! Didn't do much drawing with watery eyes and runny nose and little time--but what I did do startled me--I was just loosely sketching things and up popped a portrait/torso drawing of me, nude reaching out my hand to another hand. It hit me that I have really had to take on the caregiver role for so much of my adult life (and I am a nurse practitioner as well). I had a really carefree childhood with lots of doting adults--first grandchild and niece--but life showed its true colors once I was an adult--fortunately, I have seen others much worse off and manage to keep a positive attitude most of the time. I just don't know if I can produce my image, naked, for the world to see--will think on it a while!

Everyone is naked under their clothing. I would ask, what is more important the 'packaging' or the person inside? My personal feeling is the latter.

Everyone, in general, has two arms, two legs, one skull, and plumbing of one type or another.

The image produced can be anything you like. It can be; shorter, thinner, taller, fatter, 'roman' nose, long nose, various ages, hair styles, hair colour, skin colour, etc.

05-12-2007, 05:48 PM
You are absolutely right Stoney, it isn't the naked body that concerns me--I think it is the naked I, or soul or spirit that is so hard to reveal! I have long ago gotten over any embarrassment about the body, being a nurse!

05-12-2007, 07:48 PM
I've thought and rethought my portrait and think it is too busy. There is too much in it and I need to simplify it down to just a single image with elements within that image. I sketched it out a bit more late today and it doesn't feel right. Too disjointed. So I'll rethink just how I want to portray myself.

frieda L
05-12-2007, 09:39 PM
wow, I cannot believe the art that is going to appear out of this class! This is really cool! :clap:

May I think out loud? I am thinking self portrait, never done one, for a first portrait, I 'd rather massacre myself than lose a friend or hurt someone I love with an ugly portrait.:lol: It seems like a good step to take, though, on the road of being (becoming) an artist.

An obvious observation is that I have an international, multi cultural background. Born from belgian parents, I still have a belgian passport, but i spent my childhood in Africa, the best part of in in Burundi, which was paradise on earth. From our home in the hills, we had a view over the plains and the Tanganiika lake, and I used to imagine myself flying towards the lake and the sun...
Then it was back to Belgium, to go to university, and after a few years of translating and working as a language teacher, I moved to Canada, to join my sweetheart, also belgian, born and raised in africa. We lived in Canada for 20 years, good years, working hard, having 3 children, nothing artistic, other than designing and sewing most of my clothes, working as a pastry chef in my dh's restaurant for a year (got great reviews), and owning a jewellery store for 10 years. Lots of artistic expression in a way, but no canvas or paper involved.
then, the opportunity came along to move to Mexico, and here, it feels like I found my childhood again. I now realize how much I missed Africa. Avocados (a symbol for my longing for Africa, every time I ate one, it was the taste of Africa, painfully strong), bougainvilleas, passionfruit, the sun, and after 30 art-less years.... ART. I got lucky to be able to work in an art gallery and... discovered wet canvas.

if this is going to be about art, maybe it is time to get over a few childhood traumas... when I was 10-ish, maybe 12, I had written, illustrated and bound a book of poetry. A friends mum said it was not nice, to copy other peoples work and claim it as my own... Also, same age, there was a painting competition. According to the jury, I would have won first prize, but they thought my dad had helped me (he was known to paint), so I got second place instead. The unfairness of it all and the reprimands for creating decent art not only made me give up, but to this day, I feel guilty for trying, and for saying that yes, I did this.

sooooo, maybe I can somehow relate the living in mexico, which reminds me much of africa, finding my childhood environment and dreams, picking up where I left off, and really flying, maybe not towards the sun, but artistically free...

whatever I end up doing, I want lion-hair. :lol: I am a true leo, child of the sun...also flemish, a flemish lion... (flemish flag has a lion), african lion...

Is this all shallow blablabla? not very dramatic, but the theme of the artists whose wings got clipped, stunted growth, suddenly free? If this is too cheesy, please tell me, I can dig deeper... I am sure I can come up with some darker stuff.:evil:

sorry for rambling.

05-12-2007, 10:19 PM
Jeanette, I liked your initial idea perhaps tomorrow it will please you again.
Gordon, I can't wait to see your portrait continue!
Frieda You aren't rambling, you are in the creative process, what a life of experiences to draw from, and lion hair sounds cool!

The woman with the chains, (sorry, can't remember your name) that sketch is great with the fissures, very good.

For Armin, Ok, From the 'thumbnail' in post #131 to this 16 x 22 inch sketch.

I have been working on the placement in the composition. Now I need to refine each component individually to bring it to a point of realism.

I'm trying to keep in mind as I look at this that the spider web will be in the forefront and will be light lines looking less busy, perhaps I will indent the surface before beginning, or use one of my trusty erasers.

The flowers still need placed and the house isn't finished yet. About the house I am thinking of making that look like a photo that then blends into the background.

And, UM, I know you want us to use our own photo references and I do take many many photos, BUT, I really don't want to go looking for nasty spiders to take pictures of, hope you don't mind! :) I will use several references to get it how I want it to look though, deal?!

Any comments, suggestions from anyone would be appreciated. Thanks!

05-12-2007, 11:34 PM
Looks like you are all deep into this project, I can hardly keep up. If I miss someone its only because I think you’re on track but I have read every word. One thing be careful not to overdo the symbolism, just a few things usually are quite enough, you will never conical your whole life in one drawing but snippets of it.

Jeanette, even your description has got a mystical feel to it. Animals are always great and each has its own symbolic meaning. One alternative is silhouettes of certainty animals, what do certain animal’s mean to you? One painting that comes to mind tiled “echo” was of a bird skeleton surrounded by silhouettes of fifty different birds, very powerful work.

EP sound good so far, why show the pursuer at all? Just the feel of something, something looming outside of the picture plane. ?

Terry, I had a show in Chicago called “Everything to Everyone” the work addressed some of this, although I’m not like you describe (actually I’m known as quite a curmudgeon) but I know people like that and it’s a great subjected for this drawing.

Michele, Nudity? I’m all for it, we need more of it!... Looks like you been through the ringer emotionally Don’t try to put it all in one drawing, but I like where you are heading I love this spider idea and the thumbnail! The clock, time and roman numerals work great.

Judi sound like things are great in your life but only after you went down some low roads, devoice is a huge shake up, the transitions would make a marvelous drawing. I like your composition; it really gives a lot of energy to the negative space, especially that sweep.

Reinhard I like this so much better (even after removing the good looking guy) Your might have some trouble with the perspective. If it’s off just a little it will look wrong if it’s off a lot it looks planned and surreal. Backgrounds can be so powerful in portraiture of all kinds, sure a white or dark backgrounds often is enough. Personally I am getting very interested in them especially after years of almost black backgrounds. Bricks are so much a part of me as a German, I mean, I didn’t live through the war but my parents did an I played with unexploded bombs in rubbles of a totally bombed out town for eight years. Curtains are moveable, used in plays, they are much friendlier and easier to move, and symbolize something very different. I can’t say which I right for you my friend both have strong symbolic meaning. I’ll add a painting which I did 20 years ago with the brick symbolism. Be careful about too much, a little symbolism goes a long way, this after reading a later post from you.

Thanks Stoney, What if is indeed the most importation question in the creative process.

Past, present, and future, that a great concept Midge. Is this what I have in mind? I don’t have any preconceptions for anyone here at all; I’m just excited at what’s coming out of this. If it gets you to think more personally, forces more creative avenues in your work, and heightens conceptual awareness that’s all I am after.

Jeanette, I really like this a lot, I love formal design with the fish in the middle almost a yin and yang effect, and also I like the segmentation.

Gordon, great changes I like the placement a lot. One question all three faces are looking in the same direction thereby forcing all the energy off the left of the picture plane in a hurry. What if EP is facing toward you? Just a what if…

Naomi I like your tree idea, they are a world amongst themselves. Arthur Rackham used trees with “eyes” in his illustrations that give an uneasy look to them and the whole image. You can go many ways with trees from very positive to downright frightening.

Jasmine I like your response to the dream, listen to it. Your drawing as it is so far, and I don’t know how preliminary this sketch is, the main problem is the eyes should be close to in the center of the face they are up quite high in this drawing. Once the eye placement is correct everything can be measured from them. Pay attention to the negative space, I think Mike Sibley had a great class on this subject. The eyes themselves are good so are the subtleties in shading, keep on..

“J” this sound like a subject matter for a not so overtly symbolic portrait, by your description I want to see this man, not in some fake happy smile on him but the honesty of this sad and regretful man, lighting is the key here. Maybe some hope in the background.

Lessandra, mmmmmm I know about OCD I was diagnosed with it 20 years ago although I recognize that I have had it all my life. My wife wishes I had the kind that was obsessively neat, no such luck. LOL It is a very difficult illness and I have not dealt with it in my own work. But what a great thing to address. I like your sketch very much and see some of what you see, and I would go with some of that. Also Symbolism and Emotions don’t necessary alienate each other but it’s really a synergy of left and right brain thinking

Angela I really like the dream atcher idea!

Desiree, I wouldn’t shy away from the nakedness to much, it an extremely vulnerable state of being. I would be very subtle with the broken cracked idea, it could look forced, it could stronger if it was barely visible like the very start of the cracking. Just a what if…. great composition!

Joane impotent is you started, as I stated above nakedness is an extremely vulnerable state of being but carries so much power, even in the naked body there many different ways of portraying it.

Frieda sounds like the sun has to be a major part of this, also the cultural experiences you have had

Wow that’s it im going to bed

Happy Mother’s Day to all


First image for Reinhard, “European Legacy” Oil on Canvas 1985
Second image for Jasmine

05-13-2007, 12:32 AM
Thanks Armin.for the comment and Like you I want to wish all the Mom 's a HAPPY MOTHERS DAY.

05-13-2007, 12:56 AM
Armin There is a lot to keep up with isn't there?! - Thanks again for your efforts here.

I really appreciate and understand your input on my sketch! I'll work on cutting back on some symbols and saving some for other works! My wheels are turning. Thanks Again.

05-13-2007, 01:00 AM
Desiree, I like the 'chains that bind idea', it has such a duality - held by love and also bound by duty the idea is wonderful and also quite raw.

Emme, well you've certainly put it all out there - but I'm sure you'll find a chorus of voices telling you it doesn't matter what age you start over and soar! I love your sketch ( and nobody cares how rough a thumnail is).

Joane, I commiserate - I've been battling that bug.I understand your image and reaching for someone - I think all of us at some time feel that without support we'll lose some more piece of our own jigsaw.

Frieda, its about you, not how others perceive it. The things we hear as a child, no matter how innocuous an adult thinks they are, hurt as deeply as if they were real wounds, except these are often wounds to our soul.

Well after all my palaver people will probably be expecting something very deep and meaningful from me............ nope.
I am not opening some wounds - instead I am going to show what I have begun to conquer and the principle that I am trying to keep foremost in my life.......

On each side are the stone walls that others have presented me with, and I have erected myself over the years for protection. The sky over these walls is dark & foreboding. In the centre is a broken egg shell amongst the rubble of the broken walls ( both of these symbolise the pulling down of emotional walls I had built over many years for protection and breaking through the walls that others built to contain me.) In the centre in colour is a sunflower stretching up to a clear sky. I have learnt & try to remember ( not always successfully hence the roots are still in the eggshell) that the only way to truly be free is to borrow from Crowded House's lyrics and 'always take the weather with you'. It is only me that can control the way I feel - I don't need to take my cue from anyone else or depend on someone else for their mood or approval - its all up to me.


Well the sky needs to be blue not a sunny yellow, but that is my roughie - make of it what you will. Have been thinking of calling it "Nature finds a Way".In that no matter what age we realise it, our own nature, if it has been downtrodden by our own societal beliefs ( or someone else's heavy-handedness) will eventually emerge & we will have to be true to ourselves. ( blah blah blah) tell me if I rabbit on too much.


05-13-2007, 05:52 AM
Sue... be expecting something very deep and meaningful from me............ nope.
NOT ??? Seems deep and meaningful to me to show what you are trying to keep foremost in my life !!! I think it's a great idea.
(personaly I can relate to the huge wals of protection and trying to grow out of them them. Love the piece of the song "the higher you build your barrier, the taller I become")

05-13-2007, 09:30 AM
Very much phoenix arising Sue. The concept is great, I like the 'breaking through' thought.

I've tinkered with my layout and thoughts and believe that I have come up with the final (I hope) outline for my drawing.

I have the same theme as before, just pared it down a little, as simplicity often says more than busyness. It also makes less drawing for me :)

Armin, thanks for your thoughts on this. I'm still trying to decide what to put in the bottom left corner. I believe it will be an animal, but I haven't decided what one. That should come to be as the drawing progresses, though likely it will be a cat representing independence. I'll toy with it. Now to see if I can put these images into a much larger scale.


05-13-2007, 11:26 AM
Sue, Thanks for your words! And between Armins suggestion to simplyfy and your encouragement to soar I now have a clearer idea of what my portrait will be-THANKS! (btw,yeah, I put a lot out there, but actually I kept more to myself! :) ) I like and can identify with your idea, the walls yet you can bloom beyond them.

Jeanette Superb fish! They already show so much strength.

05-13-2007, 11:42 AM
Here's my idea for a self-portrait, though I'm not really sure how I would actually do it! There is a vast, empty desert, the ground cracked and dry. Above it is a huge lake, surrounded by fertile country full of people that are living fun, fulfilled lives. There is a sort of dam preventing the water from the lake feeding the desert. The dam has a hole in it, but this is stopped up by the hand of the only person living in the desert. That person is me.

05-13-2007, 11:53 AM
:thumbsup: Everybody is sure getting into this. As I read though these posts, and searched my mind(?) for ideas, I have finally decided to do a homage to my father. In doing this I think that I may better define myself. To me my father reminds me of where I came from, where I am now, and where I want to be. He was a simple hardworking man in a ever more complicated world. Even as exciting as life can be he, was always true to his roots, and proud of his accomplishments. I find myself, even at age 64, depending more and more on his ideals. I guess I yearn for a simpler more Innocent world like the one I grew up in. So, in doing a portrait of my father, in some ways I be defining myself. Now all I have to do is figure out how.


05-13-2007, 12:07 PM
every one is doing great here. Good Ideas.... I havent even started my rough sketch still tring to get my mind around how I want to convay everything.

05-13-2007, 12:09 PM
I'm here so I just have to say:

Dave OMG, your idea really grabs at my heart! I can 'see' it in my minds eye. Will be waiting to see what you come up with.

Jim Lovely homeage, its funny, my Dad's name is Jim and you two are the same age, he feels so much the same as you longing for those simpler, innocent days, looking forward to your homage of your father.

Terry Hi, I think we x-posted so I'm editing to say, I love your idea of the masks, emotion for the occassion, can't wait to see how your portray it!

05-13-2007, 12:50 PM
You are absolutely right Stoney, it isn't the naked body that concerns me--I think it is the naked I, or soul or spirit that is so hard to reveal! I have long ago gotten over any embarrassment about the body, being a nurse!

Ah. Now, I understand. So many people have this thing about the make up of 'meat machines'-their body, as if it were something vile and must be hidden. It seemed to me to be the basis for your concern. I do understand mental defenses-especially in a very hostile world.

05-13-2007, 01:06 PM
Thanks Stoney, What if is indeed the most importation question in the creative process.


First image for Reinhard, “European Legacy” Oil on Canvas 1985
Second image for Jasmine

Welcome. I've got some ideas, but nothing has risen above the rest.

05-13-2007, 01:10 PM
I don't need to take my cue from anyone else or depend on someone else for their mood or approval - its all up to me.



Well the sky needs to be blue not a sunny yellow, but that is my roughie - make of it what you will. Have been thinking of calling it "Nature finds a Way".In that no matter what age we realise it, our own nature, if it has been downtrodden by our own societal beliefs ( or someone else's heavy-handedness) will eventually emerge & we will have to be true to ourselves. ( blah blah blah) tell me if I rabbit on too much.


Only if one has the courage to.

05-13-2007, 02:27 PM
Sue, I just love your idea, and your sketch. I thought of an egg also, but then decided against it. But your idea of blooming is wonderful. In your case it was bricks. In mine it was fertilizer.

05-13-2007, 04:12 PM
This is very difficult for me. I have tried to start laying in the pencil and I am not doing so well.

I am putting the drawing hand in color to accent the picture. I hope that is all right with you Armin. The rest is going to be difficult because it is from my imagination. The picture I am working from on the child portion is so small that it is hard to get detail. I blew it up, but it is very out of focus. I just hope I can do this project justice.

Gordon's art
05-13-2007, 04:47 PM
Armin you have done something none of my teachers at school could do and that is you made me THINK will I ever be able to just do a simple portrait again?, I had not noticed the faces before but I can change it no problem there (but! what if they symbolise me looking into the past not the future? or am I looking for too many symbols now? see what happens when you make me think its why I never did it at school)

05-13-2007, 05:02 PM
mauricar I think you are doing a very good job on your young self.

Here is my preliminary of my husband. The eyes look funny. In the original picture I took a while ago, he is looking at the camera. I wanted him to be looking down like he is dejected. I am hoping to get him to pose for a picture so that I can get the eyes right.

When I told him about the picture I will be doing, well you can imagine the look I got. I'm glad I found a picture I already had. He said he wouldn't know how to pose looking dejected. Hopefully he can manage a pose looking down.

Since he was in his 20s he has said he wouldn't live to be 40. Well he is now 57 and at times he is optimistic and other times he is pessimistic. And he wishes he had taken better care of himself.


05-13-2007, 05:29 PM
Jeanne, you might want to make the eyelids bigger to show that he is looking down. Just a small nitpick.


05-13-2007, 06:05 PM
Thanks Midge. I plan to redo the drawing on better paper. This is just on sketchpad. I will also look at the eyes once I get a picture of them sideways. He is asleep right now. Has to work all night.

05-13-2007, 07:55 PM
Sue, I just love your idea, and your sketch. I thought of an egg also, but then decided against it. But your idea of blooming is wonderful. In your case it was bricks. In mine it was fertilizer.

That stinks.

[impish grin]

05-13-2007, 07:56 PM
This is very difficult for me. I have tried to start laying in the pencil and I am not doing so well.

I am putting the drawing hand in color to accent the picture. I hope that is all right with you Armin. The rest is going to be difficult because it is from my imagination. The picture I am working from on the child portion is so small that it is hard to get detail. I blew it up, but it is very out of focus. I just hope I can do this project justice.

It accents things very well.


05-13-2007, 08:51 PM
Hi Jeanne - Grab your camera and when Hubby is sitting their reading or watching TV and just start snapping :D

Midge, your picture looks great with the hand being in color. It reminds me of how they portray the past in movies/TV in black and white and the present in color.

I have yet to do a fresh sketch or layout of what I'm looking for -because I am not exactly sure what that is:p
But soon!

05-13-2007, 08:56 PM
MICHELE aka emme 05 thanks so much for commenting and I to am looking forward to seeing how I convey this lol

05-14-2007, 02:47 PM
This is getting harder and harder. The overall size is what is getting to me. I normally work on a flat surface, and this has to be raised. I can only get into my wheel chair a few hours a day and I am spending them working on this. Perhaps I should have stuck with my grandmother. Hmm. It is still not too late. DUH! That will be oversized as well. Anyway, here is what I have so far. Please, tell me if it is getting close.

05-14-2007, 03:09 PM
Midge, getting close? That's great and fascinating already.

05-14-2007, 03:52 PM
Midge looks really good so far

05-14-2007, 04:24 PM
Thank you. I needed the encouragement to keep going.

05-14-2007, 04:34 PM
Midge, just a quick note, don’t get discouraged and take your time its not a race. What you have done so far is great, I like the color in the hand and the girls face is coming along real nice as well.


05-14-2007, 05:02 PM
encouragement ???Okay Midge ... :clap: :heart: :clap: :heart: :clap: :heart: :clap: :heart: :clap:
You are doing a great job so far !!! The face of the child has a beatyfull softness and i love the colours on the hand.

05-14-2007, 05:20 PM
This is getting harder and harder. The overall size is what is getting to me. I normally work on a flat surface, and this has to be raised. I can only get into my wheel chair a few hours a day and I am spending them working on this. Perhaps I should have stuck with my grandmother. Hmm. It is still not too late. DUH! That will be oversized as well. Anyway, here is what I have so far. Please, tell me if it is getting close.

It's looking very good, to me. :thumbsup:

05-14-2007, 05:20 PM
You all are great, and I thank you so much. I will keep going on this one.

05-14-2007, 05:22 PM
Thank you Stoney. We cross posted. I appreciate the comments.

05-14-2007, 05:23 PM
You all are great, and I thank you so much. I will keep going on this one.

I'm still drawing a blank with this. [glum]

Gordon's art
05-14-2007, 06:02 PM
Are we supposed to start our drawings yet as some people are putting a lot of work into their prelims?

05-14-2007, 06:19 PM
Armin, thanks for the analysis, c&c and the drawing of yours. After having not drawn for the weekend, many thoughts went through my head, including 'symbolism overkill'. I think I will reduce the symbols to 4. First, that good looking guy is to reappear, rather larger and prominently on the canvas which will be moved to OUR right. Simple truth is, each time I draw I ask myself in the back of my mind, if this work will find your approval. So each drawing, independently of what it is, carries for me this judgement question. (Don't look so surprised, it is a very well know fact that we always look for the praise/critique of our teachers). Second and third, the column and the feather representing the judging from all 'others' which I very much need and 'fear' as well; and lastly a curtain. Why the curtain and not the wall? The curtain is something I can easily move if I wish to do so. Plus I will try to have the curtain slightly open and have some rays shining through indicating all the good things behind it if I were only brave enough to make that move.

This brick / curtain theme could and maybe should be a drawing all by itself.

05-14-2007, 06:25 PM
gordon, why not start? Why wait for us laggards? Midge already did so. The moment I will feel secure in my layout, there is nothing to hold me back to at least start. Can't wait for that first time I'll ask myself why in the good shepherd's name I selected that topic and that layout. :lol:

05-14-2007, 06:46 PM
Anigeal, thanks for the help, I think that it will be a curtain though a fence one could play around with so nicely as well, like having peek holes, being either strong or weak, things could be written on it like 'Reinhard is chicken', a crude drawing of a scale could indicate that 'judging' theme. Don't get me thinking, palease .......

Desiree, I do love your sketch and the somehow indicated vulnerability. As for us being our worst critics. That might be represented as many Reinhards looking ver angrily and disapprovingly at Reinhard. Some more alleys one could delve into.

frieda, I think you have your drawing with all its symbols already laid out, all you have to do now is pick, chose what to include ....... and take off....

J, I think for a dejection impression bringing in hunched shoulders would be helpful.

05-14-2007, 07:39 PM
Thanks Reinhard. I will see what I can do. He is off to work again for the night and I still didn't get a picture. I may have to look the internet over for someone else's stooped shoulders and downcast eyes.

I found the perfect photo to have my husband imitate for my pose. If you want to see, here is the link: http://www.hulubei.net/tudor/photography/photos/O/l/Old-Man-1-1000x1500.jpg If you click it, you will see it lots bigger.

05-14-2007, 07:55 PM
Midge, you're doing just fine on this. The initial shading looks good and I like the colour in the hand as a contrast. Its coming together as it should. A drawing this size will take time to complete, but there isn't a time limit on completing it. Don't force yourself or stress yourself over it.

Some of the best things in life cause a little discomfort. :)

Gordon, I'd say if you're ready to go, then go. Get stuck in!

Reinhard, I ending up simplifying my drawing a little as well. It seems to flow better with less objects competing for attention. I know your final decisions in chosing the appropropriate objects to draw will work wonderfully well.

Jeanne, I think you need to take some 'ambush' shots of your husband when he's not looking or some quick sketches to get the facial expression and posture right. Yes, you can also find similar postures in other references, but you'll need to have his face attached to make it work as you want it to.

Now I'm off to grid my drawing onto some illustration board. Wish me luck!

05-14-2007, 09:26 PM
Bowing out before I'm even "in" much to speak of...life is just too busy this time of year. We are a commercial berry farm, and it's our busiest season! I'll check in now and then...
Thanks again Armin, for myself and everyone who will benefit from your class.

05-14-2007, 10:24 PM

ok just a quick drawing to get use to drawing myself which i havent done very much in the past, This is just a drawing not what my drawing for the group will look like havent gotten the layout for that fiqured out just yet.

05-14-2007, 10:49 PM
Oh Terry, this is just wonderful. I like that concept. A mask - who would have known?

I can hardly wait to see what you come up with for the final project.

05-14-2007, 11:18 PM
Terry I thought your fantasy faces were terrific, but you really got your face perfect. Great job.

05-14-2007, 11:26 PM
Mauricar and "J" thanks so much ,I hate drawing me but thought I better get some practise, when you draw yourself you have to look at all the things you dislike about your self lol. but thanks again,;)

05-14-2007, 11:51 PM
(Stumbling into the room, out of breath....)
I hope I'm not too late to join this!!!!!! I just found the thread a little while ago. WHAT an opportunity.......so, do you accept tardy students??

If so, I'm thinking....will post prelim idea / value sketch ASAP. I feel so lucky to (maybe) get the opportunity to have one of the best critique my work, and man, that's how I learn.

Mine will be a narrative, actually, a portrait I'm considering painting, but I've become intrigued by graphite work and think a drawing would hold great merit in its own right. Thinking, thinking, thinking......

So, can I play, too? :)

05-15-2007, 12:25 AM
The vision for my drawing is to convey to my sisters and to the viewer my understanding of "relationship". On one level this drawing is about the relationship I share with my sisters. On another I wish to symbolically portray "relationship" as God has revealed it to be to me.
I was disabled 5 years ago and from that low period God began to impress on me the things in my life that where blessings from him. Things that I had taken for granted for so many years. It was very clear to me that the sweetest gift of all where the relationships he had encased me within. From my very birth into this world God began blessing me. My Mother and Father are two of the most loveing and careing people. Their love never waivered even when I turned from how they raised me. My brothers and sisters where there for me in this dark hour. I can remeber thinking I would not be here for them they way they have been for me. Their love and concern for me is best described as "fierce". The same was true from my friends and coworkers. Their love for me was evident as their anxiety over my condition was striking. My wound had wounded them and I could see it in their faces and actions. It is a humbling thing to be on that side of compassion. I can not adequatley describe the love my wife has for me. It feels almost as if our souls touch. If not for her I do not feel I would be alive today. My children mean so much to me and I am touched by their light and love every day.

OK, so God is pointing this stuff out to me over and over, day after day, year after year, until finally, It got through my thick skull what he was trying to say. It was a revelation to me and it pierced deeply. Quite simply, "all the love in my life was a river." It's source is God. The people in my life are a conduit for this river flowing from God to me. Someone I rejected still loved me so much that he places proxy's in my life so that he can continue to love me through them even when I do not return that love to him. God is love.

His love for me is huge. I can not contain the love of even one of these people and when you combine them all together it is like trying to catch the mississippi river in a thimble.

I am sorry this post is so long but I wanted you to better understand how emotional this drawing will be for me. A chance to show what is hard for me to describe. I have fleshed out most of the drawing in my head and I am glad Armin wants us to draw large. It will take a lot of space to include everything without looking crowded. My sisters will all 3 be in town next weekend for my parents 60th wedding anniversary and have agreed to haveing their photo taken together. Thanks for listening.

05-15-2007, 12:25 AM
I think I'd like to join ya'll...coming in a bit late though.

I like the idea of using graphite agian, which I haven't used in YEARS, instead of opting out on charcoal, which is easier for me. I'd like to do a portrait of my father, who died in 2002. We weren't close...as a lot of people here are close to those they had lost. He was a very hermit-like schitzophrenic, and I loved him, and hated him at the same time. I've drawn him many times...and I still don't think I've captured what I want to say just right, or finished expressing what he left in me.

Symbolism comes easy for me...almost too easy. It goes through my head like a torrent at times, often unconciously. (I still don't know why I use some of my recurring symbols) It's picking an idea, and staying with it to finish that is hard...because things evolve, and I change my mind half way through.

I guess that is why I finish most of my work quickly...so I can move on to the next idea. If I don't finish it quickly, lately I've found, it never does get finished. lol.

05-15-2007, 04:32 AM
swaggertoes. dont feel too bad I also hated my dad but for diffrent reasons . jasmine

05-15-2007, 06:31 AM
Sorry guys, I am using you as my sounding board. I feel that I am getting closer to what my drawing will become. I have added eyes on the left top corner indicating that I feel observed by many. I have expanded the amount of drawing surfaces, indicating that I am referring to all my drawings. 'Armin' is superimposed on all those drawings, indicating his 'presence' in all my projects, column and feather are still there, maybe I have to do something with the size. The curtain is on the right, being open on the lower right side. I have added, for my own purposes 2 arrows to indicate for me in the brain storming (or should I better say 'soul storming') process, how I think the visual flow in this drawing might be.

p.s. drawing hands is difficult, sketching hands is even worse as I found out.

05-15-2007, 07:32 AM
Midge, its looking great - persevere with all your tribulations - this one will be worth the effort! :heart: :heart: :clap: :thumbsup: .

Good pose Jeanne, do you think he'll sit for it?

:heart: Love it Terry! That piece could stand alone for this assignment! And I certainly know the masks very well.

Dave looking forward to seeing the prelim & how you arrange all of that in there - it sounds good.

It almost sounds like you're ready to do a Janus, swaggertoes.

If you're thinking about the size of the column Reinhard, how about having it larger abutting the sides of the canvasses like a bookend?

I can't believe the thinking that's being generated here - corporations pay big bucks for a think tank like this!!

Well I really need to do some work on mine - perhaps this weekend.


05-15-2007, 09:00 AM
Midge and Terry you are doing so well! It is amazing to read all the comments so far and look into the deep recesses of everyone's souls. I have only done the first "doodlings" but will try to get something actually started sometime later this week.
Quite some time ago I posted my "symbolic" self portrait (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=371952) but now I feel the need to do the homage one to mom so will be getting it on paper soon. I just love the emotions that are coming out of this thread.

05-15-2007, 10:04 AM
Terry, I like your drawing a lot one suggestions if you let the top of the mask be cracked just a little so the cracks don’t appear to be just on the “surface” it would giver a stronger illusion.


05-15-2007, 10:10 AM
This will be so cool. While I cannot totally reveal the narrative OR the symbolism in my piece. (out of respect to the subject's privacy), it will be present. I think you will have to take my word on this and just look at the drawing as separate from it. But I'm excited to start.

One thought for Reinhard....your self portrait is becoming an homage to Armin. That's not a bad thing, since he is obviously one of your mentors and inspirations for your work. So, by drawing yourself, you honor him.

I likes it!

...Now onto the value sketch. Will post soon!

05-15-2007, 11:33 AM
snoball a wonderful self portrait and the eyes show so much of your memories and pain

Midge and Terry you are doing so well! It is amazing to read all the comments so far and look into the deep recesses of everyone's souls. I have only done the first "doodlings" but will try to get something actually started sometime later this week.
Quite some time ago I posted my "symbolic" self portrait (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=371952) but now I feel the need to do the homage one to mom so will be getting it on paper soon. I just love the emotions that are coming out of this thread.

05-15-2007, 01:47 PM
Armin you are so right thanks for pointing that out, so happy you liked it. SUE aka bigs thanks you very much ,Reinhard you have put so much thought into your drawing it amazes me and I understand about drawing hands ALWAYS gives me trouble,Snobal thanks for the comment,,,,,,. Dave thank you for shareing with us and cant wait to see what you draw,,,,,,, BAMBI aka Bams Thanks for joining us I knew this would be the class for you, this class screams bambi lol

05-15-2007, 01:51 PM
Armin I know this class is more on concept than tecnic but can you tell me how you draw the eyes in pencil and make them look more round and filled with life than like mine flat looking?

05-15-2007, 02:31 PM
Thanks Sue its not necessary to open old wounds to be more expressive about who you are as an artist. These works can be very positive and optimistic even cathartic. I like what you’re doing your saying quite a bit.

Jeanette fish have such a strong presents love the angle. Your other symbols are strong as well. think about overlapping symbols so they aren’t isolated, which symbol is more powerful that’s the ones that should be on top. Just a what if?

Thanks Michele!

Dave I like the landscape element.

Jim sounds like a great homage..

Midge I like the color very much and the placement of the hand reminds me of Michelangelo’s creation.

Thank you Gordon, if anything I can add to this series of classes is how rewarding the nexus of technique and concept can be.

Thanks Jeanne, I think you’re right on with the concept! I the problem with the eyes are that they are shaped the same as if you looked at the face straight on, at that angle they world be smaller in length (not height) and you might not see the left corner as well, also the angle is off, unless is see the reference its hard to point this out.

Good suggestion Lessandra its always better to take a photo when the subject doest know they’re being photographed.

Hay Stoney where’s your work? great input though!

Reinhard you know I am honored that I have made a different to you as an artist, I also know with your persistence to reach an ever higher technical plateau you would be at this level even if I played the tuba and my work would have never entered your world. Now saying that I have my mentors and I needed of my own sake to do an homage to them, and if felt great to do. I still after all these years ask my mentor, Larry Butcher who is now married to my ex-wife Shanna for his opinion and it’s a natural process. yet if Larry didn’t like something ok, I am well along in my artistic language and no one knows better about my work than me, and that’s the place where you need to be as well. You as I are always going to learn, and there are many avenues for this, I have picked up things from 14 year olds over at DA, I am open to suggestions but am steadfast about 90% of my decisions but that leave 10% open form other people critiques. When I was a young artist it was the opposite. Whewwwwwww got that out of the way.

I am glad your simplifying, in the beginning you get all kinds of symbols and then you start taking them back. I like where you at so far.

Jeanette, great input!

Thanks Ronnie this thread will probably be active for quit some time, so check back.

Of course Lynn and welcome

Dave sounds like a great idea, the river symbolism is extremely strong. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

Bambi charcoal or graphite what ever works for you, and welcome aboard

Snoball an homage to your mom would be great! Love the self portrait!

Terry It’s the moistness in eyes that give them life (there are exceptions) this means the only paper color (true white) is in those areas, everything else is darker. The whites of the eyes can not be white at all just a lighter version of the skin tone. Also the eye is a ball, shade them like a ball with lots of gradients. Also watch our for hard lines, edge of iris edge of pupils, try to use lost of sfumato (soft line edges)

Your all doing great so far


05-15-2007, 03:07 PM
snoball a wonderful self portrait and the eyes show so much of your memories and pain
Thanks so much for looking at it. I still get very sad when thinking of the time I painted this.

05-15-2007, 04:06 PM
Armin, thanks so much, but I need to correct one little thing. Had you played the tuba, I definitely wouldn't be here. I actually have 2 persons who influenced me artistically and whom I can't thank enough. First, and not because you are the teacher here and I think that I needed to make it up to you (there are far more figurative descriptions for what I said here, but ...................), is you. When I saw your WIP you did on Mr. Preston, I was as inspired, taken, thrilled, ................ and hooked on drawing and your noticing me and commenting on my beginner's drawings made me enormously proud and still does. This WIP of your's inspired my desire to give it a try and it still drives me. The second is JayD who nursed, helped, nudged, pushed ................... me through all my artistic baby steps until today and gave me all the moral support and then some which I need(ed) to stay with the pencil (and other mediums). Guys without the two of you (and all the other understanding and helpful members here) I wouldn't be where I am. My sincerest kudos. Whewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww now I am glad that this is out as well.

05-15-2007, 05:16 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-May-2007/88430-ariels_sad_eye.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-May-2007/88430-eye.jpg

thanks Armin have you ever did a eye tutorial ,I can do good eyes in watercolor but have trouble with the pencil heres a example of my eye in watercolor its a aceo 2.5" by 3.5 " would love to see the steps YOU take ,only if you have time that is, Thanks for the suggestions ,have a great day.Terry

05-15-2007, 06:27 PM
:wave: Hello Class! Been to work and busy, now checking in & amazed at all the new classmates & ideas, as well as the progress some have made.

Midge Absolutely wonderful start, the girls face is just glowing and I love the skintone hand. I love the WHOLE concept! :)

Terry Your sketch is great! Love the eye ACEO's too. Armin gave you good advice, just translate wc to graphite and practice, lol, easy for me to say, in reverse I'd be stumped!

Reinhard I'm liking your new simplyfied version very much and the placement.

I know I missed commenting on so many great ideas, didn't mean too :(

I'm stuck working on my Roman Numerals (I'd forgotten how much I dislike lettering! ick!) And then I realized that I need a background behind the spiderweb so I got some more pictures of my bleeding hearts and that flowerbed to work it out.

Armin, I've changed my idea a bit,as per your advice less symbolism: I will have the Roman Numerals, spider and web, something the spider has wrapped in his silk caught in the web and then the symbol of change and growth-the dragonfly-the new me-in color flying away. Now I just need to get back to the line drawing, eek, that will take me a month at least, lol!

05-15-2007, 08:39 PM
I did some work on the arms, and the hand holding the teddy bear. I also did some work on the bear, and the tree. The rock she was sitting upon is now a cracked egg. I hope you all don't mind if I show updates on this.


Ruth Tyson
05-16-2007, 03:12 AM
It's been so interesting reading through everybody's thought and ideas. I'm quite surprised at how well I can relate to the feelings of so many of you who are drawing self portraits, and there was me thinking I was unique! Also, even more surprisingly, I've had another idea for a symbolistic portrait of my relationship with my father. I'm not going to do it for this class, I'm sticking with the portrait of my son, but I'm going to jot down my ideas for a possible future piece.

Something that happened to me while trying to discover what to draw was that I became quite down, my mood really sank and I felt so tired and drained, obviously it lifted as I decided to draw my son, he's the sunshine in my life, but such mood swings have never happened to me before. I suppose many of you experienced the same thing?!

April good to be here and to see you too....the reason I hadn't delved into my creativity was because I had no idea where to start looking for it. Thank goodness for Armin.

Armin I'm off on holiday on Friday for a couple of weeks, I'll take my paper and pencils just incase I get some quiet time and I'll have my camera so I should get some good reference shots of my boy to work from as well as sketches of him. I'll work twice as hard when I get back to catch up on all the 'goings on' in the class.

Gordon's art
05-16-2007, 10:15 AM
here we are I have made a start on my portrait I have took note of all the advice I have received acted on 90% of them tried them all but some did not seem right so if you advised me and you notice i have not acted upon it its not me just rejecting your advice its just that it did not seem right sorry!,
but what I have done is added another (oh my !) symbol into my drawing to which I am not going to say much about but all will be revielled at the end ( I just hope it works) but anyway I will stop rambling on and down load the images of the work done http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-May-2007/41972-drawing_class002.jpg

05-16-2007, 11:41 AM
Hi I have been studying all the posts as this has begun and have thought and thought about what molded me into who I am today and this is what I have....I am ashamed to put this up here it is so very simple compared to everyones work here but as I stated in the beginning I am actually down in the basement as far as drawing. :lol:


05-16-2007, 12:20 PM
Lady Alba, that is just beautiful. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone's work. This is an interesting class.

05-16-2007, 01:06 PM
Hi everyone,

Armin - thank you for the feedback. I'm still at the musing and thumbnail stage. I've mocked up possible layouts.

Spooky alley with terrified expression on face in the foreground, no persuer evident:



I've also dreamed up a different possible scene - paddling my own canoe, following my own compass, maps/charts and life jackets tossed aside, can't see a clear way forward but proceeding anyways.


Feedback welcome.


05-16-2007, 01:21 PM
I'm fascinated reading through everyone's thinking. We're more alike than we appear on first glance. I see themes of struggle, walls, entanglements, bursting through, striving, and so on. What a relief to discover I'm not alone in my feelings :)

There are so many pages of posts and I'm not going to be able to comment on everyone but from the last few pages, here are some comments:

Midge - you are charging forward with great enthusiasm! I like the shading on the fair and the arms
Gordon - you too are charging forward. I'm still in the prelim stage.
Lady Alba - I'll join you in the basement. An interesting composition in yours.
Terry - I like your cracked mask
Reinhard - I can tell you're working hard on the concept for your drawing. You've had so many revisions but I can tell you're getting there.
Sue - an interesting idea to have the plant flourishing even though the roots are covered with rubble. :)
Desiree - I really like your composition and linework (post 127)
emmie05 - I'm joining you in the messy scribble stage :)
Frieda - looking forward to seeing yours
Jeannette (IslanderNL) - I'm a pisces too. You'd think I'd be able to swim like a fish but, alas. Paring down is also what I've been playing around with.
Dave - interesting symbolism (post 146). What would motivate the peron with the hand in the dam to keep his hand there, and what might cause him to withdraw his hand?
J - good start with the sketch of your hubby's face.


05-16-2007, 01:48 PM
The journey continues....Here is my meager addition. This project is proving to be a self-portrait of sorts....At least the process is becoming a self-portrait while my image is not in it. This project is teaching me trust. Trust in God, trust in myself, trust in others.

I'm flying by the seat of my pants with this drawing. It is scary, exhilerating, freeing.....everything wrapped into one. This may be a hard experience but it is a good one and one I am enjoying very much. I am loving the freedom that is found in this project.

What makes this drawing's process a self-portait is the fact that this trust is something going on in so many levels of my life. I am having to to learn to open myself up, being raw and real, and to trust that God is in control.

There is a shadow over the young woman's face. You will see what is casting that shadow as the drawing progresses. The chin area is not finished, neither is the hair.

Title: "The Catalyst"
Medium: graphite
Size: 30x39inches


05-16-2007, 03:09 PM
Hay Stoney where’s your work? great input though!


Been trying to finish up a few things and nothing has come to mind.

I'll go back and, again, reread the opening posts. Maybe this time I'll get an idea.

05-16-2007, 03:25 PM
I'm fascinated reading through everyone's thinking. We're more alike than we appear on first glance. I see themes of struggle, walls, entanglements, bursting through, striving, and so on. What a relief to discover I'm not alone in my feelings :)


That's all part and parcel of life. The 'rollercaster' of contrast.

Gordon's art
05-16-2007, 03:52 PM
been working on this all afternoon and got myself drawn will move on to another part later giving it a rest for now sorry not very good scans http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-May-2007/41972-drawing_class_009a.jpg

05-16-2007, 03:59 PM
Don't we all love that? We hit the "submit reply button" and windows decides that this is the "crash and lose all botton". %^$#^ :mad: :mad: :mad:

Midge, you are getting better with each pencil stroke> Love it.

gordon, glad to see you started. Just watch out that you don't stay too much in the middle tonal values. Push the darks so the lights can shine and vice versa.

LadyAlba, sorry to say that I can't see you down there. You are here with us and there is no up and down. Good start.

eyepaint, you have some very strong sketches there.

April, wow wow wow, what a fantastic continuation. Lots of emotion and great drawing. Lady, you are raising the bar pretty high, even higher than before.

In continuiation of my 'soul searching' I stumbled accross this layout and it 'spoke to me rather strongly'. I think I have found what I wanted to 'say'. Armin looking at me from each canvas. I think the compositional flow is acceptable (to my untrained eyes at least). Please do NOT interpret that column wrongly, it just felt better this way. Don't ask me why. Sorry for posting this as a 'sketch' but it is a lot faster and I am often 'sketching' with Photoshop and my printer. I might still bring in that 'curtain idea' but that will be decided as I go along and see how it would fit.

Whether I will still be able to start before our trip next week to Chicago, I am not sure. At least I think I have what I want.

Awaiting humbly the 'go' command from 'higher up'.

05-16-2007, 04:02 PM
gordon, you're not only good, you're fast as well.

05-16-2007, 04:05 PM
Gordon, that looks great. You are really fast. It will be good to see what else you put into it, if anything.


05-16-2007, 06:18 PM
Wow Gordon, nicely done! Is that your quick sketch???
Every one sure is working hard and they all are coming along very well. I will start mine tomorrow. I've been planning it in my head and also collecting ref material. My quick sketch will not be so detailed. One thing I'm afraid of is that if I spend too much time on initial sketches, I'll lose interest, I have a kind of short attention span, nothing drastic but needs to be remembered.

05-16-2007, 09:42 PM
Well, I have started a self portrait with a sketch from photo and the mirror. I am a little thinner than when this was taken, but look younger in the sketch??? no wrinkles ? or is it the drawing. I think it looks like me, though. I plan to do a background of a garden area in my backyard. It is symbolic for several reasons. First is the background of roots of a ficus tree that has taken hold of a wall and made itself part of the original structure--a little like my adopting two boys when I married and sinking my roots here in FL--far from my hills of home. If it doesn't look out of place, I will draw the set of windchimes that hang there--the music represents the happy times in my life. I prefer to dwell there!
This is on Bienfang Raritan Heavyweight Drawing 14X17--all I could get in that size until I go to the art store. I may transfer it to Bristol vellum or smooth if I get a chance to do some shopping. The figure is about 11X9--hopefully leaving some room for a background. Don't know if I will have time to do much larger, but am pondering it.

05-16-2007, 10:15 PM
Terry you are going to be awfully disappointed when I tell you I don’t draw in that fashion, every time I draw anything I observe my subject matter anew, I don’t have steps or formulas in a systematic sort of way. When I draw an eye what helps me out is having studied of the anatomical structure of the eye. The iris is embedded with tiny muscles that look like strands that seemed hooked together quite often in the center of the iris, forming a slight ring, this is why some people draw the iris like wagon wheels. Often I exaggerate the lighting effect on the iris from the opposite side of the highlight that forms on the cornea. This helps give structure to the drawing. The sclera or the white of the eye is very complex in its subtle markings. Look very closely at the white of the eye, and you'll see lines that look like tiny pink threads. These are blood vessels, that deliver blood, to the sclera. For the drawn eye to be believable the white of the eye is usually darker the any of the highlights. Spend time looking at your own eye in a mirror and notice how many things you see you might have drawn by rote. When I teach a drawing class I draw someone’s eye from life, it takes about four hours but it really wouldn’t work in this cyber format.

Sounds good Michele

Look great Midge, what would it look like if the hand casts a shadow on the paper?

Enjoy your holiday Ruth

LadaAlba, I like the bricks and you definitely have nothing to be ashamed of it looks great, remember we all have our own artistic language.

EP I like the alley drawing, this can be very dark, not a whole lot of detail, save that for the face.

April…looking great!

Gordon I like the post and the foreshortening, I agree with Reinhard about the general tonality. Yet I believe that great drawing can have a very a small value range it depends on what you’re saying

Reinhard GO……………………………………..now you have many good looking guys in your drawing, and you’re a handsome fellow as well………………

Jackie, I don’t do a lot of complete sketches for this reason I would get utterly board but I do solve a lot of problems in preportorial drawings.

Joane I love happiness! I don’t think that you have to go to anyplace else. Even at this early stage your getting a good likenss


05-16-2007, 11:39 PM
Gordon, you are looking good! :clap: I like the thoughful look in your eye. Keep up the good work:wave:

Reinhard - I really like your last layout - it looks really good!

Terry- Your masks are great - even the eyes! If Armin spends four hours on an EYE maybe all you need to do is take a little more time drawing them:lol: :lol: :lol:.

April, you are doing an awesome job - can't wait to see the finished drawing :thumbsup:

Lady Alba - You have a good start - and I like your drawing! Looks to me like it is going to be full of meaning.

I've been swamped with projects here at home but plan on starting my drawing, hopefully, by this weekend or Monday.

05-17-2007, 01:31 AM
Thanks armin i gues it never hurts to ask and I understand thanks Lassandra yeah I gues I need to practice from life,I love to draw eyes they are my most fave thing besides the lips to draw I just wanted a few pointers to do them better , again THANKS ARMIN you helped me

Gordon's art
05-17-2007, 06:07 AM
Well thanks to all your comments so far,
Reinhard I will keep an eye on all the tones as I go along and when I have nearly completed the drawing but I will also be putting in a fairly darkish background so will adjust the tones again then,
was working on the latest update till well into the small hours (4.30 am) I managed to get the easle and as much of the Elvis as I want to do done I was pleased with the wood effect I got I tried different ways to do this on a scrap of paper and this was the best result I got I have also thought of a title for this drawing it is taken from the Buddy Holly (note not an Elvis song) song :music: Crying, Wishing, hopeing.:music: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-May-2007/41972-drawing_class.jpg

05-17-2007, 06:40 AM
Thank you Lassandra and Reinhard! You both are so kind! (((HUG)))

05-17-2007, 07:58 AM
Wow, everyones sketches look so good, I have enjoyed reading along with all your thoughts and drawings :thumbsup: . I will post mine soon just have to get it sketched. I was going to try a self portrait but so far I have missed myself completley LOL or else I have a very wrong impression of me :D

05-17-2007, 08:07 AM
Thank you so much for your words, Armin! :)

05-17-2007, 11:33 AM
April what i get no hug?!?


05-17-2007, 11:52 AM
Thank you Reinhard. I really like what everyone has done. I am still working on mine as well.

05-17-2007, 12:43 PM
Hi everyone, wow, some great stuff here.

Midge, I think your drawing is coming along wonderfully! It looks great from here!

Gordon, wow, you are really moving along, and I think it looks great.

Reinhart, I can't wait to see where you land with this masterpiece, I am sure it will be wonderful.

Eyepaint, I think your drawing will be so strong, I am afraid looking at it.

Still working on mine too, will try to post soon.

05-17-2007, 12:44 PM
April what i get no hug?!?


:lol: Sorry there, Armin! Yes, indeed, you can have as many hugs as you want! How many would you like? Two, three, 6 dozen??? :D

Aw, heck, who wants to wait for your reply! Here you go, my friend!!!
How's that? Is that enough? :smug: (I just love this little smug face! :D)


05-17-2007, 12:55 PM
Stoney, Reinhard, Armin, Desiree - thank yoy.

Alley drawing it is. Next is to determine relative position of face (bottom left? centre left? top left?), state (hovering and bodyless? add part of a body?), and which expression (hands on face? no hands on face?) Hmmm.

April - how interesting that you mention that this project involves trust. Sometimes we don't want to open ourselves up or be vulnerable to people we know/love and/or to strangers.

Gordon - very nice shading/detail on you and on Elvis

Reinhard - an interesting effect to have Armin's face on all the canvases :)

Joane - the nice thing about a self portrait, particularly a creative self portrait, is that you can be older/younger taller/shorter heavier/thinner than in real life :)


Gordon's art
05-17-2007, 02:11 PM
thank you DESEREE and E P (your not THE E P ARE YOU??)

05-17-2007, 02:39 PM
Gordon your drawing IS looking really good and the portrait of elvis ig great and hes crying you did a good job on him, Reinhard your drawing is coming along great also.

05-17-2007, 02:44 PM
eye paint yeah you are not alone isnt it funny how we all feel at times that we are the only one who has theses feeling ? then we find out we all share most of the same feelings at some point and time,I cant wait to see your drawing when you finish.

05-17-2007, 03:33 PM
My digital camera is tossing itself up into the air, and then kicking its legs. I think it is dying.

Anyway, I worked some more, and am undesided on where to place the shadow for the hand. If I do it in the same places that the other shadows go, then it would not look right. I placed my back to the light and lay my hand on the paper and the shadow is very dark and off to the side. My goodness, I need to darken this piece so much.

It is good to see how other people work.

05-17-2007, 04:01 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-May-2007/59045-sean.JPG Hi Armin and all! Here is my 1st sketch. My son at 3, prophetic of his emerging love of music.There is an apple tree in the background, with an apple not far from the tree, signifying how much alike we are. The whistle around his neck symbolizes my husband who whistles CONSTANTLY, lol! The papers in the foreground are blueprints of the life ahead of him (have to think further on what they will contain). The guitar is his favorite instrument, and the fret markers are reminiscient of Led Zeppelins Zoso symbols, with ref to his impending marriage and graduation from Pharmacy school. After I completed this sketch, I went out on an errand, returned and noticed that my peony plant had grown overnight and was full of buds. This is my favorite flower, blooms in my b-day month and if planted correctly will get bigger and have more blooms each year. I think that the peony is a stronger symbol of how a good, solid foundation when you're young helps tremendously as you mature. Therfore I will replace the apple tree with the peony, but I'm thinking of moving it to the foreground and moving the blueprints to the background. What do you think? I'll do the next sketch tomorrow. Forgot to mention that I named him after John Lennon, hence the Imagine ref.

05-17-2007, 04:28 PM
Gordon - You're the second person to ask me that question here on wetcanvas :) Maybe I am THE EP, and maybe I'm not. “Rhythm is something you either have or don't have, but when you have it, you have it all over.”
Terry - it sure is interesting how we can be unique but not unique at the same time. My fingerprints and DNA "should" be unique but my feelings are not. Looking forward to seeing your work too :)
Midge - yikes! Maybe your digital camera just needs a long weekend rest?
Jackie - I like your idea of the peony in the foreground and the blueprints in the background. Currently the branches of the tree sort of radiate out from the child's head like he has just had an idea :)

Gordon's art
05-17-2007, 05:12 PM
EP If you are the EP can you get back to the studio and record more stuff as they keep messing with your songs and ruining them by making them modern YUCK! (lol)

Gordon's art
05-17-2007, 05:19 PM
Ok today I got to finish the portrait of the portrait I drew of my father when he passed away a few years ago, it was really sureal drawing it again even though I was drawing it with different emotions this time ( first time it was grief, this time it is a tribute) and I got the golf club done as well so I have down loaded both the drawing I done today and a complete upto date drawing ( I definately have too much free time) http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-May-2007/41972-drawing_class_010.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-May-2007/41972-drawing_class_013.jpg

05-17-2007, 05:32 PM
Oh Gordon, this is really good. Such an honor to great men.

05-17-2007, 05:46 PM
gordon, what can I say? GREAT!!!!!!!!!!

05-17-2007, 05:56 PM
EP, thanks for commenting. Fact is that in all my drawings I feel that Armin is somehow looking at me, like checking up on me. I know this is only my feeling but is is definitely there.

Jackie, interesting thoughts. I'd suggest to make the apple bigger and have it still on the tree. Right now it looks a bit lost down there. It is a symbolic drawing so you can play with all the components in placement and size. IMHO that is.

05-17-2007, 06:02 PM
You know I had the apple bigger then I changed it, don't know why really. But anyway I'm losing the apple and the tree, more than likely, will depend on what Armin and you guys think of my next sketch with the peony.
Gordon, I'm sure you've earned you free time, and you certainly use it wisely, love the drawing of you father!

05-17-2007, 06:18 PM
Just a quick comment to Gordon, its really coming along. I like the placement of EP the flow you have going is working really well. The ring, is that your wedding ring its a very prominent feature of the work, I know in Germany they where it on the right in the US on the left (I know I wore a few) “first time it was grief, this time it is a tribute” good point!


05-17-2007, 09:37 PM
Had some time to work on this today. I am having trouble with the left eyebrow as you can probably see on the drawing--first too high, now maybe to low--my brows aren't exactly even because of the mole in the left one!
I took some photos in my garden this afternoon and will leave this to contemplate on while I work on the background.

05-18-2007, 10:02 AM
Everyones work is just amazing and this thread is moving very fast ... it is hard to keep up. :wave:

Here are a couple of updates...I have not been keeping track of time on this but I do have a very sore neck. :lol:


This is where I am now...


Gordon's art
05-18-2007, 02:51 PM
First Of All Thank You armin, The Ring Is In Fact An England 3 Lions Ring Our Wedding Rings Go On Our Left Hand,
Also Thank You midge, Reinhard,and Jackie,

05-18-2007, 03:00 PM
Ladyalba love how your drawing is coming along great job cant wait to see it when you finish it.

05-18-2007, 03:02 PM
Joan I like your sketch so far you have a good likeness there looking forward to seeing it when you finish

05-18-2007, 03:20 PM
This is a great triology of portraits you have Gordon. Its really coming together well.

Reinhard, you too are brave, with multiple portraits going on in your drawing also. I get the feeling of frustration from it in your efforts to match expectation. Is the expectation from you or others? I guess that is all part of the drawing.

Jackie, I agree with Reinhard, I think the apple would fit better if it were a little larger. I love the image and how the pieces interact.

Joane, I think your SP is looking good. The likeness is there and you can, of course, tweak it to be past present or future. Ahhhh imagination is a wonderful thing! :)

I transferred my drawing onto a 22 x 30 sheet of illustration board. I got the fish in place, then decided that I didn't like the rest of the background as I'd sketched previously, so I'm in the process of changing it.

Armin, I agree with your comments, pages back now, about symbols needing to be closer together to make it flow. I have done that, putting the Wand of Asclepsius (original symbol of medicine, as I'm a herbalist) between the fish and pulling the rocks on the left in closer. Now I'm not sure what will happen on the right side of the drawing. Perhaps I can leave it blank, but I don't know if that will look correct. Its one of those things that seems to correct itself as my mind and hand get into motion.

Now I need to make a start on this drawing. I just need to find a cod fish for reference... Here is a digital image of the drawing. Its fairly faint lines so the camera didn't grab the lines well.


05-18-2007, 04:44 PM
Desiree, masterpiece? I can't say but for sure it will be a piece WITH the master.

Lessandra, thx, it will be fun and time consuming

Jeanette, I like the layout of your very simplified drawing. Will be this it and will you delve right into the project now? I think I do love challenges. From the very start in drawing I always set the goal so high that I was not sure if I could reach it. This brought a ton of frustration with it; the positive effect was and is that I have to slow down in the drawing process and look umpteen times before I draw something. It has helped so far. I may not be able to have the 3 Armins identical - that would be too much to expect from me - but I will try to get as close as I can. Frustration seems to be my artistic middle name though. Whether I frustrate you out there as well? I don't know and I hope not too much.

Gordon's art
05-18-2007, 05:12 PM
finally added the last symbol to my drawing wasn't to sure if it would work but we will see what you all think please be honest and if need be brutal I promise I will not cry or throw my teddy out of the pram!, the last piece as you can see is TINKERBELL as a tribute to the late WALT DISNEY who I always wanted to work for since I could first draw, so now you can see why I called this CRYING, WISHING, HOPEING crying because I cried when both the men died, Wishing because I always wished to work for Walt Disney ( and I used Tinkerbell because of the wishes you always get from fairies!!), Hopeing because I /we all hope to see the ones we loved and lost again when we leave our Mortal beings so there you have it all explained and drawn (not too sure about the background :( :confused: ) http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-May-2007/41972-drawing_class_002.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-May-2007/41972-drawing_class_003.jpg

05-18-2007, 05:24 PM
Great symbolism there Gordon. My former roommate's husband used to work for Disney, and I loved looking at all the cells she had from his work. Just wonderful. Anyway, I love what you have done.

Gordon's art
05-18-2007, 05:33 PM
thank you Midge how I wish I had some cells from the disney film worth a packet over here

05-18-2007, 05:57 PM
gordon, absolutely great man. My congrats. As I said, you are not only fast but also VERY good. Keep it up.