View Full Version : My Worship Series... Drawings & WIPs

Deborah Secor
06-22-2007, 04:49 PM
I've shown a couple of my drawings and a couple of shots of work in other spots but thought I'd show you the progress I'm making and share the struggle with you. I'm open, as always, to any C&C you have to offer, although I ask you all to be kind as I'm a nooooobie at figures, and I'm in the business of expressing emotion here, not making a likeness. (Gimme time on the likeness thing!) To that end I won't be showing the original photos because I'm not there at the moment...

I started with photos, manipulations and then drawings. Here are my sketches:





And here's the progress on one painting, from the last sketch.

The underdrawing in charcoal and pastel. I didn't even work on her hair--that's all charcoal. It's on Wallis toned a pale yellow color so I can erase easily, and is 18x24".

This next phase reminded me of a shampoo commercial. I had to get rid of that fast!

And my so-far, almost finished, not sure about a few details yet, version.

Here's another one:

My sketch...

The painting so far. It's 8x10" on white Richeson Gator Foam board.

As I go along I'll share more here. Thanks for taking a look!


06-22-2007, 05:03 PM

What you capture is an emotion we long to locate in each and every portrait and figure. Congratulations and my utmost respect for what you have done.

Thank you for sharing this - I'll add mroe later - but wanted to let you know these are very very rich and powerful!


06-22-2007, 05:08 PM
Deborah.... those are so wonderful and fresh.... You have captured their personality and emotions... show us more! Donna R.

06-22-2007, 05:20 PM
These are beautiful Deborah!
You really have captured that wonderful moment one has when spending time with our Maker! I really love the expressions of joy, peace and quiet meditation in prayer. This is really beautiful and makes a wonderful series.

I love the feelings these portray of total surrender and adoration to God. Really beautiful!


Deborah Secor
06-22-2007, 05:33 PM
Thanks so much for your encouragement.

Barb--coming from you that means a lot. :)

Donna, thanks. I plan to do and show more... I'll show them in time, I promise.

Thanks so much, Annie. Surrender and adoration--I'm delighted these read this way! :heart:


06-22-2007, 05:40 PM
Noobie means nada as these beautiful images are inspiring and wonderful!!
They show me a sense of alignment with mind and spirit, both in subject and artist.
One particular spot I really like and admire is, in the bottom portrait, her face and how that facial shadowing falls below the lit cheek and nose in shadow, with the colorful palette you've chosen.
Thanks for sharing!

Kathryn Day
06-22-2007, 05:44 PM
Hi Deborah! Your sketches and wip paintings show contemplation, prayer, praise, the last one I get a feeling of loss or grief, struggle maybe. You have strong skills with your landscapes, so I had no doubt they would translate into figure work. Beautiful work.

Deborah Secor
06-22-2007, 05:49 PM
Thank you, Cindy. I was particularly interested in those shadows that looked like insubstantial bars. They do so much to enhance the 3-D effect. The color of that one has been challenging--glad you like it!


Deborah Secor
06-22-2007, 05:58 PM
Kathy, thanks. I know I can do the landscapes, which gives me confidence, but this feels like shaky ground comparitively! I agree, the second painting is somber. This young woman is a teenager in our fellowship, so struggle might be accurate. She was at a weekend camp for teens at our church. They had scattered to do their personal quiet time. She seemed very introspective.

I hope there's some metaphorical content in this one...


06-22-2007, 06:59 PM
hehe, a shampoo commercial. :D

Looking great I have to say. The lighting says it all.

Deborah Secor
06-22-2007, 07:09 PM
:D I hope the visual excitement of the actual painting transcends such thoughts. The surrounding atmosphere in the background is meant to convey emotional content. No one who has looked at it IRL has remarked on it looking commercial, I'm happy to report. <whew!>


Mikki Petersen
06-23-2007, 12:06 AM
I didn't see any shampoo commercials here...These have a roughness that your landscapes do not. That is not necessarily a bad thing. They have a spontaneous feel that lends itself to the emotion which jumps at the viewer. IF emotion is what you want, you have it in spades!


maggie latham
06-23-2007, 06:07 AM
Thank you for sharing. These are beautiful and sensitive.

Pat Isaac
06-23-2007, 09:12 AM
I am happy to see that you are posting these wonderful pieces. There is so much emothion in the figures and the gestures tell it all. Very inspiring.


grampy bone
06-23-2007, 11:39 AM
I really like the 2nd sketch you posted with the man bowing his head. I think it would look really nice if backlit. Also, its nice to see such positive images regarding worship and Christianity (which seems to be under attack a lot these days IMO).

I get the impression that the lady in the white shirt is singing. Nicely done.

06-23-2007, 11:44 AM
Deborah, these are absolutely beautiful. Emotion is the key word! I love them.

Deborah Secor
06-23-2007, 10:28 PM
Thanks, Mikki. Glad she doesn't look too 'sudsy' to you...and yes, emotion is the thing I'm reaching for here.

Thanks Maggie and Pat!

Grampy, she is singing and I'm so glad it reads that way. The man you mention was being baptized an had a towel draped around the front of him, which made his face glow with reflected light. I think a stronger backlight would enhance that, too. We'll see what comes of that one.

Diana, thank you.

I spent a bit of time looking--not touching--the singing lady today and I think she still needs some soft transitions, but just subtleties. Nonetheless, when I work on it I'll show an update. I really appreciate your responses, all of you!


06-24-2007, 12:28 AM
Hi Deborah, you have stirred up alot of emotion in me, im quite overwhelmed at the moment, i will be honest i am in tears here, i remember a time not that many years ago when i was myself in those wonderful moments of praise and worship to our wonderful Lord and Saviour..Thankyou for sharing such precious moments, God works in mysterious ways thats for sure.

06-24-2007, 01:28 AM
Thank you for sharing. These are beautiful ! The peace and joy of the Holy Spirit really shines on the face of the woman who is singing. I think you have not only displayed praise for our heavenly Father, but you have captured her heart within.

David Patterson
06-24-2007, 01:30 AM
Lovely drawings Deborah! My favorite is the first one. It's the one I feel shows the best emotion, and also is the simplest of all of them. They are are very powerful.


Kathryn Wilson
06-24-2007, 06:33 AM
I see you going down a different path with these - one you will get more comfortable with as time goes along - they are really very well done and you shouldn't apologize for your sketches.

Karen Margulis
06-24-2007, 09:09 AM
Thank you for sharing these with us. They are very powerful and filled with emotion.


Deborah Secor
06-24-2007, 10:35 PM
(((Nicky))) Thank you so much for sharing your heart and letting me know that the Lord is using the paintings. Have you ever been an answer to prayer before? :heart:

Hi Haptopaint--wow, thank you! Actually, this is another answer to prayer... As I paint these I've been praying to show that deep praise I feel, as well as the heart of the person I'm painting.

David, I'm just so happy that you see power in these. I like that first one, too, for its simplicity.

Thanks, Kat, for the reassurance. I DO need to become more comfortable with painting people. It's a bit of a stony path for me right now, and I'm sure it shows. I have to keep looking where I'm going. Raw, I think...and maybe a bit naive. Time will tell if I can get in the groove more!

Karen, I'm so glad I finally did share them. I know they need more--or maybe I should say I need to do more. Thanks for commenting!

I hope to get on with another of these this week so if anything pops out I'll be sure to share. Thanks again everyone. :D


06-24-2007, 11:13 PM
Ohhhhhh, I love these! How could I not?!! :clap: :thumbsup:

More, more, more, please!

06-25-2007, 01:07 PM
The one that moves me the most is the "man" bowed head sketch.
Very powerful thread.Thank you.

Deborah Secor
06-25-2007, 11:33 PM
Hi Deb--thanks a lot! I really hope to get more, more, more done... :D

Pete, I want to paint that man but somehow it intimidates me. I think it's two things. I don't often do men, and this guy is so reverent looking it's a little awesome. I may push some pastel around and see what I can do. Thanks!


06-25-2007, 11:52 PM
Beautiful images! I can't decide if I like the sketches or the paintings more. You have a real talent for capturing a moment and the emotion with just a few strong lines.

Deborah Secor
06-26-2007, 01:14 PM
Hi Ann--thanks so much. I almost didn't show the drawings, not because I think they're bad, but they seemed so quick and...well...lightweight to me. I see things differently now that people are commenting. I appreciate it.


06-26-2007, 06:14 PM
Hi Deborah

Well, I'm glad you did post the sketches - they're wonderful! :-)

bruce johnson
06-26-2007, 07:13 PM
Hi Deborah... I almost missed these... these sketches are very well drawn... you have captured the spirit of these people... you should really do more portraits... you're good at it... :clap: :clap: :thumbsup:

Deborah Secor
06-27-2007, 09:43 AM
Thanks Bruce--that means a lot coming from someone who does such wonderful portraits. :D


06-27-2007, 11:45 PM
Hi Deborah... I almost missed these...:clap: :clap: :thumbsup:

Bruce,,you need to check out the Sketch thread,,,..we all got a sneak preview:D ...

Deborah.......what an inspired and inspiring series you are persuing!

Deborah Secor
06-28-2007, 12:19 AM
Thanks, Preston! :) Yeah, you saw the 'early' version of the singing lady over there in the sketch thread, along with all my angst. But it was there I got brave enough to post this thread, so thanks again.


cal studio
06-28-2007, 07:23 AM



Deborah Secor
06-28-2007, 07:27 PM
:lol: Great! Thanks, Cathleen...

06-29-2007, 11:31 PM
Lovely drawings and sketches, Deborah.

Deborah Secor
06-30-2007, 12:47 PM
Oh, thanks, 3243... (Um, may I call you 32 for short? :D ) I'm delighted you like them.


06-30-2007, 08:32 PM
wow... those are really good... neat concept too... your porportions are really well done!

Deborah Secor
07-01-2007, 08:26 PM
Oh, thanks Melanie. Proportions are tough to get right--good to hear you think I did okay!

I have two more of this series in progress, one of the man with his head bowed, which I like, and another close-up of a woman's face that's really not working yet. I quite purposely divided the paper almost in half with her face, which has a very strong expression, and I don't think the half-way thing is working... My idea was that it would give the viewer the sense of her isolation. If I can get it to where I like the painting I'll share it and see what you think. The man is 90% there...just needs some values tweaked in the shadows. Maybe tomorrow I'll have more time to paint and then I can show them here and get your opinions.


07-02-2007, 12:28 AM
It's wonderful to see you reaching for more, and going deeper into who you are as an artist, the results are very moving, tho I think the journey itself is the path into the heart of things. Thanks for letting us walk with you.

Deborah Secor
07-02-2007, 01:27 PM
Hi Colleen. Yes, I think it is the journey, you're right. I'm off to paint right now and will show you my progress sometime soon, I hope...

It's not easy. I guess I suffer from pride too much. :o I want the paintings to say something so emotional, which could too easily become almost kitschy--you know? Overly sentimental and sappy. I'm afraid one is there right now but one is working, so let me go see if I can resolve things. Then I'll share.


Deborah Secor
07-02-2007, 02:23 PM

Here he is. Let me know what you think.


07-02-2007, 03:27 PM
Deborah,,,I am not a portraitist, but the background is lacking something to support the subject,,,,,,,I love the purple in the skin tones..

Deborah Secor
07-02-2007, 04:19 PM
Hmmm, thanks. Maybe that's what it is. I'm probably being too literal. I like the pure emotion on his face but there's something... I'll think on it.


Deborah Secor
07-03-2007, 04:37 PM
I worked on another painting yesterday and ended up trashing it. Sometimes the painting wins, y'know? :lol: Anyway, thought I'd bump this back to the top and hope a couple people will comment on the new painting I posted here of the man... C&C very much appreciated!


07-03-2007, 08:51 PM
Very strong image the way you have cropped it. Excellent sense of light and shadow - almost always the key to a strong image, especially the human image. The simple background does not bother me. I think putting anything more noticeable in the background will detract from the man.


Kathryn Wilson
07-03-2007, 09:14 PM
Deborah - I like the background as is, but the strong black triangle across the bottom of the paper draws away from his face - maybe it is not so strong a dark IRL.

If you want, you could start a Worship Series II ???

07-03-2007, 09:17 PM
Hi Deb...I just came across this thread and expected to see drawings and a wip of landscapes ...was very surprised to see the figures and portraits. In the sketch of the old man, I especially loved the drawing but in the painting really liked the way you composed the head (big shapes to small shapes) along with your choice of colors....Beautiful!! Mike

Deborah Secor
07-04-2007, 09:53 AM
Don, thanks so much. I don't intend to add more to the background, but I am considering the contrast. Your thoughts are helpful...

Kat, I know what you mean. IRL that big triangle isn't quite so dense and distracting. There are some gestural strokes that explain the volume, which you cannot see in this photo! I may yet do another thread on some of the others of my worship images. I don't want to flood the forum with them, but we'll see! Thanks!!!

Mike, I appreciate your observation about big to small shapes. I simply have to analyze things this way because I'm so ignorant when it comes to the figure/portrait. I need to really concentrate there in the other paintings, too. Many thanks...

More to come, I hope. :D


Pat Isaac
07-04-2007, 10:27 AM
Wonderful painting of the man, Deborah. I especially like your use of strong color and simple shapes. i wonder if the purple could come up into his temple a little more.


07-04-2007, 10:34 AM

I agree with Preston, the figure is excellent but the background is lacking - maybe a dark mutted purple(subdued) background would highlight the figure more - can you play with it on your computer?

Your landscapes are always wonderful to look at, but this new series is very interesting - if I don't watch out you'll be doing a 'pious' 'bluefish'!:smug: NAH!!!!!

Deborah Secor
07-04-2007, 12:59 PM
Pat, that's a good question. I'll look at that temple area and see. Thank you!

blue, all I can say is, pious is as pious does--right? :D I realize this is what many will refer to as a religious series of paintings, but to me it's about far more than mere religion. I hope that it will eventually express a sense of relationship, of connection to the Lord, not just going through the motions. At least that's my aim! We'll see...

I'll take a good long look at the background and noodle with it in my program to see if I need to tweak the value or color. This photo was taken at a baptism, hence the blue of the water. I guess I was being a bit literal there, but then again I think perhaps it could be explained via a title. I don't like to rely on titles to explain things like that too much, but in context to the theme of worship and the fact that I'm working from photos taken at our church, I don't think referring to this as a baptism is too overt. Color and value are an important consideration, however, so I need to think about that. The reflective water is a good part of why the colors are vivid and there's such nice, strong contrast. I wish I had a slew of these kinds of photos.

You all are a great help!

Mary Brigid
07-06-2007, 06:05 PM
What a wonderful thread Deborah.... I am not surprised to see these at all. You have captured the emotions very well indeed. I love the painting of the old man.. the colours are so vibrant and yet you kept the serenity of the mood.
Mary Brigid

07-07-2007, 06:06 AM

07-07-2007, 09:08 AM
blue, all I can say is, pious is as pious does--right? :D I realize this is what many will refer to as a religious series of paintings, but to me it's about far more than mere religion. I hope that it will eventually express a sense of relationship, of connection to the Lord, not just going through the motions. At least that's my aim!

Deborah, to me, these drawings and paintings reflect something more spiritually universal than simply religion. They do it well not only because of the skill and insight you bring to them as an artist, but because they are so direct in expressing the complex personal experience of one person, not at all overblown or "preachy". I find a connection in myself with each of them, though my spiritual path is a different one. I think that many many people will respond as I do. The context is irrelevant to the experience of your portraits, which are beautiful and moving.

I feel honored to watch these emerge. Thank you.

Dayle Ann

Deborah Secor
07-07-2007, 01:11 PM
Mary Brigid, I'm very happy that you like that painting in particular. To me he looks like a man letting go of his pain and relaxing into the Jesus's arms. There's that sense of being fully alive and totally relieved. At least that's where my heart was as I painted this one...

Thanks very much, Dayle Ann. Of course to me the context is extremely relevant to my love of Jesus, the Savior, and that's clearly the motivation of the individuals I'm painting, too... I'm glad you find them 'beautiful and moving'! I appreciate that so much. :)


07-07-2007, 01:25 PM
I have no critiqe of your work, I just want to tell you that I truly like it. :)

Deborah Secor
07-07-2007, 05:29 PM
:D Thanks, Dorte! It means a lot to hear that.

I have another one that I'm fighting with. :p I think I'll have to redo it to get it right. Man, this sure isn't like painting the landscape, let me tell you!! There are so few critical proportions in the landscape compared to this work. I've gotten myself into some foreshortening issues and it's making me nuts! Well, maybe I'll have another one to show sometime...maybe not. <grumble.....mutter...shoulders aren't that size...grumble...>

Thanks for all the encouragement! :heart:


07-07-2007, 08:43 PM
Gosh Deborah, you explain it so beautifully - I thought that the guy just lost his shirt at the craps table in Vegas!:D .....just kidding with you a bit - these are truly wonderful drawings and we are very happy for you - .......'bluefish':angel:

Deborah Secor
07-07-2007, 11:05 PM
Welllll, could be, blue, just could be... whatever brings you to repentance, it still opens you up to that total release and new life. Could be the craps table! :p Thanks, my friend.


07-07-2007, 11:36 PM
Deborah, these are wonderful, powerful works--sketches and paintings alike. I really like the hands in the third sketch, and your color choices--Looks to me like you are achieving your aims with these!!! I look forward to seeing more.


07-08-2007, 01:00 PM
The portrait of the man is absolutley fabulous! The colors and technique are super. Love it.

07-08-2007, 04:45 PM
Repentance, like a 'pious:angel:' wasn't @ IAPS!

07-08-2007, 10:35 PM
Deborah, just saw this latest........
You are bringing your sig landscape style to portraiture beautifully. I see your marks of your landscape artwork in his hair, in his skin, and it enlivens this portrait with a quiet and warm energy.
Looking at his closed eyes, his head bowed down and his person surrounded by a bright blue, (which gives me a feeling that all is well with him), makes me want to know about him and his life and ask how he is faring, and somehow, I bet, he would take the time to answer and ask the same. :)

Deborah Secor
07-08-2007, 11:17 PM
Libby, thanks. I like the disappearing hand on that one, too. Diana de Santis stuggested I just think of hands as gloves to start with, which has helped me get them in proportion. I just left the 'glove' look for her far hand.

Thank you, Johnnie. I want to do more like that one.

Cindy, the landscapes are sure quicker, easier and more confident looking. I haven't 'lost' so many paintings in a long time! But I'm glad that you think there's some overlap. I bet you're right about him answering you, too. Guess we'll just have to let the painting do the talking though... Many thanks.

You all are a real encouragement to me. I hope to get into my studio tomorrow to do some more work on the next couple of these. If I don't 'LOSE' them, I'll show you! That wipe out pile is getting way too big...but it's the only way to learn.


Mikki Petersen
07-09-2007, 01:10 AM
The painting of the man has great strength and reflects your growing confidence with portraiture. I would also recognize this as your work without your signature. It has that something that you bring to your paints...a magic bit of unexpected color.


Deborah Secor
07-09-2007, 02:04 PM
Hi Mikki! I'm glad it reads as confident...and very pleased to think that you recognize it as being distinctly mine. I don't know why but to me they feel all over the map right now! I guess that "unexpected color" you mention is the one place I stand fairly firm. Thanks a lot!


Deborah Secor
07-14-2007, 04:32 PM
I decided to start a second thread to show the next couple of this series. I finished the girl in blue, and tweaked a bit on the woman singing worship. The man being baptized is still as-is. The next one is a man, too. You can take a look at My Worship Series part 2 here. (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=432640)