ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Monday, March 25, 2013

Drawing Fundamentals, Part 2

In December I blogged about my Drawing Fundamentals class last fall at the Ottawa School of Art.  Because I felt that I learned a lot in Part 1, and because I was impressed by my instructor, Mahshid FarhoudiI decided to register in Part 2 this Winter. By the way, Mahshid also did a great interview with Liana Voia a few weeks ago. You can watch the UTube videos here.

This morning would have been my last class, but I did not attend since I am down with a cold. I am alternating between chills and feeling hot. This is my fourth cold since September.  Every time I travel I seem to catch something.  In September I caught a cold on the plane to Yellowknife; in October/November I caught a cold on the plane to Houston, and then I caught one this winter but I don't know where I caught it, and now I've picked one up on my trip to Toronto.  The funny thing is that they all feel like the same cold.  Exact same symptoms, and nothing a flu shot would help with because they aren't a flu. They all start out mild and work to a peak in a few days. I'm not pushing myself this week.  

I didn't accomplish as much in Part 2 as I did in Part 1. For one thing, Part 2 was only 9 sessions long vs. 12 sessions last fall. I also missed two sessions, one while I was away teaching, and one today because I was sick.

We began with still life. Many of these assignments would take hours and hours of work to do justice to, so what you see here is what I was able to complete within the classroom time.

Oh no, we did a blind contour of our hands, but only once! Many years ago I took a drawing class where we drew blind contours of our hands the entire term! I did indeed learn a lot in my recent class compared to that class of yore.

We did blind contours of our classmates.

We had live models for four sessions. Sometimes we did quick sketches like these.

Sometimes we did ink sketches/washes.This remains one of my favorite methods, and I plan to do more with this in the future.

This is my favorite piece this term. For this exercise we had to blacken our paper with charcoal, then rub the charcoal into the paper. We created our values by removing charcoal with an eraser to get the value we wanted, and darkening areas with more charcoal. A bit messy but I love the results.

Then we had a live model, which we had to sketch in three poses, roughing out our shadows and highlights.

In the last class I attended we created our own composition with the three poses, to make a piece that appeared to incorporate three women. We used a sheet of mid-tone paper, adding darks with charcoal pencils and lights with white conte pencil.

I missed the class where we would have finished this work. I missed today's class where we were going to copy a portrait by one of the Masters. I had chosen The Girl With a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. We often copy the Masters works in art class to learn their methods, but these are always only considered practice pieces, not exhibition pieces. Due to the length of time that the Master's have been dead, most of their works are also now in the public domain. 

Instead I've decided to work on a sketch of my cat Kissabelle while I'm home sick. I love the highlights and shadows in this photo, and enjoy drawing draped fabric, so thought I'd give it a try. I will post the results when I'm finished.

Drawing Fundamentals Part 3 takes place this spring. While I would love to register, I would miss at least half the classes due to this being peak teaching season. I do have my eyes on a few classes at the Haliburton School of the Arts this summer. I remain convinced that improving my drawing skills will help develop my artistic eye and is the best thing I can do to further develop my work. I would like to make drawing a daily habit.


  1. VERY sorry to hear you are sick Elaine! That is THE PITS!! I say it pays to be a hermit­čśë. You have done REALLY well on your drawing. Well done you! That is VERY impressive. Keep at it. Will you quilt peoples maybe ?

  2. Thanks for your condolences Carolynn. It is just a cold that will make me suffer for a bit. It will just make me miserable but I'm sure it won't kill me. Well we did do a lot of figurative work in class, but I think that may be because Mahshid is a figurative painter. The human body is also complex and a good model to use to study form and value. I didn't take the class with figurative in mind, but we shall see what develops.

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