Day 471 -What a day


WIP – Ilenia – 30″x 18″

 Acrylic on board

I have had…or should I say 24 hours?? ALL my iphoto pics disappeared around 11 pm last nite and my iphone died today…supicious I have a virus…guess I will download some antivirus…but in the meantime its day 471 and I have to post a blog dont I???  As you know its Saturday…which means life modeling at USC Aiken….I had originally intended to go urban sketching downtown but did not feel up to it with the bronchitis I have had…hmmm do you think my computer caught it???

Tom offered to drive me and I said yes…I think I may have turned the corner finally!! HALLELUJAH!! BUT back to life arent here to hear me natter on about all my viruses lol…

HARD BOARD – what is it?  My friend Drew cut up a sheet of hard board for me.  It  is sold near the peg board at big box stores at $14 a 4×8′ sheet.  Hardboard is what we used to call masonite…slap some gesso or house paint on it and you are good to go for acrylic and two layers of gesso for oil.  ALOT of board for the price…try matching canvas with that cost! NOT happening.  Like plastic bags it will be here long after we are all gone.  If you drop it on the corners it tends to chip but otherwise great stuff…I have some that I painted on in collage that still is in great shape years later.

Brushes were 1/2 hog bristle and a 1/3″ filbert and a cheap house painting brush for the background. THe house paint brush is the kind that sheds hair…you get about 8 of them for a few dollars at michaels or lowes…great fun to paint with.

SO how did I paint Ilenia??  Colors used cerulean, Golden Nickel Azo gold, titanium white and pyrrole red with a dab of ultramarine blue…thats it..nothing else. I made the flesh by mixing the white with pyrrole red and Nickle Azo Gold. Cerulean was used to make the greys and lavenders as was ultramarine blue.  The black and dark browns are ultramarine blue and pyrrole red.

I drew her first with the Nickel Azo Gold with the smaller filbert.  Measured her and she stands 7 heads tall…her legs and feet could use more work…maybe tomorrow or maybe never lol..

I drew her head first..then marked the seven heads noting where each head length ended.  I also dropped imaginary plumb lines off of her chin to see where her body lined up…also horizontal lines to check on her arms..I had one elbow much too low for a while….I also checked the negative spaces between the arms and how the one  leg hit the chair, where the chair seat lined up with the right leg.

So what more is there to do…her feet could use some work. The background needs to be darkened…probably ultramarine to make her pop.  Today I was into having fun with the paint…trying to be accurate but if I wasnt I didnt care…

11 days till we leave for Paris!!

THanks for reading!!!

Margaret xxx

Day 246 Life Drawing


Today we drew the lovely Amy.  I was using Caran d’arch on 140# Kilimanjaro.  Today was her fortieth birthday So HAPPY Birthday Amy.  

I started by drawing her first in with a yellow ochre caran d’ache crayon. I had actually brought my watercolor pencils to give them a go starting the picture but instead I grabbed the crayon and off I went.

After I blocked in her head and measured her shoulders I just started adding colors.  Most of her face was in heavy shadow.I probably should lighten the shadow under her nose and chin…looks like a goatee lol…BUT OH well..its a sketch and its DONE!  I should have followed Charles Reid Iconic Rule NEVER use anything darker than burnt sienna on a younger face…I used Burnt Umber…DUH!!

It would be easy enough to fix.  Just wet it down and wipe it off with a piece of bounty paper towel and recolor it with burnt sienna.  MAYBE tomorrow or MAYBE NOT!! Thinking NOT!!

She has beautiful red hair. A darkish auburn.  I didnt have anything remotely resembling her hair color so I added some dark pink to the burnt sienna…even if it wasnt the right color it was fun!!  A girl needs her pink!

This is Amy after the first half an hour of drawing.  Notice NO burnt umber under her lip.


SO I guilted myself into getting up and lightening up the shadow on her face.  I do have to say that its MUCH easier to lift color off the Fabriano coldpress than off the Kilimanjaro.  I scurbbed it a little with my hogbristle brush and then added some flesh color to lighten it up. The caran d’ache are really like a cross between pastels and watercolor.They tend to be a little more opaque than the watercolors I usually use which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you are doing.  I also added more highlights to her face. Now I really am calling her done.


I finished Amy about half way thru the second half hour session so I turned the board over and started playing with color on the other side. I sprayed it alot with water and had fun letting her drip.  Added pinks to the ultramarine blues I was using.  


This is my favorite part of this sketch…arent the colors just gorgeous?? This is her tummy and her belly button in case you didnt know!!

The model Amy actually bought this one from me…THANKS AMY!!!

ANYWAY, Caran d’ache are ALOT of fun…go get a small box and have fun drawing.  They keep you from getting too tight.  Add in a spray bottle and it will produce some of the most delicious drips you have ever seen.

Thanks for looking!