When I was a kid, my mom always cut coupons on Sunday morning. I’d sit
beside her and do the same, but I’d flip through magazines and
newspapers and cut out pictures I liked or lettering that I thought was
neat, and I never gave up my artsy coupon clipping habit because it’s a
great way to pull inspirational images into my orbit.
During this time of the year, as acts of generosity and appreciation
abound, I’m drawn to the works of the painters and draftsmen of the
Ashcan School, which thrived during the early 20th century. This group
of artists—among them Robert Henri, Everett Shinn, John French Sloan,
and William Glackens—were united by a commitment to drawing and
painting the people and places of their daily lives. Sometimes this
meant focusing on the underbelly of society, but many of the works were
really just about depicting reality. Their artwork shone a light on the
plight of the people who were part of the community in which these
No apologies from me for that attempt at sensationalism (I would have
written tabloid headlines in another life). The truth is I was lucky
enough to sit down and chat with artist and instructor C.W. Mundy, who
is generous with both his time and his talents. We chatted about his upbringing, strategies for being a successful artist, and more.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then a painter
needs to get them right when creating a portrait. But the "oval, circle, dot"
anatomy of the eye that we all first learned as children is far removed from
how to give the illusion of a real eye in your work. Here are a few tips about
painting the eye that I like to keep in mind. I hope these will help guide you when it comes
time to depict this particular facial feature.
In Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Invitation to a Beheading, the
pencil is described as the “enlightened descendant of the index
finger.” That sounds about right, especially considering the pride of
place that artists often afford their pens, brushes, and pencils. For
many artists, however, the jumping-off point for creativity can also be
the surface on which a subject is rendered.
I love summer because I’m always on the go. It’s the best time of year
to travel, and I just can’t seem to say no to any outing or adventure
that comes my way. Want to take a road trip through the Carolinas,
Court? I’m there. A holiday to Chicago? Sign me up. A vacation in
California’s wine country? I wish, but yes! But with all this moving
around, I want to make sure that my sketchbook doesn’t get ignored, so
I’ve come up with a few on-the-go sketching and painting strategies
that I want to share with you.