|Pastel drawing by Lea Colie Wight.
At Studio Incamminati, it is not unusual for
instructors or fellows who are not teaching a particular class to come in to
draw or paint beside the students. This happened recently when Lea Colie Wight
joined in a figure drawing class taught by Steven Early. (Lea is an incredible person,
humble and so giving of her knowledge—she is also the recipient of a 2011 Certificate
of Excellence, and 2010 and 2009 Honor Awards, from the Portrait Society of
Steve's drawing class
was working in charcoal when Lea joined us, working in pastel. The model was
more fleshy than many we have had, and presented challenges for me in
maintaining the structure of the figure while at the same time capturing the
rolls of flesh. I had had a similar model once at the Corcoran School and had
the same issue.
When I asked Lea
what she was attracted to in drawing this particular model, she said it was the
actual interplay beween the strength of the model's skeletal structure as
compared to the folds of flesh and muscle.
The pastel is on a Sennelier pastel sanded board, approximately
18" x 24" and executed using hatching, as opposed to other methods of applying
color such as texturing or blending. This allows for really dynamic optical color mixing in the drawing. See for yourself! Lea very quickly developed layers of
color, never looking for that underlying color that "matches" the skin
color. I regret that the photo of
the image does not do justice to the vibrancy of the color she achieved. And she did it all in a few hours over
Note the differences in skin color, especially obvious in
the comparison between the left hand of the model and her right leg. The hand is quite red, but fades in
to muted orange as it recedes into the distance, and the leg is bright but
paler in the stronger direct light and in its lighter values. Of course I can't help but mention the
intensity of the reflected light that fills her back, especially as it relates
to the more muted form shadow of
the breast—related but so different.
Having seen both the model and the pastel, I think Lea captured
the personality of the sitter both through structure, color, and the focus on the important forms. I feel like I was just bombarded with knowledge from all sides,
but no complaints here! I can't wait for her to join us again!