"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Monday, November 14, 2011

Art Workshop with Alison Harris

As most of my blogging friends know, I have been away from serious painting at my easel for several months and have been feeling very rusty. My problem is that I am having a very hard time feeling connected to the paint. It just doesn't feel comfortable coming off my brush. I have spent long hours doing study after study resulting in miles of wipe offs. So frustrating but I intend to push through this until I remember how to paint again. In an effort to jump start myself, I signed up for a Portrait/Figure Drawing/Painting Workshop with instructor Alison Harris at the NV Museum of Art. I am so grateful to have found this workshop. Its 3 hours on Friday afternoons and I am free to attend as I am now retired from my full time job! That is very good news indeed!

The first class consisted of drawing a medium gray scale cast of a well proportioned male head. The instructions were to draw the planes of the anatomical structure without any regard for light and shadow. The following 2 drawings are 2 of my efforts - each one was about 30 minutes.

The second Friday we had a wonderful (live) male model - Ron. He was very intense and held the poses well. He had remarkable facial anatomy - a long, thin face with prominent cheekbones, thin uppper lip, dark eyebreows with long well trimmed side burns, a pony tail and an earring. A lot going on! Each of these drawings was also about 30 minutes except the final one which was an hour.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos. This workshop is only my second experience with life drawing and I just LOVE it. There is nothing like a live model, intense lighting and a kind but honest instructor. I know I am learning a lot and enjoying every minute. Thank you, Alison! Here is a link to her site - be warned there are drawings of nude models:


  1. Susan, I am so sorry you are going through a "Black Russian" mood with your painting [that's what I call mine] Glad to hear you are drawing, and loving it. I always find drawing a help for everything.

  2. Susan, hope you feel better soon. Good idea drawing and so lovely studies.
    Best regards from Berlin

  3. Glad you have found life drawing and you are enjoying it Susan. Just be aware it’s highly addictive and you will find yourself searching out open sessions where other addicts congregate to indulge this passion :) I’ve even taken to organising groups to get my fix!


  4. Oh Susan, I'm sorry to hear your painting lull is lasting. Doesn't seem fair. Just when you were finally able to do it full-time, you're brush retired! Do you think it's possible that somehow you wigged yourself out? The timing is so odd...

    You sound very happy in this workshop. That's very good. I have one of those "heads". I use it to help when painting portraits if my photo isn't completely readable. I never thought of drawing it. Cool idea!

    Hope your brush begins to cooperate soon. If not, perhaps your pencil will turn out to be your new friend! Best of luck.

  5. You'll get your rhythym soon. You're probably adjusting to being retired. That's great you're doing life drawing. I think your drawings are great. I've been going to a group for years now. It's a great discipline. Enjoy!

  6. Hi, Kathryn - Black Russian does sound like a good description!Its so strange how this slump has come over me at a time I was so eagerly looking forward to progressing with my skills. Instead I find I have lost them and feel like a complete beginner. I am hoping the workshop helps - thanks for your support.
    Hi, Maike -I am enjoying the drawing. I love the challenge of life drawing - its so intense!
    Hi, Dave - I know what you mean - I have been wanting to do this ever since I attended life drawing sessions in Scottsdale about 2 years ago.
    Hi, Susan - sigh - yes, if only the brush would paint what my minds eye is seeing - hopefully, soon.
    Stephanie - your comment makes me happy - like therte is hope. Retirement has been a huge adjustment so perhaps you are right - I hope so! Thanks for your kind words!


Your comments are welcome and brighten my day!