Art: Charcoal Paintings

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  1. #1
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    Charcoal Paintings

    Hey, this section seems to be where the party's at.

    I'm starting a new thread to post the long studies I'm exploring with the medium of charcoal. Using vine sticks, pencils and brushes to create some serious portrait pieces with the help of some of the best artists in So Cali, currently: Rick Morris, Kevin Chen & Glen Orbik.

    This is a 1st attempt at a finished tonal figure work of JJ, a great character to portray in any medium. Only had 4 hours, so didn't finish the lower body. I've done practice studies to get the feel & working properties of textured paper, vine sticks, and SHARPly pointed pencils, prior to this. And I'm really really learning to see everything in terms of value and realizing it's okay to use whatever it takes to make the charcoal "paint" do what I need t to do.

    I absolutely love this medium.

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    Last edited by AztcFireFlower; March 8th, 2010 at 07:02 AM.
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  4. #2
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    Wow, beautiful work. JJ is such a great model. What classes are you taking with Orbik?

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    Thanks F!end,

    JJ is unique and fun person to portray. Drawings always have more energy, just with the head gear, alone!

    I'm in Glen's Head & Figure classes up at CAI, Westlake Village.
    I know he teaches @ 3Kicks, also.

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    My new focus, without discarding the old ones, is to create complete atmosphere and light glow within the drawings using tone. All the while refining and refining the character/spirit of the model, not just an accurate transposition of the model onto paper. One of my greater influences in finished figure work is the Russian sensibilities, by way of the Chinese Masters of drawing.

    I have several contemporary sources of inspiration. I really love the drawings of David Kassan. He has some videos on YouTube demo-ing his drawing approach, which I am exploring ATM. I, absolutely, am loving using charcoal as paint. My current hands on tonal instruction comes from Rick Morris, a super talented young artist, also with a video you can look up on YT.
    This, along with my endeavor to acquire a confident design capability under yet another mentor, Glen Orbik, is what the end goal of my studies are for. THEN, begins the endless fantastic journey of defining how my figures evolve with all the experience and influences I manipulate into or out of them. And time for some serious work in capturing the spirit of the sitters for complete portraits.
    These first explorations are rough, but I am happy with how far my understanding has widened. This is the 2nd incomplete study. Time is simply not enough. Next week, will have 2 weeks on one study. Am curious to see how close I can bring it to all I've posed above given the longer time........

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    E - good stuff! I like what you are doing and like the notion for sure! I will look up the other guy but David Kassan is great. He is teaching a one month workshop in Belgium this summer if you've got the $$! ;-)

    Cheers, Kevin

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    i love the way u add features to specific region and leave flat others

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    Looking good! Can't wait to see morre~

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    I subscribed to your other thread. And I have a feeling I'll be subscribing to this one as well.

    Great work!

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    Hey Kevin, Thanks! Using charcoal with a brush and "rags" is such a neat experience. I aim to find my own voice incorporating this technique. Rick mentioned you left a comment on his blog. :] Glad you did. He really is a great talent. Belgium, aaaah.......maybe when I win the lotto. Meantime I'll study his YouTube vid.
    vikram_ranu Thank you. The flats happen whenI don't have the time to give it more attention, but, the idea Is, if that happens, to leave the less important as impressions, but still readable as to what they are.
    Chaser I definitely plan a steady progression of studies along these lines. Thanks for stopping in.
    mattlinz Hey, I appreciate that. Thank you for looking through my work in both threads. I'll post only the tonal studies here. But they'll also be in the Stuff thread along with recent quick sketches. :]

    I spent a niiiiice amount of time on this model's face. Those in the South Cali area should recognize who he is. I really wanted to capture not only his features, but a sense of his thought at the moment of the drawing.
    I think I overstated the serious look, but, I'll nail the expression as I git along more experience.

    Thanks for looking.

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    Last edited by AztcFireFlower; June 20th, 2010 at 05:25 AM.
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  13. #10
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    Wow, such an innovative way to use charcoals! Charcoal has been such a hard medium for me to use -- possibly I just haven't found the right paper texture or charcoal for me.

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    Just wondering, what paper is that in post #4? Did you just completely tone the paper and pull lights with an eraser?

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    Great stuff Aztec - yeah, the party seems to be wherever you guys are! Thanks for sharing...

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    I totally recognize the guys in your first and last drawing! Beautiful stuff, your sense of value is very pleasing to the eye.

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    Oblivia Enna When I finally got over my fear of smearing it was amazing. I've seen some beautiful works on paper with charcoal used as paint, esp. the amazing examples from the Chinese & Russian Masters. Its' simply jumping in and experimenting. Some texture's rougher than others, but each paper will have it's characteristics.
    Gamerhomie Thank you. I used Biggie Sketch paper in a pad by Canson. It has a very fine tooth, so you can smear and pick up relativley easily (which is what I did), but, it doesn't hold charcoal well, which means you can't go really black.
    JeffX99 Thank you. :]
    LaurenJadeTaylor Hi Lauren. Yeap, charcoal is basically burnt carbon. I love the stuff. Thank you for the information, but, you did hijack my thread. I created it to post my own progress images. I suggest starting your own thread where you can, freely, post images as you did in mine.
    TheArtista Hey, JJ & Jee! Great character to portrait off of, as most of the L.A. models are. Thank you. I am learning and it's great to hear that I'm hitting some of my visual goals.

    A study I didn't finish, so contrast in value not as soft a transition as I'd a liked. Also, the the odd paper texture produced an unintentional Andy Warholish portrait. Was an old pad lying around. NOw I know why it was lying around...

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    soros, Thank you

    A new study. I will never use this paper for drawing again. Too pebbly.
    However, I learned a little more about pushing forms back and bringing forms forward with subtle value gradations.

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    Last edited by AztcFireFlower; June 16th, 2010 at 10:22 PM.
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  21. #17
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    your works are amazing always look forward to your updates you have such good controll over charcoal its so tight and clean . do you do a quick sketch with pencil first then switch to charcoal or go straight into it with charcoal

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    Hey Prsn, it depends. This one I toned the entire paper with a charcoal "wash" a slightly darker than neutral. Than I drew in the figure. With an eraser I start to sculpt in the lit forms. Paper is important in how you approach with charcoal. Sometimes I'm adjusting on the fly. I didn't like this paper, too pebbly. Rough surface requires a sharp pencil and wash of charcoal gets textury. I spent a lot of time evening out tone, not my idea of a high art moment. But, it depends what final look you want. Me, I also don't like smooth as glass....boring, so there is that balance to get what YOU want.

    Last edited by AztcFireFlower; June 20th, 2010 at 04:00 PM.
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  23. #19
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    just....just.... awesome man.....pls come on me n comment on...pls most welcome....>>>>

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    Quote Originally Posted by AztcFireFlower View Post
    I spent a niiiiice amount of time on this model's face. Those in the South Cali area should recognize who he is. I really wanted to capture not only his features, but a sense of his thought at the moment of the drawing. I think I overstated the serious look, but, I'll nail the expression as I git along more experience.
    So awesome. Was he able to hold the same expression the whole time? That's a great model. Or did you design his expression? I can see the ones I draw thinking, smiling to themselves, etc.

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    I LOVE IT, good work touch and feeling

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