Jean-Pierre, from the front

Last night in life-drawing studio, our model was Jean-Pierre. I’ve drawn him before. He is undoubtably one of the best models in Montreal but I’ve never been able to capture his face. If you read my post from 2012, you’ll see why.

This is my fourth week of Thursday evening long pose life drawing. Each week I’ve tried to capture the model with watercolour, but haven’t posted anything I’ve done. I think it’s because over the three hours, my watercolours have lost their freshness. Each one is overworked. Maybe three hours is too long for the way I paint.

This week I changed my working method. I did several quicker drawings over the same time period, using different media (pencil, conte, pastel). Jean-Pierre’s face is very long and angular so when you are drawing it, it almost feels like you are sculpting it with your drawing tools. This is the one that I think captures his likeness the best.


15 Comments on “Jean-Pierre, from the front”

  1. -N- says:

    Personally, I find faces so difficult – realism? impression? a few lines? With watercolor, I think it would be really hard to do a good job over 3 hours – a shorter time, to me, makes sense. As well, color, if you are trying to be realistic, is a challenge. This drawing captures character, I think, or certainly makes me want to look at it more than once.


  2. Judy Sopher says:

    Very nice! 3 hours would end up overworked for me. Especially in watercolor. I don’t think I could even sit or stand still that long. Ha. But this portrait came out so well. (Of course)


  3. Such nice work. I am enjoying nu pastels for this. Kind of new to it-10 weeks. But excited about the possibilities. ( everything I say here is subject to change in a moment.) So love your work. My wife and I say around my phone and ooo and awwwd on so many amazing work’s.
    Her father painted from his cat daily and introduced me to the idea. Finest of luck to you.


    • Many thanks for writing Jim, and so sorry for the delay in responding. It’s been a really busy week at school. Are you enjoying the Nupastels? I’ve never tried them, but the colours sure look beautiful. I love hearing about your father because I am always interested in people who paint the same thing every day. I could probably draw my dog every day but I guess I would run out of things to write about if I did that.


  4. Marion McGill Hodge says:

    I can’t imagine doing an extended pose with water colour. It seems to
    me that water colour is best used for the kinds of loose, expressive cityscapes that you do or, in the hands of someone like wildlife artist Colin Loates, appropriate for meticulous realistic representations. Conte is the way to go for extended studies. Happy drawing!


    • Thanks Marion. I agree with that except that there are some artists who do figures in watercolour so well. Of course I love the looseness of Charles Reid, all drips and wet washes but that is very hard to achieve. I will probably keep trying despite my frustration.


  5. Jean says:

    Expresses character as well as facial features!


  6. joantav says:

    Nicely done! I think working for 3 hours on one piece would be too much for me. I find with portraits I do better when I spend less time on them.


  7. Bernadette says:

    I have not done life drawing in a long, long time. The trout of using watercolor for life drawing sounds better in short poses rather than 3 hour studies. Looks like you’ve made the best use of your time in breaking up the poses. The portrait is wonderful. I suppose all painting done expands your ability. No work is ever wasted. Something is always learned.
    I appreciate your comments so much. They help me to be more patient in my own struggles.


    • Bernadette, you are so right when you say no work is ever wasted. Even time spent doing a drawing where the result is less than successful is better than not drawing at all. And each time we pick up a brush we learn something new, don’t we? At least we hope.


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