Bob Baker, “Portrait Of Kim Basinger” (2014)

25 Aug

IMG_3679Bob Baker, Portrait of Kim Basinger (2014)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my newest chiaroscuro drawing, as I continue to apply the principles laid down by William L. Maughan in his excellent book The Artist’s Complete Guide to Drawing the Head (2004 Watson-Guptill New York).  As I’ve said in prior posts, Maughan’s book provides a complete system for drawing the head in the Renaissance style, right down to the materials.  Each is rendered in pastel pencil using two of the colors in the CarbOthello line — Caput Mortuum Red and Titanium White — on Strathmore’s Velvet Gray charcoal drawing paper.

I’m deviating from Maughan’s system in one respect by using well-lit photos I found on the internet in lieu of my own live models.  But I’ll shortly be transitioning to my own peeps so stay tuned.  I’d credit the photographer who got this excellent shot of Kim Basinger, but I don’t have a name.  It’s not a perfect fit with the Renaissance system since it has light coming in from at least two angles — Maughan says stick to one —  making it more complex to draw.  But it was still very well lit and had a nice dark background which I like.


Bob Baker, “Portrait of Raquel Welch” (2014)

17 Aug

IMG_3628Bob Baker, Portrait of Raquel Welch (2014)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Happy Sunday.  I’m continuing to learn to draw in the chiaroscuro style using William Maughan’s terrific book, Drawing the Head.  This is another practice drawing — this time of Raquel Welch.  I don’t always draw pre-historic cave women but when I do I draw Raquel Welch.  She actually has a very complex face, so this one was challenging.

Bob Baker, “Portrait of Catherine Deneuve” (2014)

16 Aug

IMG_3624Bob Baker, Portrait of Catherine Deneuve (2014)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my second foray into portrait drawing, using the chiaroscuro method as taught by William Maughan in his book Painting the Head.  Again I relied on a photo from the internet and I’d be happy to credit the photographer if only I had a name.  I was looking for a photo that was well lit, and there are a bunch of Catherine Deneuve that fit the bill.  This is Catherine c. 1968.

As I noted last post, Maughan has a very specific method whereby you establish the mid-tone using a gray paper, then use pastel pencils in two different shades — Caput Mortuum Red and Titanium White — to establish shadows and highlights.  It really works.  Eventually I’ll start lighting my own subjects but I’m acclimating myself to the method using online photos.

Bob Baker, “Portrait of Tea Leoni” (2014)

10 Aug

IMG_3623Bob Baker, Portrait of Tea Leoni (2014)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my drawing from this morning — a portrait of Tea Leoni.  I based it on a photograph I found on the internet that happened to be lit just right.  I’d love to credit the photographer but I don’t know the name.  I did find it on TYFINWallpapers.

Anyway — I’m trying to teach myself to paint portraits in the chiaroscuro style — the Renaissance method — using a terrific book authored by William L. Maughan entitled The Artist’s Complete Guide to Drawing the Head (2005 Watson-Guptill, New York).  Maughan provides a very specific methodology, right down to the materials.  You use Strathmore’s “Charcoal” paper in Velvet Gray, and CarbOthello pastel pencils in just two colors — Caput Mortuum Red and Titanium White.  Basically, the gray paper establishes the mid-tone and you use the Caput Mortuum for darks and the Titanium for highlights.  Half tones are created by thinly layering the pastel in on the gray paper.  It’s a very cool system and really works.

I was really just fooling around with it this morning, after finding that well-lit photo of Tea Leoni.  As I progress I plan to light my own subjects using the method given by Maughan.  I deviated from Maughan in another respect — I inadvertently drew on the textured side of the paper, a Maughan “no-no.”   Maughan recommends drawing on the smooth reverse side. I still like the way it turned out.


Bob Baker, “Rainy Chicago Through a Car Window” (2014)

26 Jul

chicago1Bob Baker Rainy Chicago Through a Car Window (2014)

Note: click on image to enlarge

This is a photograph of mine that I cropped and edited to get the effect.  I like the way it turned out, thought I’d share it!

Bob Baker, “South Michigan Avenue, Chicago” (2014)

13 Jul

baker-chicago2Bob Baker, South Michigan Avenue, Chicago (2014)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my latest.  This is the view looking south on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago, between Harrison and Balbo Streets, near the Blackstone Hotel.  I’ve gotten interested in cityscapes again and I’m having lots of fun with my new Charvin paints!

Bob Baker, “Farm House With Compass Plants” (2014)

6 Jul

bob-painting-compass-plants2Bob Baker, Farm House With Compass Plants (2014)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my painting from today.  This is the farm house at Wolf Road Prairie, right near Wolf Road and 31st Street in Westchester, Illinois, near where I live.  I did several plein air  paintings last summer at Wolf Road Prairie and this summer I’m picking up where I left off.  it’s a cool spot.  The house is surrounded by native prairie compass plants. They’re very interesting plants with deep tap roots — up to fourteen feet.  Condensation forms on the leaves in summer because the plants are cooled by the ground water they soak up.  They have very pretty flowers resembling sunflowers.

Bob Baker, “Union Station, Chicago” (2014)

28 Jun

IMG_3612Bob Baker, Union Station, Chicago (2014)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my painting from today.   It depicts the covered waiting area downstairs at Chicago Union Station south tracks.  This is where you catch the Burlington Northerm-Santa Fe commuter trains that serve the Chicago western suburbs.  Lately the trains have been all screwed up.  The reasons offered are various, but you do find yourself waiting around for your train to arrive, which is what this girl was doing.

Field Trip to the Art Institute of Chicago Prints and Drawings Room

23 Jun

bellows-dance-at-the-insane-asylumGeorge Bellows, Dance at the Insane Asylum (c. 1922-23)

pd7George Bellows, Heavy Lies the Head That Wears a Brain (c. 1922-23)

Note: click on any image to enlarge

It’s been a busy week or so on the art front here in Chicago.  On Saturday, June 14, an intrepid group of art fans toured the Art Institute of Chicago with a particular focus on the modern American collection.  We had a great time!  Then, on Thursday June 19, a different group of art fans visited the Art Institute’s  prints and drawings room for a private viewing of prints, drawings and watercolors pre-selected by yours truly.  I’m posting the works we viewed as well as a photo of our group (minus myself – I was the one taking the photo!) in the prints and drawings room.

pd6In the Prints and Drawings Room of the Art Institute of Chicago

As you can see, I placed a fairly heavy emphasis on the Ashcan School and its progeny — John Sloan, William Glackens, George Luks, George Bellows, Edward Hopper and Reginald Marsh.  Because they’re irresistible I also selected some works of Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent.  Everything was spectacular and, as you can see, the access we were given was amazing — in a class by itself.  Many thanks to the wonderful staff of the prints and drawings room of the Art Institute of Chicago.

pd10Reginald Marsh, Knights of the Road (1936)

pd11Reginald Marsh, Railroad Yards With New York Skyline (1932)

rm1Reginald Marsh, Summer in New York (1938)

While I loved it all, I think the group would agree that Bellows’ Dance at the Insane Asylum and Heavy Lies the Head That Wears a Brain made a particular impact.  Edward Hopper’s watercolors were marvelous in their brooding intensity and Mary Cassatt’s aquatints were beautifully delicate and evocative of Japanese prints.  There was an almost effortless looseness in the landscapes of Sargent and Luks.  Sloan and Glackens made the homespun seem exotic, as always, and Monet was out of this world, as one would expect.

We will be doing this again very soon.  Thanks to everyone who attended (you know who you are!) and thanks again to the terrific Art Institute staff.  What a great way to start the summer!

pd3John Sloan, Bachelor Girl (1915)

pd8William Glackens, We All Three Hugged and Kissed Each Other and Cried (not dated)

gl1William Glackens, He Knelt Beside Constance’s Bed (1904)

luks1George Luks, Landscape and Town (not dated)

pd5Edward Hopper, Gloucester Mansions (1923)

pd4Edward Hopper, Interior (1925)

cm1Claude Monet, Cliffs and Sea, Saint-Adresse (1865)

pd1John Singer Sargent, Olive Trees, Corfu (not dated)

pd2John Singer Sargent, An Artist at His Easel (1914)

mc1Mary Cassatt, title unknown

mc2Mary Cassatt, title unknown

Bob Baker, “Tulips” (2014)

31 May

IMG_3589Bob Baker, Tulips (2014)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Happy Saturday!  Here’s my painting from today, some tulips in the neighborhood.  With the nice weather I’ll be doing more plein air painting very soon, so stay tuned.



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