Bob Baker, “Portrait of C.S. Lewis” (2014)

1 Sep

IMG_3685Bob Baker, Portrait of C.S. Lewis (2014)

Note: click on image to enlarge

I’m continuing my chiaroscuro portrait-drawing adventure using William Maughan’s excellent instructional book, Drawing the Head.  Today’s subject is another of my favorites, C.S. Lewis.



Bob Baker, “Portrait of G.K. Chesterton” (2014)

31 Aug

IMG_3684Bob Baker, Portrait of G.K. Chesterton (2014)

Note: click on image to enlarge

Here’s my drawing of this morning depicting one of my great favorites, G.K. Chesterton.  In addition to being a prolific writer, playwright and Christian apologist, Chesterton was an excellent artist.  He’s one of the most quotable writers of all time.  A few examples:

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbours and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.”

An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”

“Moral issues are always terribly complex for someone without principles.”

“Marriage is a duel to the death that no man of honour should decline.”

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)

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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)

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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.


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