A purely joyful expression

Pure, adjective:
        not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material
Joy, noun:

a feeling of great pleasure and happiness

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Pure Joy…That’s how I would describe this man’s expression.  It is what drew me to him as a sketch subject.  Just looking at his expression puts a smile on my face.

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The reference photo for this sketch was found online.  I apologize but, I do not know who the photographer was who captured this wonderful moment.

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This is the first sketch that I have completed recently and it felt really good to lay down some graphite again.  I have relocated my studio to our basement until the house sells.  There’s not much natural light but I have at least three times the space!  Plenty of room to spread out.

I am thinking of branching out and trying some new subject matter.  I am also thinking of seriously increasing the scale of my work.  We’ll have to wait and see where the muse points me next.

Thanks for visiting, I hope you guys have a great day!

 

Snarling Wolf

Hello everyone,  Work around the house has slowed a bit, so I now have a little more free time.

I wanted to share this drawing with you that I created back in August.  This is a graphite drawing of a snarling wolf.  My intention was to leave a significant amount of negative space around the subject and only concentrate on the main features necessary to bring out the wolf’s face.

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This drawing is significantly larger than most of my sketches.  Typically I create sketches in either a small 5.5″ x 8″ sketchbook or occasionally I may draw in an 8.5″ x 11″ sketchbook.  This drawing was created on an 18″ x 24″ (45.7 x 61 cm) piece of newsprint.  I realize newsprint is typically reserved for practice but, I wanted to try something a little larger and it was the largest paper I had available at the time.

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Newsprint isn’t really that difficult to work with you just have to be careful.  It is more delicate than other papers so you need to go lightly with the eraser.  The paper also has a tendency to get a little wavy in areas of heavy graphite.

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Below is a photo of the completed sketch.  This was completed using a range of graphite pencils.  There are also a few strategically placed lines of white gelly pen for highlights.

Wolf Sketch

Thanks for viewing my work.  I hope everyone has a great week – Mike

 

Gorilla Portrait

Another primate portrait.  I really enjoy drawing primates, it seems there is so much thought and emotion behind their eyes.  I also find the wrinkles and patterns of their faces interesting to draw.

This portrait was finished just a few days ago.  It was created in my sketchbook using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.  The black background was created using charcoal powder applied with a brush.

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The look of determination

Another older gentleman with an expression that I could pass up.

I do enjoy sketching the older faces.  There’s just so much life written into their skin.  This man’s expression seems to convey concentration and pure determination.

Based, on his expression I don’t believe I would want to get in his way.

 

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5.5″ x 8″, 0.9mm mechanical pencil, 2B lead

 

Thanks for visiting, I hope everyone has a great day. – Mike

Come again?

Greetings,  today I am sharing another portrait from my sketchbook.  This was created in July of this year.  I came across a photo of an older gentleman cupping his hand to his ear in an apparent effort to increase his ability to hear.  I found the act and his facial expression to be so characteristic of an elderly gentleman.  I can imagine that this is a scene that plays out over and over in his daily life.

I fully expect to one day be in the same situation, as a matter of fact, I am already guilty of this exact maneuver.  Too much loud music in my youth… I imagine.

Progress shot with the outlined sketch and beginning stages of flushing out the face and form.  This sketch was created using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.

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and now the completed sketch.

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Recently, a spider constructed a magnificent site,
just outside of my studio window.

It undulates in the cool breeze,
it shimmers in the morning light.

It brings a smile to my face,
and a feeling of delight. – MDL

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I hope everyone has a wonderful week!  Cheers

Silent Peaceful Solitude

Good morning all.

I am the only one stirring so far this morning.  I enjoy the peaceful reassuring silence of the house on these early weekend mornings.

I do, however, share the silence with our loyal 4 legged girl, Katie.  She is old, quiet, and all so content, to simply be.  Laying on the floor of my study blissfully sleeping away the hours.

This morning I thought I would share a sketch I created back in July.  This was created using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.  I enjoy the simplicity of using a single pencil, never having to break concentration or rhythm to pick up a different pencil to vary the tones.

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I would like to thank all of you for following along with me on this blog.  I know that my posting frequency has been sporadic and there really hasn’t been any set schedule for regular post.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking of ways to improve the value of this blog for my followers.  I would like to begin introducing content that goes beyond the sharing of my art.  I am still trying to sort things out, so please be patient.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Cheers – Mike

Portrait on Toned Paper

I created this sketch portrait back in April, but, I never posted it here.  So…I thought, why not share it here as well!

It’s Friday night in my little corner of the world.  I’m looking forward to a great weekend.  I hope everyone else is as well.

Cheers, Mike

 

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Happy Monday

Hello everyone,  It’s a new week, full of opportunity.

Below is a sketch that I created back in June.  This was created using a reference photo, unfortunately, I do not know the name of the photographer in order to give proper credit.

This man’s face spoke of joy, experience, and even though he obviously has lived a long life, his face and expression still has a sense of child-like innocence.

I truly enjoy drawing portraits of the more “experienced” people of the world.  Their faces possess endless amounts of character and wear, each wrinkle earned.

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I hope each of you have a wonderful week.  There will be more posts on the way soon.

– Mike

Back at it

Hello all,  I’m have returned from my self-imposed leave.  After the passing of my father I just needed to take some time to regroup and recenter.  I’m truly grateful for your patience as I transitioned through this season in my life.

I’m currently sitting in my home office/studio space.  The house is quiet as my beautiful bride and son are still in bed.  I cherish my morning solitude as it gives me the opportunity to collect my thoughts and provides time for much-needed retrospection.  I believe that everyone can benefit from such time spent alone without distraction.

I have made a few minor tweaks to this blog, an updated about page, & a new minimal theme with full-width image display.  I have made the decision to remove the photographer focus from this blog and focus solely on my art.  Art is something that I truly enjoy,  it removes me from my environment for a while as I focus solely on the work in front of me.  It brings me inner peace and is an activity that can be practiced virtually anywhere I go.

Even though I have been absent from this blog for a few weeks I have been posting somewhat regularly on Instagram.  I have decided that IG is where I will post my day to day activities and works in progress.

I will leave you with a portrait that was created during my break from the blog.  For this particular sketch, I was able to reach out to the photographer of the reference photo I was working from and was able to obtain permission to use his image as a reference.  The photographer is Thorbjorn Fessel, a talented photographer to say the least.

This sketch was created with a 2b mechanical pencil and a 6b pencil for the darker areas.  The sketch lives in my current ‘go-to’ sketchbook.

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An Honored Request

Recently, one of the readers of this blog requested a portrait from me.  The subject was his late father who past away earlier this year.

The individual who made the request is a fellow blogger.  We originally started following one another due to our common interest in woodworking.  We quickly became good acquaintances via WordPress and now, even though we have never met in person, I consider Ron one of my friends.

So when he asked if I would consider creating a portrait of his father I was extremely honored that he thought enough of my art to make this request of me.  I gladly accepted the challenge.

With Ron’s permission, I am sharing his father’s portrait in this post.

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Now, I’ll admit I was a touch nervous about drawing this portrait.  I have never created a portrait by request before.  The fact that it was Ron’s father made it all the more important that I did my best.  So, I began making marks, hesitantly at first, but, I gained confidence as I continued to develop the drawing.   I had to remind myself a few times to just relax and draw as I normally would.  Eventually the apprehension fell away and I found my groove.

Ron is a knowledgeable and skilled craftsman who creates his wooden wares with nothing more than human-powered tools in his “unplugged” workshop.  His creations are adorned with intricately carved patterns.  Please visit his blog at  An Unplugged Woodworker to see his skill and craftsmanship for yourself.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you have a great day! – Mike

 

Back to Basics…

Just keeping it simple

Just a fairly quick portrait I did a few nights ago.  For this one I went back to one of my smaller sketchbooks, this sketch is on 5.5″ x 8″ dotted paper.   The medium is graphite with just a touch of white gel pen to bring out the highlights on the glasses.

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Thanks for viewing, I hope everyone has a creative day!

Got that loose style? Not yet, but I’m working on it

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feeling like an old dog trying to learn a new trick

I admit it, I’m envious of artists that are able to create expressive works of art.  The type of art that convinces the viewer that the lines, shapes, & colors just bled straight out of the artist soul and onto the canvas.

Now, I realize, from the artist point of view, that just doesn’t happen.  It takes a lot of time and work to develop the required skills.  I am trying to get there.  Half the battle for me is just letting go and allowing myself to relax and go with the flow.

Perhaps it’s just me, but, I think some of my work comes across a little rigid.  I really work at trying to produce the most realistic drawings that my current skill set will allow.  Sometimes that hyper-focused, narrow-minded, mindset can take over and crush any creative expression that may be lying just below the surface, waiting to spring forth.

So, for the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to loosen up, and to be honest, it’s freakishly difficult.  I will work towards rendering a realistic drawing.  I will get certain areas rendered to a level that is acceptable to me.  Then I think “Ok, that’s great, now what?”  Then comes the hard part.  Trying to figure out how to blend or fade the realistic portions into a loose, seemingly unplanned, somewhat chaotic background.  That’s when I become really unsure of myself and how to proceed.

But, I am working on it.  I seem to feel a little freer each time I attempt this. I think if I continue in this direction I will eventually discover a more confident and expressive artist.  Which, of course, is the goal.

Thanks for putting up with my rambling words.  Now, I will get on with showing you my latest portrait.


This is Vera, from Sktchy

I have been moving back towards toned paper lately, so, I was searching for a reference image with a lot of strong contrast. I like using toned paper so I can bring out the highlights, as well as, the shadows.

This image on Sktchy checked all the boxes. The image had a strong amount of contrast and harsh lighting.

I focused most of my effort on her face and hand and then let the drawing become more sketch-like as I worked my way out.

I used a charcoal pencil and brush applied charcoal powder for the background. I think there may be too much contrast between charcoal and graphite. In the future, I may try to stay with graphite for the background.

I have also been considering other mediums altogether but, really haven’t zeroed in on anything yet.

As always, a sincere thank you for viewing my work, I hope you have a great day. – Mike

Trying to loosen up

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Experimentation…

This is William, I found him on Sktchy.

With this sketch, I simply wanted to loosen up a bit, not be so rigid, and try to let myself go and have a little fun with the sketch.  I’m not sure that I achieved the look I wanted, but, any attempt is better than no attempt at all.

I really want to get to the point where I am able to convey movement and energy within a sketch.  I am trying to work towards a more interpretive result rather than a strict attempt to copy only what the eye physically sees.  I want to be able to produce art that  conveys artistic expression as well.

So, please bear with me…I may experience some growing pains along the way, but, it should be fun!

This sketch was created on 9″x12″ Strathmore Toned Tan paper using 2H, HB, 6B, white colored pencil, Tombow Mono Zero Eraser.

William Sketch

Thanks for viewing my work, I hope you have a great day! – Mike

Laughter or Anquish?

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It’s supposed to be laughter…

I feel that I missed fully coveying this gentleman’s laughter.  Somehow I have rendered him somewhere between laughter and anguish.  The reference photo clearly conveys laughter, so, I do apologize for failing to convey this gentleman’s full emotion.

None the less, this was a fun sketch.  The photo reference I used is by photographer Mary Isabelle.  More of her fantastic work can be found on her 500px profile page.

Old Man Sketch

Thanks for visiting, have a wonderful day – Mike

Why So Serious?

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I’m Just Joking Around

So, I have seen a lot of really impressive art based on Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker character from Batman in the 2008 movie The Dark Knight.  Mr. Legder’s portrayal of the Joker is considered one of the best performances of his unfortunately short career.

I decided to give the character a go myself.  I used a still image taken from the movie as a reference.

I created this sketch in my Strathmore Toned Tan Sketchbook (5.5″ x 8.5″), using 2H, HB, 6H, Charcoal Powder, Tombow Mono Zero Eraser, & a white colored pencil.

Something I’ve been trying lately for large areas of shading is charcoal powder.  I create the powder by rubbing a soft piece of vine charcoal on sandpaper.  This produces a fine powder, I then use a cosmetic brush to spread the powder onto the paper and gradually rub the powder into the paper.  This produces a consistent tone with soft edges.   This method may be fairly common, but, it’s new to me.

Joker Sketch

Thanks for visiting – Mike