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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paul Newman and Portrait Help

I post here today to shout out a humble "thanks" to one on a very short list of actors I thought worth admiring. Paul Newman grew up in the Cleveland area (and if you're reading this on a date relatively soon after his death, you should be able to find an excellent obituary/appreciation by my colleague and friend Clint O'Connor, right here at this link.

But this is also a post about portraits: What I've learned (some) and what I still need to know (lots).

I know a number of virtual friends, like France Belleville at Wagonized and Mellanie at Genxsters, really have the portrait thing down. Do click on those links to see beautiful, beautiful work.

But anyone is welcome to chime in here on the question of what tricks they use to capture strong likenesses. Note that I am not really looking for a critique on Mr. Newman here. I can see what works and what I would have liked to have done better, and how it departs from the photo reference.
But if anyone has good advice on how to get there in the first place (without using a projector, of course), I'm all ears. Like all drawing, I know it's a process of seeing with more precision.

Sounds so simple, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm telling you, I'm obsessed

But I thought it might be therapeutic to draw them both.
Now, as some of you know, I'm a journalist with some obligation to distance myself from partisan politics.
So you will probably be thankful not to read political screeds on this site -- which is, after all, about sketching and drawing, sometimes badly, but never pontificating badly about politics.
Having said all that, my suspicion is that probably sketches work as a kind of Rorschach test that reveal what the sketcher may not intend to reveal.
That's all I'm saying about that.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Keys to our Kingdom

I wish I were one of those people who could watch sports or political contests with fervent interest leavened by a certain appropriate detachment.
I cannot.
Which is why the current political campaign is actually, literally making me kind of sick.

On another matter, I thought I did a bang-up job on my self-portrait here, but my children say I made the hair too "thick." What they meant was that I made it look Breck-girl luxurious when in fact it's straight and fine. My defense was that when I was looking in the mirror, I had my head tilted in such a way that it was kind of poofing out there on the right. They simply reiterated that it's too thick in the picture.

The point of course is that at least I still HAVE hair. I haven't pulled it all out in a fit of political anxiety yet. But it could happen.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Boyfriend

Uh, no. Not mine. My teenage daughter's.
He saw one of my illustrated interviews and wanted to do one. Unfortunately, I didn't get nearly the amount of good interview material on here as I would have prefered. But the likeness is dead on.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008


My husband's last name is Wolff (two F's - don't forget that second F).
His first initial is C.
When he was considering the name for his new business, I suggested (as if the idea were mine, and not suggested years ago by a friend), that he call it Sea Wolf Communications.

Turns out there's another person using Sea Wolf as a business name. So the lawyer setting up the LLP suggested using Seawolff.

And then there was the matter of the business cards, and the image.
Whatcha think?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


In an effort to stay in practice, I've given myself permission to do more forgettable work, even if it's a 10-minute sketch. Here are a couple I haven't posted yet.
Sketch everyday? EVERY DAY? Sure, people do it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


The best reason to draw all the time is that the more you do it, the less stuff you produce that looks like hell.
I've been reading these little books about sketching (Something like, "Watercolor in 30 Minutes" and "Sketching in 30 Minutes"), because you know that I never get tired of reading books about how to do art. Anyway, the sketching one, which actually addresses sketching in pencil and sketching in watercolor, inspired me to go pen-less for that building picture. I figured I"d be able to carry of this elegant, simple, loose stuff like the guy in the book.

Whoo-wee, baby.
The challenge now is to get over my stunning results and be willing to have another go at it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Once in a blue bloom

My friend Evelyn recently attended a party celebrating the once-yearly flowering of a friend's night-blooming cereus plant. She wrote a little essay about it for the Plain Dealer (see tomorrow's Inside&Out section, if you're a Clevelander, or check out and I did a little painting.

I love the idea of these plants. So mysterious, almost mythical. Ev says the scent is tremendous.