Sunday, October 3, 2010

Portrait workshop with William Kalwick

Yesterday I attended a workshop in portrait painting at the Coppini Institute.   This is my study of the model.  At the end of the day, I was feeling discouraged, but later I looked at it and I can see some positive things.  I drew the sketch with everything in the right place.   And you can tell it's a girl!  I can "see" things I couldn't see before--like the reflected light under her chin and under her ear.   I'm not happy with the eyes, but  I know that I can learn to do better.  So all in all it was a good day.

Bill is a wonderful teacher.  He broke up portrait painting into manageable steps,  "just like painting an apple", he said.   That made me happy!

He did a thirty minute demo for us.  First he did a sketch using burn sienna and viridian green.

Then he laid in the darkest darks in the painting.  This helps you establish a value scale.

He lays in what he calls the "local color",  the main colors of the skin.  He stressed adding shapes, not painting a face.

Then he adds the lights of the skin and connects the values together with darker lights.   This is his painting when he was about half way through.

This was his finished study.  It was amazing that he could do this in thirty minutes!

He broke up our classes into twenty minutes intervals to give the model a break.  We all worked on the same task together.  For example, the first 20 minutes he had us make our sketches.  That was all we were supposed to work on.   He would go around and offer suggestions and corrections to each individual student.   The next session, we worked on laying in the darks, and so on.  That way we all stayed more or less together, and he could discuss what we were supposed to be doing, how to do it, etc.
I really liked his teaching method, and I think the whole class agreed.

His website is


  1. I am loving your new blog! I haven't been as brave as you and Cindy and have yet to post my results from yesterday. It was a great day that was made all the better by being able to share it with you! Keep up the good work!!!

  2. This was a very helpful post! I love your "newness" and your honesty and letting it all be bare.

  3. Virginia, I like the way you describe your workshop, with the pictures, we enjoy learning through your eyes, above all, go on!You are going to improve a lot, even if your yourk it's already good!Your portrait is promising,and you can go on, I suppose, with a picture. Bravo

  4. I think you got a lot of expression too. Nice work.

  5. I think it's funny that your grandson asked why you always paint fruit. You paint a portrait and the teacher says it's like painting an apple.

  6. Gaye, thank you for encouraging me to attend the workshop. I wouldn't have been brave enough to go without your encouragement. Go ahead and post yours! It's just a study, after all.

  7. Lorraine, I'm glad you like the post. I really thought he was an excellent teacher. It's hard to post something I'm not really proud of, but this is about the process, not my finished product.

  8. Sylviane, thank you so much for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures about the workshop.

  9. Caladh, I know! When he said it's like painting apples, I almost started laughing!

  10. love the way you look at all the positives! the painting is beautiful!...keep posting...

  11. very cool portrait demo.
    Keep up the good work Virginia, it's the only way to improve.
    Thanks for visiting me!