Thursday, April 25, 2013

Five things to ensure a great portrait demo.

My class demo yesterday at The California Art Institute.
12x16, oil
Join me Wednesday mornings
Purchase this sketch at my online store.

Demo block-in using transparent wash for gold light
Building up...


I am often asked to do portrait demos for various art groups and I find this a real privilege. So what are the five things I have learned from doing them - as in the big five to getting things right in front of a crowd, painting usually in a very short amount of time? By the way, this was the earliest demo I have ever done, arriving at 7.30 am for an early morning start!

*Be as awake as you can. I like to give myself a couple of hours to wake up  if I can before I paint in public, but not too much coffee. Hand shakes not good - only on arrival or departure. Get a good night's rest. Set the alarm early. 

*Good light set up. Travel with a light, extension cord, spare bulb. Extra props. Hats, scarves, to spice up the pose. 

*Hand-outs, free stuff. Mailing list sign-up. People love swag. I know I do. It also gives people a chance to see your more finished work. BE GENEROUS with free stuff and YOUR KNOWLEDGE.

* Sketch the day before to sharpen your drawing. However, not the night before. Give the brain some time to rest.

* Keep things simple. Keep the pose simple, keep the value shapes simple, keep your palette simple. Don't try to impress painting the sitter upside-down. Being 'clever' never works.  Just paint what you know...that is the best teacher of all. 

A privilege to be invited to do a portrait demo for gifted high school students this week. I love help shape young art minds.

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