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Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Beach Vendor and New Yorkers On Holiday

The Beach Vendor, graphite, 6 x 8


The Beach Vendor took four morning sessions. I could have gone longer, but I got to the point where the viewer would get the point. 

Portraits that tell a story about the person are so much more interesting to do and to view. They get our heads asking questions and supposing.  They've got life. Here it's his strained expression, his hands and the obvious bulk of la manta, the blanket.

Developing the focal point, the strained expression on his face.
The Beach Vendor, Graphite, 6 x 8, IN PROGRESS,  establishing the focal point. (This was mistakenly photographed with the camera set on the color setting instead of black and white, which accounts for the greenish cast).
The Beach Vendor, photographic reference cropped
and enhanced from the original.
This man got my attention. He's a hawker who walks the Cancun beach, sun up to sundown,selling blankets. Sitting, comfortably in the shade of the cabana in a bathing suit wet after a dip, his fortitude, his ambition  both shames and awes. You want to relieve him of his burden, make his day, send him home happy,  but no way would his beautiful manta fit in the suitcase.
He was moving at a fast pace. He had a lot of beach to cover. The strain of the weight of his burden and the heat of the day showed on his face.  I managed to catch him before he moved out of the camera frame.  This drawing was worth time. The stark contrasts, pictorial and social, fascinate. 
Composition development to keep the viewer's eye on the focal point. The lines of the blanket would do nicely.
The serape is a linear pattern comprised of  the darkest darks and lightest lights emphasized by the strong sunlight coming at him from a four o'clock position.  It has intriguing folds that interrupt the pattern.  It has a bulky weight that explains the grip of his hands and the expression on his face. Working just enough of those dark values and directional line is key to the composition.  This drawing was worth spending  time on. It had my heart and all the .elements necessary for a strong piece of work.


NEW STUDY  IN PROGRESS. My contour skills seem to have improved.

Examining the darkest values.

 New Yorkers On Holiday, graphite, 6 x 8"

Contour was the way to begin this drawing, but clean lines and coloring in between the lines doesn't do it for me. I have to let my instinct take over and mess it up a bit.  This is when I'm begin painting with my pencil. When I begin painting, the drawing in done, sign it and move on. 

I chose  to explore this reference for its many interrelated, overlapping forms and the strong contrasts that yielded an interesting graphic pattern, the stuff of good compositional design that gets this designer every time.

I figured these guys all huddled together must have been New Yorkers used to living in close quarters. There are body parts of four people in this crowd!  You'd think on holiday they'd spread out a bit instead of sitting on top of one another; it was a very big beach.  

Eliminate the mid-tone sea and squint way down to note the darkest values
doing their dance.


LWR pink after Hogarth on canvas and gesso panels.
Gesso panels are slick; brush strokes show clearly.
Never used them before--maybe won't use them again?
They arrived!  In keeping with the 6 x 8 size format of my drawings, I ordered 6 x 8 canvas boards in February. They were delivered yesterday. My thinking had been to transfer over to paint; it still is after my upcoming head hunting expedition. All these small format drawings made working small more comfortable. I just have to figure out the right size small brushes--and a different ground wash, (I'm not all that pleased with burnt umbra; it's fast drying, but dark. I was hoping to have a little painted effort for you, but I decided to go with a flesh toned ground wash, ala Hogarth, with oils--next time acrylic.  Though I used a fast dry white and OMS, the panels aren't quite dry. They will be when I return.



  1. Great post, LW! Now you have me wanting to buy one of his! Wonderful drawing and it is nice to know the story behind it. Same with the people on the's true, it seems more like they are on a crowded beach than on a spacious one. Now, let me get this are going to paint on the panels, right? From your drawings...right? sounds like a cool project.

    1. The drawings are a way to familiarize yourself with strategic points that relate to one another, lightness and darkness relationships, an aid to painting. Being just 6 by 8, as small as I ever wish to go, they are like thumbnails. Now, can I paint from them? Several of the drawings are pinky--the gal sleeping comes to mind. I'll try her first. What I'm actually after is being able to paint small; I find that inhibiting. I'd like to break through that.

  2. wow! You have been busy. Love the drawings, very well done as usual, but you make them so interesting with your stories. I understand the drawing small, with the limit of time you gave yourself, but painting 6" x 8"! Courageous though so good luck. I do admire how you challenge yourself, I could learn from you without doubt.

    1. We'll see won't we. Could be a flop. Maybe not? I'm taking a photo of an article in the New York Times with a great picture of a full size wood sculpture--like the ones you're doing. Thought you might be interested. The article has nothing to do with the sculpture, but it's there in the photo and caught my interest given your present project.

  3. Hi Linda. I congratulate you because you paint portraits with very good technique and very well done!.
    Greetings, Sonia.

    1. Thank you Sonia. Portraiture has been my concentration these last three years. Lots of failures and now, finally some successes.

  4. Love the beach vendor, Linda - he has so much character. And I am REALLY looking forward to seeing some of your portraits rendered in paint!!!

    1. I can hardly wait to get started to see if I can translate my graphite work to paint and go from mid size to small. I imagine there will be some trash to take out.

  5. Lovely sketches and great compositions!
    Ps the rose were cut roses that I bought from the florist.