Monday, 14 September 2009

Charles Reid Workshop - Day 1

We gathered on Sunday evening at Urchfont Manor for the start of our week being tutored by Charles Reid. A course like this takes some organising and the plans had been put in place two years previously. Jane Duke, an artist based in York had set up the event and bookings opened in August 2008, so those of us who managed to gain a place had a long wait till the event itself. Much credit must be given to Jane for her excellent administration and the way she facilitated proceedings. It's worth visiting her site at as she runs workshops of her own.

Urchfont Manor

Excitement was the order of the day as we assembled on Monday morning for the first session of the workshop. The day was to be devoted to making portraits from the live model.
The routine for workshop days would consist of Charles producing a picture whilst outlining for us the stages in his process and the reasons for doing things in the way that he did. Throughout the week the pattern would be similar, mornings taken up by Charles' demonstrations and exposition then the rest of the day we students would tackle the day's asssignment whilst Charles circulated giving us individual guidance as we worked. The whole organisation maximised the teaching time in class and individual time. It is a tribute to Charles and his wife Judy for the smooth way that these events run.

Charles and model Graham Barclay in position

The demonstration began with an explanation by Charles as to the way he goes about his preparatory drawing, emphasising the relationships between various elements of the face and the posture, then the contour drawing method constantly relating shapes in and out of the silhouette.
Graham - Charles Reid, preparatory drawing

The next stage was to establish the important areas in the centre of the face placing darks and ensuring that the places where light and shadow meet are well represented.

Graham - Charles Reid, first stage of paint application

The next stage was developing the middle tones across the face.

Graham - Charles Reid, second stage of paint application

The last stage was the final development of the other features and the odd tweaks that pull the image together.

Graham Barclay - Charles Reid

Questioning during the painting prompted an extra demonstration on the rendering of eyes, the details of which will be familiar to readers of Charles' many books but nevertheless a treat to watch the flow of his paint and the impact of his final rendition. The first morning had been a first rate session and it left us all enthused for our own model sessions after a decent lunch.

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