Wednesday, November 26, 2008

henry hughes & christine castro hughes


my brother, henry (portrayed above), is pretty frugal with his compliments. if he doesn't like something he'll tell you. so, it meant a lot to christine (portrayed below) when he marveled over all of the drawings she did at our sister's matrimonial portrait party. (we all liked her pose too!)


anna lee & jackie poutasse


anna (portrayed above) and jackie (portrayed below) swapped portraits this weekend.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cindy Woods rocks on!


cindy woods passed away yesterday. i never met her in person. so, i can't say that i knew her well. we corresponded frequently though. we both like science fiction. we have at least a dozen favorite artists in common. and drawing... well, simply put, cindy won my friendship quickly.

what i love about cindy's artwork is (1) its honesty and (2) its compassion. you can see lots of it on this website and even more on flickr and cindy's blog, learning daily. it is obvious in her drawings and her words that cindy's heart was enormous. the world's a better place for having held her and little sadder to have let her go.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

wally torta & cindy woods


wally (portrayed above) wrote me last night to share this swap and to let me know that his portrait partner, the amazing cindy woods (portrayed below), is now in hospice care. cindy has big talent and a huge heart. she deserves all the love you can send her. if you want to read about her life and see her gorgeous drawings, i hope you'll visit her website: learning daily.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

rama hughes & aileen level


i invited all the teachers at my school to a portrait party in the art room this week. i brought a lot of snacks and stayed pretty late to host it. aileen, the social studies teacher, is the only person who showed up though. darn. but, yay aileen. we drew anyway and had a good time eating chocolate and sharing teaching and travel stories. the following morning, almost everyone said they would come next time if i did it again. we'll see.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

lali shaw & rama hughes


my sister (portrayed above) asked me to host a portrait party as part of her wedding celebration. she didn't want me to post her drawings but the drawing she did of me (below) is maybe my favorite portrait of all time. so, she gave me permission.


Monday, November 10, 2008

james kochalka & jason cooley


to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his sketchbook diaries, james kochalka (portrayed above), invited friends and colleagues to draw his portrait. as kochalka's pal and bandmate, jason (portrayed below as a little white dog), is also a recurring character in the comic strip diary.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

How to Host a Class Portrait Party

Art Problem: Students will draw portraits of each other.
Grades: Appropriate for all ages
Time: Adjustable

A stop watch or a clock with a second hand
Drawing Materials, a wide variety if possible
A firm drawing surface (clipboards, hardcover books, etc.)

Step 1: Introduce the Lesson
Explain what a portrait party is: Students will take turns drawing each other. Portrait parties are a fun way to introduce students to a wide variety of artists and art skills. If you intend to use the party to teach a lesson, now is the time. David Hockney and Lucian Freud had a portrait party. So did Pissarro and Gauguin. What are the proportions of the head and face? Gesture drawing? Blind contour? Sighting techniques? You teach it, they'll listen in anticipation of the party.

Step 2: Organize the Students
Students can pair off for a portrait party lesson but, in my experience, small groups work better. Teams of three students are better for short classes. Four or five for longer classes. A third student minimizes group conflict, motivates the model to stay still, and challenges the second artist to try harder. One student will model while the rest of the team draws. Students will take turns modeling.

Step 3: Warm Up
Start the party with a quick round of portraits. 30 second, one minute, or two minute portraits all work well. So, adjust this round to your class time. The quick round insures that every student gets a chance to draw and to model. It also gets the students' creativity going and shows everyone how easy and how hard it is to draw and to model. By comparison, the next round - A five minute pose - seems like all the time in the world. If you are teaching a specific art skill, now is a good time to quietly assess the students before individual teaching begins. Give the students a few seconds to share their portraits between rounds.

Step 4: The Party Begins!
Continue the party with a series of 5 - 10 minutes poses depending on the students' ages and maturity level. Remind the students of the skills they should be practicing while drawing. Start the timer. Tour the room and offer individual instruction while the students work. A group portrait party is ideal for this kind of instruction because none of the portraits become too precious ~ Students can blame bad drawings on the time limit ~ and the students will do several portraits in a short period so you have that many opportunities to gauge their progress and adjust your instructions.

Step 5: Assessment
By the end of the portrait party, each student will have created a small series of portraits. Assessment always varies but the series itself offers students and teachers a wonderful evaluation. Did the portraits improve throughout the series? Students enjoy a huge ego boost when you can put the portraits in order and prove their success to them.

Have fun!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

rama hughes & christine castro


when i was feeling shy before a show, christine made this button (on the left) for me so i wouldn't have to introduce myself. this weekend at the alternative press expo, i returned the favor.