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November 20, 2017






Now that the temperature has dropped in Portland, I’m unable to paint in the garage. I could use a portable heater, but the light just isn’t good enough to paint by. When I was a kid I tried to paint indoors and when I took my work outside my colors were terrible, jaundiced and pasty. Besides, I don’t like leaving my RAV out in the snow and ice. I was feeling antsy at not being able to work and decided to try something I’ve never done before—charcoal drawing.




I’ve never focused on drawing. Most of my sketches have been exploratory preparations for paintings. I’ve not done drawings for their own sake. But “natural” light isn’t necessary for black and white drawings so I’ve carved out a space in my basement and set up a table where I can explore this medium in a dry, warm place.


I’ve been studying charcoal drawing on You-Tube. I have a preference for the work of artists who “paint” with charcoal as opposed to those who merely render. I don’t want to be one of those artists who insist on showing every wrinkle; I’d like to work at revealing character.


Because of our recent stay at The Willows Inn in Palm Springs, where Albert Einstein enjoyed sunbathing in the nude, I’ve been thinking about the famous physicist and decided to use a photograph of him as inspiration. This is my first attempt at charcoal drawing. I had fun using an eraser to pull out the white in his hair. There’s a learning curve with everything and, in my case, always room for improvement, but I think I captured a decent likeness.


In spite of Einstein’s fondness for nudity, I decided to portray him with clothes.  






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wow- amazing drawing! You are such a fabulous artist! When I was working on my BFA in Photography I took every studio art class I could as I wanted to understand the processes of using different mediums. In my second year drawing class ( taught by another Stephen Hayes ) I fell in love with powdered charcoal- messy but so much fun armed with the charcoal, a kneadable eraser, and a stick of charcoal. Have fun in your winter studio!
By: Kathe W. on November 20, 2017
I'm not art critic, but I think it's good. A lot better than I could do.
By: PT Dilloway on November 20, 2017
You have captured him, thereâs no doubt who is intended to be. And i think itâs beyond fabulous for a first attempt, i would have thought youâd been doing it for years.
By: messymimi on November 20, 2017
I too struggle with color without good light. I also suffer from color blindness. A lot of the colors I choose come from the labels. I read each one before I apply to the canvas. Have you ever thought of drawing in coloring pencil? I love it.
By: Michael Offutt on November 20, 2017
Al never looked better. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on November 20, 2017
Always impressed with the life you capture in your work. I really like it.
By: Arkansas Patti on November 20, 2017
So that's a crude first attempt? I can't wait to see your charcoal drawings when you get the hang of it! Haha!
By: scott park on November 20, 2017
Yeah, I'm like Scott. Looking for improvement. ;^/
By: Catalyst on November 20, 2017
Let me add my voice to the chorus of those who admire your charcoal work! Very impressive. You are a superb portrait artist. Stay warm and keep at it this winter.
By: Tom Cochrun on November 20, 2017
Ditto all of the above! Happy drawing :)
By: Botanist on November 20, 2017
You are off to a great start with a new medium, and thank you for the clothes.
By: cranky on November 20, 2017
For a first attempt you got a good expression from old Einstein.
By: red on November 20, 2017
Very nice - looking forward to where you go in this new direction.
By: jenny_o on November 20, 2017
Wow! I think you've found how to make good use of your winter months. It's obviously Einstein. As for revealing character, I think you were kind to give him a good hair day.
By: Val on November 20, 2017
Oh my gosh, you're a quick study. Fantastic work, Stephen!
By: Daniel LaFrance on November 20, 2017
You are a talented artist Stephen.
By: Rick Watson on November 21, 2017
You did good, my friend!!
By: fishducky on November 21, 2017
Most excellent drawing... Oh, but, you know, if you would continue to paint when it's cold, who knows, the wiggles and shaking might lead to a new art style, Frostpaint? Hypotempra? Okay, better stop now... But I say off hand, charcoal agrees with your style! Cat
By: Cat on November 21, 2017
Wow. A very impressive "first attempt." But then, no surprise!
By: Mitchell is Moving on November 22, 2017
You make him look so dignified. I hope you do some more charcoal drawing and share it with us.
By: jenny woolf on November 22, 2017
Wow! Well, your paintings are really good, but this demonstrates the level of your talent. "Beginner" - ha!
By: The Bug on November 22, 2017
Great idea to switch to something different when normal daylight and warm temperatures are not available. You definitely know how to make Limoncello out of lemons!
By: Pixel Peeper on November 24, 2017

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