I did something entirely for myself one summer. I took an art class at Fort Mason…

Drawing Is More Fun With A Friend

I did something entirely for myself a few summers ago.  I took an art class at Fort Mason, through my local community college.  BASIC DRAWING 130A, at CCSF, to be specific.  The drawing class was an amazing, life changing experience.  Sure, it was a big commitment (from 10 am to 3:30 pm; Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday; for 6 intense summer weeks), but it improved my drawing immensely.  See what you think:

Here is some of my artwork drawn before I took the drawing class.

You can see how I struggled with proper proportions, among other issues.  Out of frustration, I resorted to purchasing a mini projector.  This helped solve some problems.  But I was bound to my mini projector – and the dark (can’t trace a projected image in bright lights).  These works were started using a projector:

Now, upon completing the class, I was able to sketch free hand the following:


I used the techniques I learned in class.  I try to practice a new face every day.


I can also site and measure much more effectively now.


Shading and tones are better now, don’t you think?

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This homework assignment is a “replica” (I use that term loosely) of a Master’s Portrait (by Albrecht Durer).  IMG_1523

Imagine, just 6 weeks, and I’m no longer bound to my projector.  How did I learn all this?  From a master teacher.   Not everyone can teach.  It is as much a gift and a talent as drawing.  My teacher was Ms. Deirdre White.  She’s one of those rare people who can do both.  When you find a good teacher grab hold, and learn, learn, learn!!  That’s just how I feel.  This is the stack of drawings I completed in 6 weeks.


Some of these may not look like much, but if you’ve ever played an instrument, you can think of these as practicing your scales.

Practice, practice, practice!  But not only that, I learned tricks and techniques I never knew existed.  Like a few I used in this one.


And this one.


This was another class project, with a new technique.

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Upon completing the class, in my home studio, I made this ballerina using the same technique, only on black paper.  And I did it free hand, using the sighting and measuring techniques I learned in class.  No more projectors for me!  =)


Thanks for looking at my art.  If you want to improve your skills too, Ms. Deirdre White is teaching again this summer.  Register soon; her classes fill up!

Ms. Deirdre White also works/worked with NIAD in Richmond, CA.  Here is some really great information about NIAD.

“NIAD’s visual art program promotes meaningful independent living by artists with disabilities…While not all of NIAD’s artists receive wide-spread recognition for their practice, all gain a sense of pride from learning a craft and profession of their own. Our artists work hard at creating.”  

It does my heart good to know that Ms. White is using her talents towards building a better community, by both teaching and by her involvement with NIAD.  Tell me what you think in the comments section below.  Do you think the class helped me?  Do you think a class might help you?  What did/does help you improve your skills?  How will you use your art to help others?

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