Spring 2018 Evening Portrait Drawing class at the St. Louis Artists’s Guild

It was my distinct pleasure to teach a new class this past February and March 2018 at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild, Evening Portrait Drawing.

Beginning with learning the generalized proportions of the human head, we then moved on to observing and depicting the various planes and angles of the face, and how each surface reflects light differently.  We discussed the concepts of chiaroscuro and tenebrism, the differences between core and cast shadow, and how to effectively use simultaneous contrast to add drama and make the drawing pop.  The students experienced various methods of drawing – building the drawing up from the base tone of the newsprint, toning the paper with charcoal and employing subtractive erasing marks to define highlights and planes within the drawing, and beginning with brown kraft (butcher) paper as the drawing surface.  When working with kraft paper, students experienced how a warm-hued surface changes the level of tone applied and the media and mark-making choices, such as when an artist might use white or black conté, compressed charcoal, or vine charcoal, and how that differs from toning the paper with charcoal directly.

We also explored several types of lighting composition – high key, middle key, low key, and full key chiaroscuro – and discussed how an artist can use light as an additional tool for conveying atmosphere and meaning within a drawing.  I was very pleased with their progress from the beginning to the end of the eight week session, and really enjoyed seeing everyone’s individual drawing techniques and mark-making develop with each new exercise.

Below are images of student drawings which we did at the beginning of the first class, before instruction began.


At the beginning of class, I’m always running around too much to remember to photograph, but here are some photos from the last three classes of the session:


Additionally, my class and I were invited to display our drawings in the entrance hallway gallery during the Clearly Human III exhibition, which ran from April 13 to May 26, 2018.  I’m very proud of my students and all their hard work!


Display Clearly Human III at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild, SP18 Portrait Drawing class exercises; 2 drawings on the left by Lloyd Jones; drawing on the right by Carol Fichtelman

Display at Clearly Human  III, St. Louis Artists' Guild - SP18 Final Chiaroscuro Drawing Demo by Elizabeth M. Willey and Low Key Class Exercise by Peter Pagano

Display at Clearly Human III, St. Louis Artists’ Guild – SP18 Final Chiaroscuro Drawing Demo by Elizabeth M. Willey and Low Key Class Exercise by Peter Pagano

Summer class roundup!

My summer Evening Basic Drawing class at the St. Louis Artist’s Guild has recently wrapped up, so I thought I’d share some images of my amazing students’ work!

The first few drawings of teacups are from the first class, before instruction began, then pictures of a few of the classes, and finally, the drawings from the final project of the last class.  So proud of everyone’s progress!



Evening Basic Drawing through the St. Louis Artist’s Guild – Round 2!

I will be teaching  a second Evening Basic Drawing class through the St. Louis Artist’s Guild on Thursday evenings during the fall, from 6-8:30 pm beginning Thursday, September 8, and running for 8 classes through Thursday, October 27.  Sign up today!😀  I’d love to have you in class!


This is the supply list:  Basic Drawing Fall 2016 Supply List – Elizabeth M. Willey

Below are some photos of my summer students with their work.  The teapots were drawn at the beginning of the summer session, before any instruction began.  The chiaroscuro drawings at the bottom are from the last 2 class sessions.  I am so proud of my students!  We had a great time and they all worked really hard to continue to develop their skills!



Weekend Studio Time Part Deux

Loki piece after “burning in” last night’s oil painting. (Gently heating the painted area & wax to bond the oil paint to the beeswax layer below.)


Starting to develop the branch and the golden apple, but they still need work:


Weekend Studio Time

Working on my encaustics today. The apple is a laser transfer, and I plan on painting the branch, leaves, and possibly highlights on the apple in oil paint.


Did a laser jet transfer on the other one I’m working on, but I’m not sure I like the position. I think I’m gonna scrape the spider off and add one slightly bigger and a little more lower and left.


“Loki and Idun’s Apple” at the end of the night:


“Anansi” piece – spider resized & repositioned. I think this one looks much better:


Local color layer begins!

The color on the skull needs to be a warmer white, but otherwise good so far. Still have to put local color on the back wall, pitcher, plate below the pitcher and darker background fabric. Then I can begin modeling the shadows with darker tones.