I am new here and have posted maybe 5 questions and have not had a response to any of them.  I am going to post them here hoping I can get some answers.  My primary interest is in drawing (realism) and portraits.   One of them is a mixed-media question, but it's not getting any notice at all and plenty of folks who draw also do other kinds of art.  Lastly, I would like to post a portrait I have done, but would like some *serious critiquing*...not just, "hey, that's great.  keep it up, etc."  I need to move forward in my art and I have read many times that the best way to improve is practice, practice, practice, but if someone doesn't come along and offer solid advice in how to improve, practicing only serves to repeat the same mistakes.   Thanks in advance.

I am wondering if anyone has any info, reviews, etc. (good or bad) on an online art group teaching art.  It's called "Virtual Instructor".  Thanks.

Too much charcoal/graphite has worked into my white areas...I am talking about very small areas in my drawing such as the "glints" in the eyes or the white ring around an animal's eye.  I'm afraid I ended up "scraping" the substrate when the work was finished, but I wasn't pleased with the result and there must be a better way.  White charcoal on top only turns everything gray and I didn't want to have to resort to a white-out pen.  How do you save your whites in a drawing when the spot is so tiny?  Actually I did read somewhere about using a white gel pen.  Do you folks do that?  Which one?  Is that cheating?   Thank you.

 I have an Xacto vacuum pencil sharpener which has a lever on it that allows you to pull it down and a vacuum is created to get the unit to stay put.  Mine will "stay locked down" for about 3 seconds and that's it.  Needless to say, every time I need to resharpen, I have to relock.  I am using this on a slab of glass which I thought was the best for suction.  The unit was not cheap and is not very old.  I hate to ditch it.  Any suggestions?  

I have created a large platter out of Sculpt-a-Mold layered with sheet rock compound and then a layer of gesso on top of that.  I would like to try "painting" it with watercolors and some alcohol inks and alcohol.  I am afraid anything I put on this surface is going to soak in instantly like a sponge and I don't want that to happen.  

I really don't want the paints to "stand" on the surface or float, but I would like to manipulate them a bit before they do sink in.  Any ideas on the best way to seal over the gesso?   I am afraid of experimenting for fear I will ruin the platter.  Would a layer or two of polymer medium work?  Something else?  Thanks in advance.

Sooooo, if any of you can contribute answers... I would be most appreciative!


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Replies to This Discussion

Let's see.  I'm a pastel artist, so I can't answer any paint questions.  Regarding the whites, have you tried a kneadable eraser?  You pretty well mush it into the area to lift off the graphite (or pastel) where you want the whites.  To prevent smudging in the first place, I lay down a piece of white paper or wax paper under finished parts where I might need to rest my hand.

As far as the suction-based pencil sharpener, I haven't had one in years.  All I can say is make sure that the surface you've got it on is smooth (slick, like a table, not porous at all, not like drywall), clean and dry, and the suction surface should also be clean and dry.

I know even less about the other questions, but I didn't want you to feel ignored.  I hope others have more useful information.

Sorry Donna, this is so difficult for me to understand your procedures here. I am a straight on acrylic painter. I have no answers for you.

I am self taught. I started 30 years ago with some "how to" books and copying other's paintings that I liked. It took about 10 years of that before branching out with my own work and actually liking the end result. Good luck.

Realism is based on key factors. Correct values in conjunction with light and shadows. I'm an oil painter and I paint in realism and stylized methods. In oils, realism is easily achieved as the paint is more workable but has more complicated science behind it however, you can achieve realism with any media. I'm going to post a painting called Elegant grace that sold immediately after i finished. I used a one layer technique taught by mark carder. But I also paint in multi layers. "Drawmixpaint" is Mark Carders website if your intrested. Good luck

As far as drawing is concerned i may be able to help, the white parts are left from the very beginning. The ONLY part that is truly white, are the highlights and they should be done last. I dont use a gel pen and wouldnt say it was cheating for tiny highlights ijust prefer pure graphite and white paper personally

Discipline is absolutely essential in representative drawing and precicion on the details can NEVER be rushed..Keep the white of the paper at all times clean and pristine unless you want it white like in the Theda Bara drawing ive posted too...

I hope this has been a little help!

Frank Savage.



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