by Dean M. Carpenter, charcoal, 22 x 30.
The artist should be congratulated for the design and execution of this drawing. The head has a good sense of form created by the artist’s skillful use of the charcoal. The most interesting line to me is the profile against the background. There is very sensitive handling of this edge; the sharp line along the nose and the softer line on the beard describe the different textures. The line between the dark and light parts of the background, however, distracts from the line of the profile. This strong line of contrast in the background commands as much attention as does the profile. A simpler background would emphasize the profile and give a sense of “air” behind the head.
A second point raised by this drawing is the “hierarchy of highlights.” When all highlights are of the same intensity, their effectiveness is weakened. By choosing to make the highlights on the nose the most prominent and by slightly darkening the highlights on the fleshy parts of the face, the illusion of form is improved.
The artist's drawing altered by our critic to illustrate her suggestions.
About the Critic
Dawn Whitelaw has studied painting with Scott Christensen, Cedric Egeli, Jim Pollard, and Everett Raymond Kinstler. In 2002 she received the Award of Excellence and Best of Show in an international competition sponsored by the Portrait Society of America, and she has exhibited her portrait, landscape, and still life paintings in juried shows organized by the Cumberland Society of Painters, the American Academy of Women Artists, and the Phoenix Historical Museum.
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