Posted by: laurawp | June 16, 2011

ATHA Biennial – Portrait Classes

I sent out my ‘Teacher letter’ to my students for the 2011 ATHA Biennial classes on Thursday and Saturday.  it has caused a bit of confusion and concern… i’m asking my students to do Miniatures… in fine cut!   I insisted that the class be for Wide-Cut Portraits… that’s what I do.  I also kept trying to get 2 days for my class.  The 2-day class thing didn’t happen for me… but I have 2 classes, the Thursday night class is 4 hours long and the Saturday class is 5 hours.  Unfortunately, this is not enough time to teach a ‘Wide-Cut Portraits’ class. 

This is upsetting, but on we go…  to Miniatures.  I’ll present many of the same ideas, but in a much smaller format.  Really, I’m an ‘Outline & Fill’ kind of gal… love it… it’s easy… and it works on a graphic level.  i’ll ask my students to outline their subjects… and we’ll call it a ‘holding line’… subject to being pulled out, if need be.    that way, we can get onto the business of filling in the rest of the face.  there are highlights and shadows… we get those in, then fill with the in between values.  Then… we take a look… what do we need to do to make it work…  the ‘Tweaking End’…! 

Sunnie Runnell's project on the 3rd day.

Here’s 3-days work… by a Rug Artist that dove it… on the third day, we were looking at the background… trying to figure out the bridge and water.  It doesn’t look like that many loops… but it takes time.  #8 cut and Al looks great!  i love his smile!!

Ruth Scott's daughter-in-law

Ruth is another Photographer… i can appreciate that! this progress photo was taken early on the 3rd day… there was much more hair hooked in by the end of the workshop. The photo is from the wedding day… can you tell?

Val Flannigan's self portrait ip

Val’s portrait was small… it seemed that she was using a fine cut, but it doesn’t look so small here.  Val did use her ‘noodle bag’… it’s really a fun way to go!  a wonderful portrait!  based on a photo by Ruth Scott.         ….The Victoria class was terrific! 

Portraits at the Cambria class were even more complete… 5-days… and nights… we stayed until 9pm! 

Mary Schnitzler works on her parents wedding photo

Mary had a double portrait to work on… she started on her dad, but ended up finishing up her mom first.  It’s a beautiful portrait…

Judith McReynolds wide-cut of her dear Aunt

this is a good place to be by the end of the week… i am confident that Judith will finish it up!  Her Aunt looks like a gal we’d all like to know… with her easy smile!

Karin's folks at their anniversary party

I was nervous about Karin’s visual… the folks were quite washed out by light… but it turns out that Karin is an Artist in other mediums too.  She arrived at class with a couple of drawings…  proceeded to copy the pattern in class and went to town!  From black and white into colour… Such a sweet portrait…. yaye!

Terry Tanner's little Dahlia... with big beautiful eyes!

Terry will finish this Portrait with dip-dyed dahlia pedals… we’re thinking that a blue-lavendar will not be too bold.  We want little Dahlia to be the main feature.

Looking back at this group of portraits… those holding lines have mostly dissappeared…!?!



  1. Wow! Neta told me about some of these, but I wasn’t prepared for how wonderful they would be. Fabulous!

  2. Hi Laura, I enjoyed sitting in your class being surrounded by the development of these beautiful portraits. It was an amazing transformation. Students started out feeling dubious about their chances of producing a good portrait and finished with a real feeling of accomplishment. The whole class shared their joy as each project developed. If you have only 4 hours, this can never happen.

    I’m going to be bold and ask that you consider a technique that Donna Hrkman taught in a 1/2 day class at Sauder Village. She had a small mat with her drawing of a llama, a blank and an eye that she drew. We learned to hook a good eye. Maybe you could have a prepared portion of a face? Could your daughter team teach with you?

  3. Laura, Thank you for posting these portraits in progress. They are all amazing. I remember from taking your portrait class how easy you made the process. If you recall, it was a day-long class and we were all amazed at how much we accomplished in just one day. We were using wide-cuts and with small cuts, you would even be able to get more done is a short amount of time.

  4. Thank you! good to hear!!! and yes, Gail’s right, we were amazed at the progress we made. i will say that there were only 8 students. It takes me all morning to get around to 17 people… i’ve tried to go faster, but it’s always the same… 17 people = 1 morning or 1 afternoon.

    of course, with a 1 subject class… alot can be done in unison. i am looking forward to my classes at ATHA.! Portraits are magical!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: