Mark Tennant

Principles of Figure Construction and Portraiture

July 24th – August 7th, 2017

16939399_978247288976620_2185251679087122645_nMark Tennant, Raoul Middleman, 2017, oil on panel

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This course develops the artist’s ability to represent the figure in pictorial space. The drawings are based on observation from life with attention to proportional accuracy, foreshortening and the use of form and cast shadows. Students are taught a system directly related to perspective, major planes and geometric mass conceptions. An introductory study of the bones and muscles will enhance figurative drawing ability and skills. Students will gain a mastery of realistic painting and develop a classical approach to the figure.  Students will address composition, perspective, focal point and value pattern.

Students will then be encouraged, while working from the live model, to draw and paint what they see in terms of what they know. There will be plenty of individual instruction as well as group critiques and lectures. I will do numerous demonstrations outlining all stages of the paintings and drawings beginning with placement, anatomical landmarks, shadow shape construction, value relationships, paint quality and warm and cool color.

We will discuss masterworks, particularly 17, 18 and 19 century European painting and have a planned excursion to Rome.  As a group we will consider how these works relate to our individual ideas about our own painting and to understand why they have stood the test of time.  There will be assignments and readings (optional)

This course is open to students of all levels.

Classes meet Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10-5:00 with lunch from 1-2:00

There will be weekly excursion to various sites in Italy on Thursdays


*Gesture – action or rhythm of a pose

*Proportion – 7 ½ head Academic proportion – proportionate height to width – the relationship of perspective to the figure

*Construction – this is done through comparisons of position, lengths and the study of angles; asking questions relevant to your work as it passes through stages

*Modeling – constructing the pattern of the shadow since light reveals form

*Characteristics of Chiaroscuro lighting – form shadow, cast shadow, middle tone, light area, highlight – the fundamentals of light and shadow

*Drawing the Portrait – a procedural approach to drawing a head

*Value Relationships – positive and negative shapes, atmospheric perspective and contrast

* Warm and Cool Color – Warm color advances – Cool color recedes

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

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Tuition & Fees for 2 week Affiliate Workshops