Students learn portraiture techniques used by artists Sargent and Beaux

Students learn portraiture techniques used by artists Sargent and Beaux

18 March 2024

Miss Eilise Lancaster, Artist in Residence

In a portraiture workshop for Year 8 students on Tuesday 12 March, we explored the work of, and techniques used by, nineteenth century artists John Singer Sargent and Cecilia Beaux, who created intimate charcoal drawings alongside their commissioned painted portraits.

We began by looking at the theories of how light works upon objects, and how artists apply these to simplify areas of light and dark to give form to the faces of people they paint. Through demonstrations, and analysis of portraits by Sargent and Beaux, students learnt techniques of portrait drawing in charcoal, including how to use shadow shapes to define the planes of the face, when to use willow and charcoal pencil to create the texture of hair and clothing, and how to vary their use of line to enhance the naturalism of their work.

Students created some quick, but wonderful, portraits from photos of me and Miss Pliaukstaite, our art technician and printmaker. Even those who felt unsure about approaching portraiture at the start of the workshop felt they had learnt a lot by the end.

Phoebe – ‘Miss Lancaster was a great teacher! It was hard but also interesting learning how to create the shadows.’

Faith – ‘I liked how Miss Lancaster did a simple yet in depth explanation of the techniques we could use.’

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