Great on-line demo

I'm posting this link for my students. It goes to a wonderful demo by Jeff Hayes. Jeff's step by step photos beautifully illustrate the process of using just a closed grisaille to first establish your values and separate the issue of color. There are *many* ways to accomplish your goals of painting a given subject but I've seen that this one, while relaxing (becuase it leverages your drawing skills) and fun can be hard to describe in words.


Have a great week and I look forward to seeing you and hearing your responses in our next class or an upcoming workshop.


Latest Portrait Drawing - 3 color

I've just finished two new portrait drawings - here is one below. I find this technique (which is influenced by my studies with Robert Liberace)  very relaxing for a weekend morning. 

If you're interested in having a drawn portrait like this created ($75-$150 for sizes 8x10 up to 16x20), please visit my website www.TriciaRatliff.com and send an e-mail. They make great gifts!


A New Blogger in town

We have a new blogger in town - Downtown DC.  Alexa is an Art History major that's new to the area and the art scene. Let's encourage her to continue writing by visiting her blog. Be sure to leave a comment so she knows you are reading.


She was inspired by her friend's blog in Paris -> http://courtneynowick.wordpress.com


NEWEST ART Gallery in Great Falls Virginia!! (Exhibit)

Yesterday, I met with the owner of the newest art gallery in Virginia. It's *Beautiful* and I highly recommend visiting to see it in person. It's a wonderful space where artists can gather, relax, enjoy a cup of coffee and take classes while listening to music in a lovely environment. I was so impressed that I've agreed to offer an upcoming 1 day drawing workshop at this location.

The gallery will also be exhibiting my paintings and will be open for the Great Falls Studio tour this weekend! 

Avenue Beau Sejour
gallery - studio - coffeehouse - school

10135 Colvin Run Road, Suite 100
Great Falls, Virginia  22066
(former "SAGE" location)

(703) 716-4299


Oil Painting & Drawing Lessons in Northern Virginia 2013

Study Drawing and Oil Painting in Northern Virginia in 2013
with Tricia Cherrington Ratliff 
All ages and experience levels
Location: Reston / Herndon, Virginia

- Drawing
- Painting
- Still Life
- Portrait
- Landscape
- Florals

Private Lessons and Small Group Classes available for all ages and experience levels. Learn both classical and contemporary methods of drawing and painting. Students learn to paint everything from still life to people wearing jewelry, fur, velvet, diamonds, gold, satin and more. 


In Memory of Thomas S. Beuchner

As our local art center celebrates portrait month and Norman Rockwell's paintings hang at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, this seems like a fitting time to reflect on the life and work of Thomas S. Beuchner of Corning New York.

In addition to being a great painter, Tom was also an active advocate for the arts. His book "How I Paint, Confessions of a Sunday Painter" not only brings to light his beautiful work but the underlying narrative reveals his admiration for great art created by hand. He modestly attributes his own talents to those who influenced him and came before him.

I hope you'll take a moment to soak up a little of his legacy by visiting his website, perusing a few of the articles below and hopefully reading one of his books. If you are an artist, an art enthusiast or just someone who is touched by another who dedicates themselves to a passion, you're sure to find it inspiring.

If you're nearby (here in DC), Thomas Buechner's first book was "Norman Rockwell, Artist and Illustrator" is a wonderful companion to read in advance or take with you during a visit of the Rockwell exhibit. If you're closer to Corning New York, the West End Gallery is hosting an exhibit in his memory including his most recent work beginning on October 14th.


Anatomy for Portraits: Head Muscles/Bones - with a little help from Encyclopedia Britannica

While anatomic knowledge is not required to paint a head, it can be useful. Here's a link to an image of the muscles of the head on encyclopedia britannica. While the rendering is smooth and idealized with flat bands of muscles (instead of 3D shapes), this interestingly makes it easier to see where the muscles are!

Muscles of the Head

Bones of the Head

If you're drawing/painting a head, it's useful to be familiar with:


  • Orbicularis oculi muscle (around the eye, create wrinkles)
  • Depressor Anguli Oris muscle (creates plane of light from mouth to chin over mandible (the jaw))
  • Sternocleidomastoid muscle (tubular form shows along neck head behind ear down to top of clavical)
  • Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi muscle (can create a fold or shaded area next to the nose)
  • -Zygomatic major and minor muscles (form a sheet that gives form, life, puffiness to the cheeks)


  • Nasal bone (notice where it ends to understand the crooked looking shadows on some noses)
  • Supraorbital Foraman and Brow Ridge bones (catch a lot of light from above, define socket visually by showing change in planes)
  • Frontal Emminance bone (largest round area to paint and possibly place highlight)
  • Zygomatic Arch (cheek bone) catches light and can create interest in a face when it protrudes beyond the "oval shape" on the sides of the head.
To find out how to study "Portrait Painting and Drawing" with Tricia, visit www.TriciaRatliff.com  and contact the artist directly. Remember to include your phone number.