Seth Haverkamp Demo

Seth Haverkamp gave one of his great demos the other day at the warehouse atelier in Arlington. Seth will be teaching there beginning in February. He is offering another free demo next Wednesday night at 7pm. Visit Seth's website and give him a call (his number is on the contact page) if you'd like to attend the demo , the class or both!


My notes from the demo. (I hope Seth or someone will send me a photo of the finished demo because I totally forgot to take one after the stopped painting!)

1. Started with a transparent brown oxide block in sketch to decide how big he wanted to make the image and where he wanted to place it.

2. Used cad orange and white to make a generic lit area color and started sculpting in the lit area shapes. To start to warm up some area, he used cad yellow/white and permanent rose to shift the temperature slightly.

4. One important aspect of this step was that he want back to make the shadow *shapes* more precise but simplified the variation of values within the shadows. He's working with such a small brush because this portrait is tiny. The head is actually smaller than the size of his hand.

5. The first 4 steps were finished in about 20 minutes so it didn't take long before he was happy with his "drawing" and started to work some of the transitions. In many cases he just thinned the paint and let some of the grey show through because many turning edges are cooler as they move away from the light.

Before getting too far, he threw in the highest chroma areas and the highlights. For example some bright red on the upper lip, a little richness in the cheeks and nose, eventually the eyes etc. He only put these in as they were needed to establish color/value ranges to make sure everything was on track. But, the simple additions he made were added and kept that way until the end of the portrait.


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Meet the Artist: Terry Strickland

If Terry Strickland went incognito ... now we would know how to find her ... peering through blinds with her spy camera "on a stakeout as a voyeur ... an observer of humans". When envisioning this portrait, she saw clearly that "If you were on a real stakeout, you've got to have cigarettes and coffee".

An observer has to forgo personal interests and comforts sometimes to get the real story. So, although the Incognito Project can be described as part of her personal journey (we'll talk about that shortly) Strickland takes the spotlight off herself and sheds it on the thrill of exploring the inner life of her models, her subjects ... her willing friends. The "Incognito Project has sparked some really interesting conversations and I'm enjoying it". 

With 14 paintings finished and at least 11 or 12 (probably more) to come, Terry's energy hasn't wained. Instead the content sustains her drive to continue a project that requires a lot of work, planning and dedication: "I'm having fun, and I don't seem to be getting bored with it." 

Read here about the exciting day when she opened her studio for a photo shoot of the insightful souls who agreed to participate. "I was fortunate to know so many people who really got it". She also had a strong team. Her daughter Carly as key grip, her son interviewing people on tape, her daughter in-law Amy did makeup and her husband Dan was handling paperwork like model releases. Models received T-shirt's confessing "I revealed myself at the Incognito Project". "It was exhausting and fun".

The participants had their own fun as they stuck around to talk to each other about the stories behind their personas. At the time of that shoot, Terry thought the Incognito Project would take a year but it naturally grew into a 2 year effort which she says will definitely be done in 2012 when the project will culminate in a book and as show. 

Although the shoot marked an important starting point, Terry recognizes an even earlier genesis. "I was doing Incognito like pieces long before I started the project ... my superman pieces" showed early signs of what eventually evolved into Incognito. 
Make Way - 42x58 oil on canvas
(c) Terry Strickland

A little investigation into her early work shows that she has worked in series before. Until recent history, Terry didn't give full voice to her painting life. She had an art career but her "Awakening" series marks a time when she most deeply recognized that she really needed to embrace the day, forgo some other efforts and focus her daily work on painting. Not just putting brush to canvas ... but painting realistic, narrative figure paintings! At that time her pre and early teen children were going through their own transitions and she naturally had the urge to capture them in paint. 

For Strickland, these were "Breakthrough Pieces" personally and professionally. "I was going through the same restlessness I saw my kids going through as they were transitioning into early teenagers". Her son Kyle is depicted in On the Wing and Make Way and her daughter Carly is captured below in The Quickening and Pin-up.

Pin-up - 42x58 oil on canvas
(c) Terry Strickland

Prior to these pieces "I had ideas but felt like I needed to get more technical skills." Those ideas motivated her to hone her skills. Then "Eventually, you get to the point where you have confidence in your skills and get down to the quick of what you really want to say and go for it". 

This sheds some light on the advice she would give to new, emerging artists: "You have to want it bad, do the work, don't let a few, (hundreds, truth be told) rejections or failures keep you from making the work you want to make. Actually rejoice in them as they are stepping stones to where you want to be. Don't settle for a style because the real work you want to make isn't in your capabilities yet." Supporting this point Terry explained that she's "taking a workshop with David Kassan, whose work I greatly admire, because I know that my skills can always be improved. I can learn things from him that will help me be better at making my own work." 

This point about focusing on the work you want to make is best illustrated in a story of one of her early paintings. "It's very rewarding, I have cried along with people looking at my work" listing to them talk about it. "I did a painting called "Home" of an African American man holding an empty nest. He was strong but had a tender look on his face. I finished it the week my daughter went to college. The woman who bought it stood with me and told me her story. She had been mugged a few months earlier by an African American man (her purse was taken but she was luckily not physically hurt) and told me that seeing that painting called "Home" healed her. She said the experience healed her!" Terry and the woman stood in the gallery together looking at it through tears of understanding. Ms. Strickland explains that sometimes as an artist, in addition to focusing on what you need to say, you also accept what the viewer brings to the piece.

Getting a public glimpse of these Breakthrough Paintings in person will be rare for those of us who came late to this scene. Strickland has sold many of them but has since decided not to let go of selected early pieces that are special to her.

Nonetheless we are lucky in other ways. We ourselves have become voyeurs to this story as it unfolds. My phone interrogation of Terry has revealed that this scenario like any unfolding mystery is complex with multiple beginnings. And now, I leave it to you to stake out Terry's website and blog ... investigate the scene at her upcoming shows to see where this subject is ultimately headed.

article written by artist Tricia Cherrington Ratliff


Seth Havercamp Classes in Falls Church

Happy New Year!

Seth Havercamp is teaching again beginning in January / February 2012.  I'll be going to his starter sessions in January. Hope to see some of you there! 

Portrait in Pencil

Class description: This first session is 4 weeks long. For the first 3 weeks we will work
on one portrait in pencil -- same person, same pose. By allowing ourselves to spend
ample time on one drawing, we will start with a simple block-in of features, to develop
the likeness, then proceed to place in the subtle nuances and details that make a portrait
complete. There is no prerequisite for this class.

When: Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:30 pm. Starts February 7th

Materials: Fine drawing paper; pencils: 2h, 2b, 4b, kneaded eraser

Where: The “Warehouse Atelier”, located in the strip center corner of route 7 and Carlin
Springs Rd, Falls Church 22041 ( Behind REI on Carlin Springs and behind Blinds to
Go on Route 7, ground level)

Cost: $185

*Space is limited to 8 people per class*

This class leads us directly into the next 4 week session. We will transfer the drawing
to canvas and proceed to paint it in oil. By having the drawing already complete we will
be able to paint the portrait in full color with less difficulty, not having to “chase the
drawing.” While the 2nd session is set up as a continuation of the 1st, anyone may enroll
in the 2nd session.

Figure in Pencil

Class description: Same as above, except learning to draw a full nude figure.

When: Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:30 pm. Starts February 8th, 4 weeks.

Materials: Fine drawing paper, pencils, 2h to 4b, kneaded eraser

Where: The “Warehouse Atelier”

Cost: $185

*Space is limited to 8 people per class*

Free Classes!

As an incentive to continuing enrollment I will be offering 2 free classes at the end of January. The first will be on Tuesday the 24th of January. The 2nd will be on Wednesday February 1st. They will be figure painting classes. All are welcome! I will ask for a 10 dollar contribution to pay for the model.