A Day in the Life . . .

. . . of a Level Four student

by Wendy Wagner

In level four, we work strictly in north facing light. Quite a switch from the models under warm lights that we used in previous years.

On Mondays, we have portrait painting with instructor Kerry Dunn.


We started the semester with morning and afternoon poses, using a limited palette, working up to one day and, currently, two-day poses.The focus is on capturing the light effect under the more subtle conditions of natural light.Under warm, artificial lights, it is much easier to separate the light and shadow masses.With natural light, the separation of light and shadow is not so distinctive. Specifically, “darker lights” vs shadow. Add into the mix, an overcast day, and, whoa.

Overall, I love portrait day, along with the challenge of capturing the essence of the sitter in that moment.

I asked my classmates to share their favorite efforts so far this year.  

Why do I note the length of the pose? Because if you are doing a two-day pose, you will set it up differently than if you only have one day. You have more time to work on the drawing and can set up the painting to push further on subsequent days. Knowing you only have one day requires you to work faster, mainly in the light masses.

Keep in mind that these were informally taken with an iphone, for your reference.

Anna Sang Justice
Anna’s 1 day pose
David Clark
David’s 1 day pose
Jason Jenkins
Jason’s 1 day pose, warm light
Kathleen Moore
Kathleen’s day 2 (of 2-day pose)
Lynn Snyder
Lynn’s 1 day pose
Michela Mansuino
Michela’s day 2 (of 2 day pose)
Sharon Henderson McHugh
Sharon’s day 1 (of 2-day pose)
Tom Plassa
Tom’s day 1 (of 2-day pose)
Wendy Wagner
Wendy’s 1 day pose