Sunday, August 4, 2013

These illustrations were a huge inspiration to me a child. They are featured in a book called . Unfortunately, Kenneth Batelle passed away May 13, 2013. He worked with Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn, and Lucille Ball among others. He developed the straighter, bob style Marilyn wore after so many years of heat setting and bleach took their toll on the health of her hair. This particular book was written in the late 1960's during the transition from salon set styles to wash-and-wear cuts. Kenneth suggested that healthy, strong, natural hair was the future. He advised that women to choose cuts based on what their hair did naturally after washing and air drying. After tiring of flat irons and styling in general I decided to follow his advice, this was the summer of 2007. The right side of my hair has always flipped out and the left side has always flipped under. I decided to cut the left side much short than the right, thus giving rise to the asymmetrical bob I wore until quite recently! As a little girl I remember marveling at the lovely illustrations on hair dye boxes and their instructions, hairspray cans, and the style books found in salons. I still have a can of Miss Breck that belonged to my grandmother.

Kenneth's Complete Book on Hair

Hair can be difficult to draw. It is not possible to draw every
single strand, so we must create the illusion of strands by focusing on all of the shapes within the hair. I like to begin by lightly blocking them out. It's important to create volume and movement within the hair, this is typically done through  changes in value. To create texture leave areas of highlights where there are fewer lines but, remember that the lines you use ought to start at the part and taper towards the ends. If I am working with pencil I strive to remember that darker hair needs to be rendered in a darker tone, whereas blonde hair will have more highlights and lighter shadows. In addition, I like to add highlights to the strands that frame the face to accentuate the fact that hair is lighter round the face and darker towards the back. I hope those tips are helpful because, drawing hair is hard as hell.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I did this quick watercolor painting after finishing some much needed spring cleaning in my art studio. Last week was my birthday and my anniversary and this week I'm starting a new job!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rain and Pencil

I recently began using pencil for my under drawing instead of colored pencil. I've found myself gravitating toward a more subtle color palette than I use with my colored pencil paintings. I like it and I think I will continue using pencil and seeing what takes shape. The reason I started using pencil is because I recently purchased the most amazing mechanical pencil I've ever used, it's a Koh-I-Noor Mephisto Profi pencil, and I really cannot put it down. The advantage of colored pencil is that the Prismacolor col-erase pencils melt into the watercolor. The lady in the first painting is wearing a Jean Yu triangle bra. After several weeks of sunshine rain has returned to northern California. I don't mind, I get more work done on rainy days.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Leaves and Pencil

This is a study for a larger painting. Lately I have been using two (warm/cool) sets of primary colors and a color called neutral tint.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Alexander McQueen

It's hard to believe a year has passed since the death of Alexander McQueen. Both of these pen and ink drawings were done on Legion Iyo handmade Japanese rice paper. February 11, 2010.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Paculla Annia

Recently I decided to try to using pencil to compose my under drawing. Usually I draw on watercolor paper using Prismacolor erasable color pencils. When I paint over the lines they melt into the paint.

Something about light gray pencil line makes the whole painting feel lighter, which I find really satisfying. I've been painting with two sets of primary color palettes and black. For some reason I find this easier to do with oil paints as opposed to watercolor.

Paculla Annia was an Italian priestess. She led the Bacchus cult and threw wild parties.