Old Monk

You’ll rarely see me post a portrait or do one for that matter, ha – but it was for a pmp challenge and I thought what the heck, why not try  .   .   .

The drawing (9×12) is done on Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper, using fine-powdered charcoal applied with a dry brush only (flat, filbert and round).  This technique is what intrigues me to give it a try – I wanted to see what it would be like to apply charcoal with a brush.  Interesting and was something that I enjoyed.

The Old Monk is based on a reference image from a friend, Elaine Cross of pmp (incredible photographer) – her Monk spoke to me, I could feel the burden of the world on his shoulders.  After this exercise, to draw or paint a face with sagging skin or character lines, well I say hats-off to every artist that specializes in portraits!

This doesn’t count as my Thursday drawing – so see you Thursday!

Old Monk

Old Monk

If you click on the image you can see the drawing more clearly.


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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38 Responses to Old Monk

  1. I can feel his age and wisdom.

  2. This is a beautiful portrait. I have never heard of painting charcoal. I’m going to go look it up. You really got a lot of very nice tones with this media. I agree, the face really speaks a lot.

  3. A.PROMPTreply says:

    I really can see the gravity he carries within. Why don’t you do portraits? You really seem to capture the essence – at least in this one.

  4. Painting for Joy says:

    I love how you think out of the box Mary, i.e using a brush with charcoal. I think your portrait is fabulous! You captured the planes of the face very nicely. Well done!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Rhonda – a different technique. Plus trying on a subject that I never draw, portraits. Oh man, talk about stretching it. Thanks a lot!

  5. Very impressive work Mary and I must congratulate you on this challenge well executed! I know how hard is to make portraits, it wasn’t my favorite subject in art school, it is very challenging to be able to reflect the real character of an individual but you raised up to the occasion!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Eva, hope you are having a good evening. Thank you so much – bet I surprised you with Old Monk! You just never know what’s going to kick up interest for me – I have to admit that it was a fun challenge and I learned a lot. I might try a few more, perhaps one a month just to keep the drawing fresh – that will go a long way with perspective and proportions. Really appreciate your thoughts on this piece, and yes, the character is what I was after. Thanks again ~

  6. What courage my friend to go out of your comfort zone…wonderful.

  7. tomsimard says:

    You’ve captured just what you felt because as I look at the portrait that is exactly what I sense. Well done!

  8. Gallivanta says:

    And hats off to you for always being ready to take up a challenge!

  9. Mary,
    You’ve captured this lived-in face excellently. There’s experience there and, for me, a small sense of pain.
    You are talented!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you John for kind words, thoughts and observations. I felt like I was reading a story with each level of character built in this Monk’s portrait.

  10. Inspiration truly comes from the least expected places. Can you imagine his internal knowledge?

  11. ĽAdelaide says:

    This is so fabulous, Mary. You have an incredible talent. After my day today at the dentist, I think I look at old as your old monk. 😉

    • Mary says:

      Linda, you always know how to make me smile (laugh in this case)! I’m not too sure that portraits are my thing, but I’m willing to give them a go – I’ll try another down the road. Thank you, your comment means a lot.

  12. Unusual to see a portrait from you! I encourage everyone to click on the drawing to see all the fine details. Great job, Mary.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Evelyne for your lovely comment and to encourage all to open the link. You’re right – it really do offer the drawing details. Really appreciate your feedback.

  13. Rob Taylor says:

    Looks just like me…. 😉 But seriously, excellent work, Mary….

    • Mary says:

      Oh my Rob, thank you for your kind comment. As a compliment, let me just say that the Monk’s face here was built with a kind and humble look, it makes me happy to read that it reflects the character in you.

  14. exiledprospero says:

    Oh, that’s very good, Mary. You should do more portraits!

    • Mary says:

      A pleasant surprise Propsero, thank you so much – hello to Ariel. Hmmm, will have to give another portrait some thought ~ maybe a once a month drawing project as I see there is quite a bit of room for improvement. Always the encourager – thank you!

  15. mrsmrs says:

    Charcoal on a BRUSH ??? – are you mad ?! [grin]
    Not at all bad for someone who doesn’t do portraits, Mary. The eyes need something more, don’t you think ? – the irises ? As to the rest – bloody good, imnsho ! 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank you M.R. and do appreciate your enthusiasm for this piece – I do need to keep you on your toes! I hear you about the eyes, thanks so much. P.S. I haven’t forgotten about the No-Knead Bread recipe – have to type it out, won’t be done this morning but will try to get to it later in the week.

  16. I am fascinated by that use of the brush…..not an easy thing, but you done it! Congrats!

    • Mary says:

      I was fascinated too and probably why I participated in the challenge. It was an interesting process and found that the tooth in the paper in real important to getting good dark values w/o having to press into the paper. Thanks for your encouragement, I’m not too sure another portrait is in the near term but I’ll never, say never.

  17. This is rare indeed coming from you – but I’m glad you did it. It just shows how versatile you are, my dear Mary – something I was well aware of! 😉

    • Mary says:

      Talk about foreign and stretching myself Marina – this was it. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, I’m going back to my rocks!! Have a wonderful evening.

  18. coastalcrone says:

    Excellent! I am glad the monk spoke to you!

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