Choosing the middle path

The objects in the studio provide instant inspiration to our students. One of our portfolio students, Alisha, started her first portfolio piece by sketching a model of a head to understand facial planes. She started by using brown paper scraps to make a collage of mid tones that would form the base of the piece. She then used the coffee staining technique to diffuse the contrast of the brown paper against the white base paper. The many layers of coffee stain that she added gave the piece an overall earthy tone.

The next step was to sketch out a different views of the head using chalk, finally settling on a front view as the focal point of the piece. Using white acrylic paint, she created the facial shadows, leaving the darkest areas as the base brown paper, and used black ink to separate the planes and as a shadow for the head.

The finished piece is striking and nearly 3D, and showcases so many different techniques and processes. It especially shows Alisha’s understanding of the facial planes, shadows and highlights, and observational drawing. She also documented her explorations very thoroughly in her research book, which shows her entire journey.



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