Charcoal Portrait – Sarum Studio

'Callum'. Charcoal on paper, life size.

‘Callum’. Charcoal on paper, life size.

For the third year running, I’m back at Sarum Studio summer school. Friends have questioned why I keep returning… well, firstly because an artist never stops learning. Secondly though, it does me a lot of good being around other people for a while. It can be a pretty isolated existence working alone for the majority of the time, so bouncing ideas off other people can be really motivational.

To start things off, I decided to work in charcoal. I’ve been painting a lot lately, and I thought that charcoal would enable me to concentrate on accurate drawing a little more. I think it’s a beautiful medium in its own right too, and there is a lot of room for improvement in my handling and mark-making.

So, here is my portrait from the first week. The sitter has a beautiful, androgynous face – quite different in repose and when animated. I could really imagine his face being one that would have appealed to Sargent, who would have created something utterly captivating, while giving every impression of being entirely effortless. Something that I can’t claim for my own drawing.