September 12, 2016
Member's Demonstration by Dottie Geisert


What an amazing start to our new season.  We had record breaking attendance − 44 members, plus 4 guests (two joined EAA) − to see our member’s demonstration by Dottie Geisert.  We thank Dottie for her presentation, “The Portrait, how I see it.  The approach, techniques & media.”  In college, Dottie majored in Portraiture and you can tell that this is still one of her most favorite subjects to talk about.

The first thing she said is “what to think about?”.  Whether you are starting from a photograph or live model, think about where to place the subject, light against dark, the background.  Her approach is to first draw in the basic shapes, using two intersecting circles, the second circle intersecting the first at the nose.  This is followed by pencil lines through the center of the eyes, bottom of the nose and center of the mouth.  A tip....the inside corner of the eye lines up with the nostril and the center of the eyes line up with the mouth corners.  As Dottie says, it helps if you studied anatomy, bone and muscle structure.  Her three page handout is extremely helpful and here for a copy.

Dottie stressed a key point.... “think shapes” not features.  She said that shadow shapes help form the eye.  Another tip....if your subject wears glasses, paint the eyes as if the glasses don’t exist and paint them in later.  She noted that if there is a fast change of surface in your subject, you have a highlight.  However, she finds the softness of reflective light more beautiful.  Dottie briefly touched on color, a subject she studied for a year in college.  She defines ‘value’ as the lightness or darkness and ‘intensity’ as brightness or dullness of a color. change the intensity, add it’s compliment.  She noticed that children had more green in their skin color.  She pointed this out to us in a number of painting by the old masters.

Dottie encourages her students to learn by looking at portraits painted by the old masters, like
da Vinci, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Seurat, Jean-Baptiste.  She shared and reviewed several images with us and then discussed the various portraits she created over the years.  Dottie left us with this thought “If you think shapes, you can paint and draw anything!”  She concluded her presentation by doing a sketch using Joan Milligan as her model.


We also thank our hosts for the evening, Maureen Philistine and Annette Fiorelli.  We enjoyed a table full of delicious treats − banana-chocolate marble bread, apple spiced muffins, cheesy potatoes, cookies with cannoli dip, assorted veggies, cheese, crackers and several dips − all exceptional and there was enough for everyone!