Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sean Cheetham - Portrait Painting & Nathan Fowkes - Sketching from Life [Notes and Review]

So last spring I've took 10 week courses from Sean Cheetham and Nathan Fowkes at Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Arts. Even though they are separate classes, I wanted to review them together since the learning kind of intertwined.

Sean Cheetham - "Paint what you see"
In Sean's Cheetham, we did 5 hour ala prima portraits. It felt good to walk out with a finished painting every class. Sean's process is very linear. Lay-in, shadows, half-tones, lights. He doesn't do construction or anything like that. He just draws what he sees. It was kind of cool because I focused on my intuition. No fancy terms or concepts. Just... does your painting look like the model's face?

Sean regularly brought a lot of his oil paintings and gouache paintings. He is a very down to earth guy who presents himself as so. Class size was kinda of big - around 20 people. But lots of good people in the class.

Nathan Fowkes - "Find the Simple Statement"
Nathan is a great teacher. He comes to classes always very prepared. He typically has 30 minute slideshow presentation at every class. He has a very clear lesson plan. The class is well worth the money, we even got a bonus week of class for this landscape plein air field trip. This particular class is called "Sketching from Life," and covered many subject matters include figure, portrait, landscape, animals, and flowers. He also teaches classes that just focus on a subject matter such as "Head Drawing." The classes rotate around, so check frequently to what he is teaching that term.

Nathan focused on having us find a "simple statement" on our class. It's kind of hard to explain, but take a look at his work and some of the class work I link to below to see for yourself. :)

Notes and Work from the term (Sean and Nathan)
week 10 + 11 
week 9
week 8 
week 6 + 7
week 5
week 4
week 3
week 1+ 2


  1. Chris,
    Thank you for writing such a detailed distillation of these two workshops. I'm sure I'll revisit your notes. Best of luck with your own artwork.

  2. No problem Shannon. You're very welcome.