Friday Figures: Learning From a New Master

Drawing the drawing demo; Mitsuno Reedy demonstrates charcoal drawing technique at a demo in Midwest City.

Drawing at the drawing demo; Mitsuno Reedy demonstrates charcoal portraiture in Midwest City, while I sketch from the front row. Moleskine 5″ x 7″, mechanical pencil.

Mitsuno Reedy has long been a shining star in the art firmament of Oklahoma; her portraits are in hot demand at the top government and corporate level and her paintings hang in the State Capitol’s permanent collection. Clearly, she is doing something right. But a couple of years ago she confessed to feeling a little stuck. She wanted to improve, to grow and refresh her already considerable craft.

So she went back to school.

At a time of life when most folks retire,  Mitsuno enrolled in a rigorous 4-year program at a Philadelphia atelier, pursuing an academic, classical art education. She put everything in storage, rented her house, and drove east to become, as she put it, “a true artist”.

Two years into her studies, her work has grown by leaps and bounds. There’s a new power in her hands and her work is glorious. “As artists, our mission is to see what no one else can see”, she said in her painting workshop in OKC today, where a group of us struggled with the classically radical oil painting technique. Tomorrow we’ll tackle figure painting. Hard to say what’s more inspiring: painting with Mitsuno, or Mitsuno herself.

Happy Friday.

Let me stress that this is MY own little stab at painting a classical still life in oils. And that it took about two hours for me to get this far, okay? It was another half hour before I screwed up the nerve to add color. In flat planes, by the way. That's the key to this type of work- everything reduced to angles and planes. Mitsuno said, "Draw everything with no name, just shapes and lines". And so we did.  Raw umber thinned with turpentine on gray-toned cotton canvas, 16" x 20", applied with a long-handled very small filbert bristle brush, held out forward at the end of the arm like a fencer's epee.

Let me say that this is MY own little painting and an honest stab at producing a classical still life. It took nearly two hours for me to get this far. The key to this type of painting is slowing down and abstracting the world into angles and planes. Mitsuno said, “Draw everything with no name, just shapes and lines”. And so we did.
(Raw umber thinned with turpentine applied with a long-handled #4 filbert held out at the end of the arm like a fencer’s épée.)

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About zeladoniac

Debby Kaspari travels the world with sketchbook and binoculars, drawing and painting in wild and not-so-wild landscapes. Norman, Oklahoma is her home base, and she lives there with her tropical ecologist husband and a mackerel tabby named Gizmo.
This entry was posted in Art, Artists, Drawing, figure drawing, Oklahoma, painting, Sketching, teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Friday Figures: Learning From a New Master

  1. Corienne says:

    Wonderful! Love it!

  2. Chris Marsh says:

    Thanks for sharing a great story! I looked at Mitsuno’s portraits – they’re amazing!

  3. KnitNell says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this Post. I hadn’t come across Mitsuno before and it was interesting to see something new – so thank you for the link to her page. Your sketch of the drawing demo is delightful.

  4. Oh my and go girl! I’d have such a time as still life’s bore me to death as a subject. How to paint and become part of something with no love attached to it? Perhaps not putting a name to anything and going for the shapes and angles would help! Can’t wait to see more of your workshop studies :)

  5. chataboutart says:

    Reblogged this on chataboutart and commented:
    Wow, lovely sketches.

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