Dr. Terry Cooper Vice-President, Academic – Medicine Hat College 1972 - 2010
The painting of Dr. Terry Cooper This is a 22"x 25" Pastel drawing of Dr. Terry Cooper Vice President Academic - Medicine Hat College. April 30, 2010 I am very honored to be commissioned for this piece of Dr. Terry Cooper. When Melinda Arthur - Medicine Hat College Executive Advisor approached me with this commission I was standing beside myself...As usual many ideas went through my mind on what the end project was going to look like. Besides having Dr. Cooper as the main character I wanted to bring in a part of the college. As I drove down to the college I was trying to picture what I would like to see in this painting as a reminder to Dr. Cooper. At first the Medicine Hat College sign with the college main building in the background. Then I thought about the beautiful trees on either side the South entrance road with the college in the back ground. I then parked my truck and started walking towards the front main entrance doors where the wonderful architectural design characteristic greeted me. Once I went inside I knew it was something from the inner building that I was going to use. Inside the main foyer there are these marvelous pillar benches spread throughout the main concourse. These majestic silver columns with their wooden round benches gave me the inspiration that I needed. Now I just needed to take pictures.....and of course I didn't bring my camera with me....Why would I bring my camera...? Once inside the college and upstairs in the Senior Administration offices. I met with Melinda where I was presented with several wonderful photos references of Dr. Cooper. One of him in his Convocation ( the Academic Regalia ) and the others of Dr. Cooper standing in different areas of the college. The one that caught my eye was the one of him sitting on the wooden bench with the center pillars. I went with the concept of creating a collage piece where Dr. Cooper would be in full color and a part or a smaller graphite drawing of him. Like I mentioned earlier, in this piece I did the main part, Dr. Cooper, in color then I started the graphite drawing of him. But for some crazy reason I started to add colors to the pillar. You see those pillar's, they have grey in them but also a light blue and a touch of torques blue. Which comes out near the highlight part or reflective part. Then the wooden bench and of course the marble floor with all it's beautiful rustic colors. Oh yeah and the tiles....Wow .there was so much color....!
About Joe Versikaitis " There is nothing like going to a live sport event. The excitement of the crowd and the drama of the players is a wonderful sideline to my creative inspiration. As I watch sports from a television’s point of view, I can only tell you who scored, who won, and very little on what the crowd was doing. The real excitement comes from actually being there. Observing the players as they demonstrate their talents and then listening to the reaction of the crowd as they cheer on their super stars. The cheering, booing, clapping, flag waving and the hackling are all elements of any game and therefore are my rendering interpretation. Throughout the years I have created different characters that I incorporate into the crowd of every of my paintings. One sample is the cheering character, the person who has his hands to his face yelling. The other one is the thunder stick person. But I believe the one I really like and I will use more often is the character with the red wig and a black mask. I saw this guy during a break at a Calgary flames game. He was walking towards me wearing this costume. A red afro wig, black mask, face painted red, a Flames jersey, black gym shorts, red leotards and white runners. Oh yeah he was also wearing a red cape and waving a Flames flag…Priceless... These are just a few. With the main character or in this case player it's pretty simple. I’m always looking for a certain pose or a distinguish look of that player. An example of this would be Ken Dryden’s standing and resting his hands on top of his goalie stick. That pose is his character pose. People associate Dryden to that pose. In my world, I would have to say the Theo Fleury painting, that stance is viewed as one of his signature stance. The passionate look just before a face off has to be one of my favorites pose. Do to the fact that A) I had the thrill to watch him play so many times and B) well after painting his portrait, on behalf of my family, it was an honor to meet Theo and his son Josh at the signing of the limited edition prints of " Theo #14 ".. This is what that stance means to me. I've always said that a good painting starts with good reference photography and the proper props. The props are the equipment. This equipment will show me what the fabric does or is doing under certain lights. The leather on the gloves, goalie pads, the cage of the goalie mask or the visor on the helmet each with their own define characteristic on how they reflect or absorb the lights and shadows. I have been fortunate enough to be able to take my own photographs at sport events in the past few years. Whether it is hockey, soccer or baseball I’m always fascinated by the action, the emotions (both players and the crowd) and the talent of these sport minded individuals. It is these individual frames in time and a moment in their lives that I wish to capture first in a photograph and then in a drawing or a painting. To render that pose forever.... I believe the final touch would be to have my image exhibited in the sports fan home.” Joe Versikaitis – Artist * 99 Turner Crescent * Medicine Hat, AB * T1R 4K1 * 403 527-3091 * Joev@shaw.ca * www.versikaitis.com
The Blank look
The Layout and the Use of Technology Over the years I have developed a process for my own portrait painting concepts. I have a habit, one of my good habits, often I will do a bunch of sketches of alterations and rough ideas. This usually helps me to get the over all sense of impact and mood of that particular piece. From the time I was in grade 6 to now, I have filled many sketch books with these wonderful ideas. Most of them were just that… ideas. But never the less I like to think that the sketching exercises will develop and keep my art sense sharp… In recent years, with all the technology that is out in the world. I as an artist have diverse way’s to create my work. The use of photos as references and the computer has helped me in many ways. The one way is cutting down on the time used to develop a composition. Yes sketching and drawing things out is a very good way to start a composition. But time is a factor and when I have the knowledge to create an image on the computer screen using photographs I will use it. The image comes to life in a split second. I can see the what the final image is going to look like. Using this technology in this manner, I can see the proper dimensions and how everything is going to fit on the canvas before I actually start to paint. Once I am satisfied of the layout I will create black and white print outs for me to use. I use these print as reference to measure the proper size and proportion which I then lightly draw onto my canvas or in this case paper.
The Color Test
I always like to do a color test before I start a project. This gives me the confident knowing that I have the right shades and hues to work with. It’s good practice to work from the proper props or materials in order to get the correct colors
My Mac and the easel go hand in hand……..
So here we go… I start by copying or transferring the photo to the paper. I’m using a pastel pencil as my tool of choice.
Now that I’m satisfied with this concept . I can begin my pastel drawing.…….
The Base Coat…
Putting on the base starts the process to creating Terry’s face. The easiest way to describe this is to think of the paper as a room in your house that needs a coat of paint. You start with the primer coat then the first coat and then the second coat. The more paint you add to the wall the better it looks.
With Terry it’s more about the shading, highlights and bringing out the detail of his face. The more pastels I applied the better, I don’t want to take away from Terry but the better the piece looks….lol
The detail of the face
Even though Terry wears glasses. I like to leave them off until I’m satisfied in the progress of the looks and closeness of his face. I will be blending the face throughout the whole process to get an even or smooth skin texture.
His wire framed glasses are put in place. Now I can keep adding more pastel to areas of his face.
Even though I had the privilege of having the gown in front of me. Mixing the colors was a bit of a challenge. In the photo, because of the flash photography, I can see a slight pinkish highlight. But, when the gown is in my studio and in front of me I didn’t see that. I know I am supposed to draw what’s in front of me but the pink highlighted part’s gave the gown a certain characteristic presences that I wanted to capture in the drawing.
The Gown continued…
In order for the pastel/charcoal not to get onto the face , I turned the drawing upside down so that the charcoal dust will fall onto the face surface. I often will work this way on a piece. It get’s my mind off the principle of what I think is there to what is really there. I don’t see the hat as being a hat I see it as different shapes and values of colors.
I spend a little bit of time on this not too much. I just want to get a feel for the gown.
A little bit of background color to get the mood set up.
The Graphite Drawing
Using a 4H pencil I lightly sketch out Terry sitting on the pillar bench.
I try not to get too detail or heavy with the lead. On the left you can see the black and white print out.
The Graphite Drawing continued…
Using charcoal grey I start to bring in the shading and highlighted parts.
Throughout my experiences I have developed a practice of using my left hand when ever possible to work on my art. I find it interesting sometimes of what kind of mess I’ve created. Here to save time I am applying the charcoal with my left and use the smudge stick with my right.
The Graphite Drawing continued…
With the base shading and highlighted part done. I can start on the detail features. In the next few slides I will demonstrate all the steps …
The Graphite Drawing continued…
The Graphite Drawing continued…
I hope I didn’t bore you.
The different work in each photo was was about 20 minutes to ½ hour of work. To create the highlights I use a Kneaded eraser. This easer is call Kneaded for the simple fact that you can shape or form it into any shape you want by kneading it into shape. I can make a small point like the width of a sharpen pencil lead to the size of a 2" cube...
In the next few pages I will show what it took to create the pillars.
The Beautiful Pillar
The pillars was the fun part. Not that any of this was not fun. But the pillar brought me back to the basics of art. Back to my younger days of learning how light reflects on different material’s and objects. Finding values, shading and the hues.
I started creating the metal pillar by adding grey to the outside and blending it in towards the middle. Trying to leave the middle part white. I noticed that drawing straight lines is really not my forte. So I put down this blue masking tape to stop the grey from contaminating the rest of the piece. I’ve used this blue masking tape for many years and the reason I use it is because it’s not good for anything else but quick paint jobs. It’s stickiness seems to evaporate the second I reel it off it’s spool. Lets just say I don’t use this tape to cover the trim on the windows before I paint a room in the house. By the time I dip my brush in the paint pale and come up to the window, the tape has fallen off…Craaappy!
The Beautiful Pillar continued…
By applying masking tape to keep my lines as straight and clean as possible. I can over paint and still not affect the underneath of the paper
Using and electric easer I remove the center part of the pillar. This is the shiniest part of the pillar.
After adding the light grey and smudging it I can start to add the darker grey to the outer edge.
I usually use a smudge stick to blend but in this case I used my finger.
The Beautiful Pillar continued…
The way the pillar is designed . There is a shinny part along to edge all the way to the top of the pillar. With a straight edge ruler, I hold it about an 1/8" of an inch away from the edge. Then using the kneaded eraser I erase a swath all the way up the pillar.
Close up of the edge
Using a little bit of yellow and light brown I can add some texture to grain of the wood
Once I take the tape off you can see a fairly straight edge. a lot straighter then what I can create by freehand...
Remember I like to work upside down a lot. In this case it's because I don't want the fine dust of the purples to settle on Terry's face.
I work the values of the cap much the same as I did the Graphite drawing. I work lights in first then work in the darker purples. I keep repeating this process until I’m satisfied.
The high lighted parts is added last. This a pink and white mixture. First going over the spots with white then following with pink.
The Cap continued…
I added more background color in order for me to continue with the next step. Which is going to be the tassel.
I worked the light brown’s and yellow’s to create golden looking strings.
The final steps I added bits of pure white to create highlights on reflected light on the tassel.
As I go along I’ll be adding more and more colors of green, brown, black and cream colors to the background.
onto the gown and tie
Again I work the values of the gown much the same as I did the cap. I work lights in first then work in the darker purples. I keep repeating this process until I’m satisfied.
The Gown continued..
With the gown basically finish I can go back to the pillar and finish off the bench with some light and dark brown. Then I’ll start on the floor.
The Marble Floor
I added some cream color pastel to the outer perimeter of Terry to break up the contrast between the full color part to the graphite part.
I will start with a light color yellow as a base coat for the floor area.
Then a bit of a light brown base coat for the area just in under of Terry’s feet.
I keep working these colors by adding lights to dark yellow and browns. I then through some grey for good measures..
The Marble Floor continued…
I worked the colors of Yellow ochre, Burnt Siena, a splash of Yellow Light, some grey as a wash in areas, and to give it some punch I added Cadmium Red and some swirls of Magenta. All this for the floor to get the proper combination.
I added the tiles in a light yellowish with a touch of cream. When I do my sport photography work I usually will create black and white photography in Photoshop. Then I will add the color photo underneath using layers . With the black and white layer on top, I will erase parts of that layer to make the underneath photo show through..
The Marble Floor continued…
The reflection of the pillar on the marble floor gives this piece depth. A little bit of white and grey is all it takes…
Before I signed the piece I gave Terry’s shoes a bit of highlights. Here you can see his right shoe and the white parts of highlight.
With signatures I always feel that I want to give the viewer a bit of a challenge finding it. I want my signature to blend into the piece not come out so strong that it overwhelms the piece.
Dr. Terry Cooper
With Dr. Cooper’s painting I wanted to show a piece of the college where he had taught for so many years at. Having a full color pose beside that of a graphite pose. Was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. The pillar adheres the two contrast together very well. The cap with it’s shinny tassel leads the viewer to the wonderful gown. I also like the un finished style I choice in the bottom right hand side. It compliments the marble and tile flooring…
Through tried and true techniques, the most challenging aspect of portrait painting is to capture a real likeness of that particular person. The most fulfilling aspect of all is the delivery of the finished piece to find a pleased patron or a pleased parent. Just knowing that I have capture the likeness of their child or loved one makes me want to continue learning and creating…
Joe Versikaitis – Artist firstname.lastname@example.org or www.versikaitis.com