Imagination Station: Anatomy

I really enjoy teaching artistic anatomy and one reason I'm such a big fan is because of invention. Anatomy is a rich source for ideas and it's quite fun to sit down with a pencil and let your imagination run free.

Anatomy forms, especially structural ones, inspire me to invent new ones based on existing ones. And that builds my drawings or creative process in an organic way.

Artistic anatomy is not only a great vehicle for learning artistic principles, it improves your drawing ability. It also develops 3-D visualization skills and working from memory. All three factors: strong drawing, visualization and memory greatly aid invention.

And because we're designed for movement one can't help but appreciate how the forms come together in a beautiful rhythmic way.  A good artistic anatomy instructor will help you see how these forces come together as one form flows into another. There are a number of great books to aid in our study of human anatomy and design.  One of my favorites is Human Anatomy: Design and Invention by Mark Hampton. Another is Complete Guide to Life Drawing by Gottfried Bammes ( what a cool name ). Other Artistic Anatomy classics include books by Burne Hogarth, George Bridgeman, Eliott Goldfinger and Robert Beverly Hale. They each provide their own perspectives and are worth looking into.

For me artistic anatomy is about learning to see in new ways so we can draw with more insight and expression. Below are some quick snaps taken with my iphone of a few imaginary friends. Note the anatomy take-offs in some of the drawings, just having fun with a pencil!

If you're interested in learning artistic anatomy or taking my other drawing and painting workshops this summer please go to the new section on my website News & Updates for more info. Thanks for stopping by and I welcome your comments on my blog!

Travels, Workshops and More...

I just returned from a three week trip to the east coast. Highlights included visits with family and friends, the Barnes Museum in Philadelphia, the Met in NYC, a quick stop in Boston and a week in Maine with visits to Mohegan Island and Portland.  I'm lucky too! My good friend Peter gave me a beautiful travel guitar and Miles Orvell, husband of my dear cousin Gabriella, gave me two autographed copies of his books on photography. Welcome additions for my soul and my library! : - )

The Barnes Museum is very impressive. Despite the controversies surrounding their move I think they kept true to the vision and spirit of Albert Barnes in how he wanted to exhibit the collection.  If you're a fan of modern art the Barnes is truly a must-see. It has a an extensive world class collection of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings by artists like Matisse, DeChirico, Cezanne, Demuth, and many others.

What is most interesting and delightful is the idiosyncratic way Barnes chose to display his collection alongside all manner of decorative iron and tin work, folk art, drawings, religious paintings, iconography and furniture from different eras as well as sculpture. The museum itself is an architectural gem and I loved the aesthetic of combining different textures of granite, wood and other natural materials along with " naturescapes " throughout the building. 

Next on my journey was a family reunion and a little people-watching and sight-seeing in New York. I  made my way over to the Met where I spent an evening unexpectedly lingering in the greco-roman sculpture hall. I gained a new appreciation for Roman portraiture, they're stunning in their realism and life force. Paintings and other artworks that caught  my eye this time around include A Man Holding a Jug by Michael Sweerts, a drawing of a horse by Sargent, mosaics and the simplicity of Puvis de Chavannes. Such a great museum, gems to discover and rediscover each time you go!

Maine is a beautiful state and I'd like to go back again. I've never been to a place with such an abundance of waterways! Towns like Wiscasset have that great New England look and feel. And cities like Lewiston, with its converted and abandoned old brick factory buildings, remind us of New England's industrial might and past. I liked Portland and Mohegan Island best but hiking in places like Blue Mountain and touring the countryside is hard to beat too. Monhegan Island became famous as an artist colony hosting the likes of Edward Hopper, Wyeth and many others. It's small, easy to hike and picturesque. It seems a painting was  waiting to be painted at every bend. I didn't get to paint but I hiked, sketched and explored along Mohegan's craggy shores. Here's a few quick sketches including the lighthouse ( I think Hopper did a few of these ).  : - )

There's still time to sign up for for upcoming workshops this summer. I'm teaching drawing, painting and monotype! Below are links for more info.

Portland Art Museum: Drawing from the Masters ( July 16, 18, 25 and August 1st ). An opportunity to draw and learn directly from masterworks in the Gods and Heroes exhibit this summer! 

PNCA: Big Brush Portrait Workshop ( July 14 - 18 ). Four day portrait intensive with a focus on finishing a convincing portrait study in 3 hours, direct painting and study of the methods used by masters such as 

Multnomah Art Center: The Portrait in Monotype  ( August 22nd ). Try something new and learn the basics of monotype printmaking at MAC's, known as the painterly print, to create rich expressive 

Multnomah Art Center: Landscape Painting Workshop ( August 25 -29 ). 

Portland Art Museum: Painting Demo ( July 18 & 25th from 2 - 5 pm ). I will be working onsite the Portland Art Museum creating a mastercopy painting from one of the masterworks in the exhibit Gods & Heroes. Stop by and say hello, talk shop and see a great exhibit. 

If you're interested in studying privately with me please contact me about Mentored Drawing Studio.

Have a great summer!

Portraits: From Pencil to Drawing with a Brush

I'm teaching another 4 week portrait workshop at Caballero Studio in SE Portland starting in April. We're going to continue our focus on structure and likeness with a greater emphasis on smaller forms and details. The drawing studies will be longer and we'll move from color temperature drawing ( Aux Quatre Crayon ) to drawing with a brush using thin applications of oil paint in monochrome using just one or two colors.

I greatly enjoy the transparent monochrome approach because it's an open method that's very forgiving and somewhat akin to watercolor. Thin washes of color are applied over the white of the canvas to create the image. Darks and mid-tones can be rubbed out if they get too dark or the paint too heavy.  The image stays malleable throughout the painting session.

Using a minimum of materials transparent monochrome oil painting is also a great way to practice brush handling and transition from drawing to opaque or alla prima painting.

Two artists who paint transparent monochromes as finished paintings are Aaron Westerberg and Richard Schmid. Here are examples of their work. >>>

For more info about the upcoming portrait workshop and the next open house at Caballero Studio please click below:

I'm excited to announce that I'll be teaching at                  Pacific Northwest College of Art for their continuing education program.   Stop by on First Thursday! Their newly renovated Beaux Arts Building has been the talk of the town.

I will also be spring quarter at teaching figure drawing/anatomy and portrait painting on Monday's at Multnomah Art Center.

Sara, portrait sketch in oil by EF

PNCA Commons, Beaux Arts meets Modern.







Portrait Drawing Inside & Out

I’m teaching at Lisa Caballero's lovely studio at Towne Storage on SE 3rd and Ankeny. Whatever your style Portrait Drawing Inside & Out will help give your drawings more depth and capture the spirit of your sitter. Good for painters too! 

Lisa is also teaching So You Think You Can’t Draw. It’s a fun class for anyone starting out or wanting to refresh their understanding of drawing fundamentals. Highly recommended!

If you have questions feel free to email me. Or, if you wish to go ahead and register please contact lisa. More info below.

life drawing by EF
Portrait Drawing Inside & Out  Learn the fundamentals of portrait draftsmanship with an emphasis on gesture, structure and anatomy. Understand facial character by understanding key landmarks, basic structure and the unique shapes that create a likeness of the model. Artists will also learn how to give a three-dimensional quality to their drawing by understanding how light affects the forms on the face. Drawings will be done in pencil, charcoal and aux quatre crayon ( 4 colors ) on toned paper.
Work in a professional studio with great lighting and vantage points for drawing the model. The small class size is ideal for all drawing levels and for painters wishing to advance their craft.
Dates: Wednesday’s from 6:30pm - 9pm, Feb. 25th - March 18th. ( 4 sessions ) Tuition: $130 
To register visit:
Location: Caballero Studio is at Towne Storage - SE 3rd Ave and Ankeny

Aux Quatre Crayon? See my blog post here.

Notes on Teaching

I'm happy to announce that I'm teaching portrait drawing and painting as well as Artistic Anatomy at Multnomah Art Center in Portland.  I've given a lot thought lately to gesture, which in my eyes is the lifeblood of drawing.

As I mention to students: you can have a beautifully drawn or painted figure but if the gesture is missing you're not telling an important part of the story!

Gesture isn't about detail but about striving to see how the parts relate to the whole, and how to convey the rhythms and balance of opposites that are so striking about the human figure. These rhythms, without much detail, allow us to recognize a neighbor in conversation from a block away Or by their walk on the way to getting the morning newspaper.

It takes practice to grasp gesture and one of the best ways to do this is gesture drawing! Fast intuitive drawing informs our slower more analytical styes of drawing in a very deep way. And builds confidence and a sure hand, as well as inspire us to catch the dynamic of the models' poses.

Two books I recommend highly are Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators by Mike Matessi and Figure Drawing: Design and Invention by Michael Hampton. The latter also being an excellent anatomy book for artists.

Whether at the local coffeshop or in the figure studio making lots of fast intuitive drawings with a keen eye on seeing the gesture gets you there and is fun. I have pads full of gesture drawings, here are a few from the mix. Enjoy!



Wintercoat Exhibit

Wintercoat: a group show

11/13/14 - 1/15/15

I'm exhibiting at Clatsop Community College in Astoria, OR for WIntercoat: Art Meets Literature. The exhibit was put together by writer Loretta Rosenberg and her artist husband, artist Ben Rosenberg. Loretta is a published novelist and wrote this short story for artists to create a work of art. The aim was not so much to illustrate it but to express how they responded to the story. Each artist was asked to write a quick summary of their process as well. Below is my view:

The story Winter Coat, written by Loretta Rosenberg, is evocative and in someways mysterious. You never quite know where it’s going next. The characters and place are rich, dark, like-able and unlikable. It feels like it was set in the past but is also with us now. These qualities inspired my painting for the exhibit. Beginning with memories and thinking of the story, the painting evolved until the balance of opposites “ felt right“.The most difficult part, which perhaps should have been the easiest, was a title for my piece. Since Winter Coat is about memories, history, endings and beginnings, the title is “ Little Green “. Loretta’s readers will recognize it as the namesake of her first published novel. Endings and beginnings, do we become little or big as time goes on?

For more information about the exhibit and to read the short story Wintercoat please visit Going to Astoria is also mighty fine to visit, one of my favorite and unique cities on the Oregon coast.

Aux Quatre Crayon - Drawing Children

One way I strive to get better at painting is to practice drawing. Besides the versatility of being able to use different materials, I can experiment with working fast or slow, try new techniques and unlike painting, it's ready to go. One drawing approach I enjoy is I aux quatre crayon. In french it means using only four colors: white, red, brown and black. Typically it's drawn with pastels, conte crayon or charcoal on toned paper. I was inspired to to do this after looking at drawings by Peter Paul Rubens.  His masterful use of just 4 colors makes a drawing really come to life and is a great way to explore the idea of saying a lot with a little. Below is an example of his work:

Nicholas by Peter Paul Reubens. An example of aux quatre crayon ( white, red, brown & black ).

Nicholas by Peter Paul Reubens. An example of aux quatre crayon ( white, red, brown & black ).

Another great way to improve that is tried and true is to copy the work of master artists. With this in mind I practiced aux quatre crayon by translating a painting of the great english portraitist Henry Raeburn.

After Henry Raeburn, aux quatre crayon by Eduardo Fernandez.

After Henry Raeburn, aux quatre crayon by Eduardo Fernandez.

Another example:

After Henry Raeburn by Eduardo Fernandez

After Henry Raeburn by Eduardo Fernandez

Later I used pastel pencils to create this portrait of my honorary nephew Henry for my friends Susan and Joe. Whether drawing or painting, my goal is to present my subject in their best light and to bring pleasure to those who commissioned the work. Each medium, painting or drawing, informs the other and I find this greatly rewarding.

Portrait of Henry, aux quatre crayon by Eduardo Fernandez

Portrait of Henry, aux quatre crayon by Eduardo Fernandez

My New Website...

Howdy all, just posting to my newly redesigned website for the first time. It's been awhile in coming but feels good to finally bring it home. 

Rather than update my posts from Blogger I've decided to begin anew. I will bring in some items from my last blog but essentially I'm starting over... new website, new look, and a new focus.

Up till now my work has been in different genres but over the last few months I've decided to focus on portrait painting. It's challenging, hard to do well, and has a number of aspects to it that make for interesting and gratifying work. Soul searching these last few months made me realize I needed more focus not just in my work but in my life as well.

You'll notice the portfolio on my website is pared way down. I'll post other examples of my work in the blog, but will still focus on my experience in the world of art especially portrait painting!

Thanks for stopping by, hope to catch up with you soon


The Philosopher ( aka The Farmer ) by Maxfied Parrish - Portraits come in all interesting ways, shapes and sizes. I like this painting by Maxfield Parrish! Color harmony, great design and superb draftsmanship all come together to depict this interesting character. Like the farmer in this painting I've been sitting on the proverbial fence thinking things through too.  &:^ ) 

The Philosopher ( aka The Farmer ) by Maxfied Parrish - Portraits come in all interesting ways, shapes and sizes. I like this painting by Maxfield Parrish! Color harmony, great design and superb draftsmanship all come together to depict this interesting character. Like the farmer in this painting I've been sitting on the proverbial fence thinking things through too.  &:^ )