Charcoal portrait of a woman
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The Vagabond Artist On the Road – Portraits, Portraits, Portraits!

As the Vagabond Artist on the Road, portraits were the ongoing theme this past week on the road. Last week was the second week of our travel and spent it in Sedona. I focused on making up lost time in the Milan Art Institute Program since I really couldn’t do much while on the road. I did have my sketchbook and you can see what I was able to do when traveling.

Sketching from the Passenger Seat

I typically do most of the driving, so sketching isn’t always an option. My husband will drive on open roads and that gave me a little opportunity to sketch.

I tried to capture the landscape on I-40, but the scene changes too quickly when you’re driving 75 miles per hour.

Pencil sketch of the view on the road

So, I focused on something that wasn’t changing – my husband.

Pencil sketch of a man driving a car

Then I decided to home in on the details of his ear! Little did I know it would be good practice for what comes next.

Pencil sketch of an ear


Photograph of the sun setting in Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is a magical place, and the scenery is out of this world. Unfortunately, I opted to spend most mornings working through the Milan Art Institute’s lessons for the week. I was able to get one hike in, though, and walked through the local art galleries. I even came across art for sale that was painted by the Milans!

Charcoal Portraits

The lesson I was working on was built on the previous session with a cardboard box still life, as shown in my previous post. The instructor was discussing how everything in life is either shaped like a box or an elliptical. This concept was shown in the structure of the face being a series of boxes.

The first portrait I chose was of a male, I think maybe an actor, but I can’t quite place him. I don’t normally do male faces so I thought this would get me out of my comfort zone. I haven’t worked much with charcoal, and it has advantages, but presents challenges as well. The charcoal is easily moved on the surface and that is both an advantage and a challenge.

Charcoal portrait of a man

The second portrait I chose was supposed to be Cillian Murphy. He turned out looking more like a middle-aged woman!

Charcoal portrait of Cillian Murphy

Both above portraits were done with a piece of cardboard serving as a support. You can see the lines of cardboard coming through.

Not too happy with the first two portraits, I went on to what I was more comfortable with – a female face. I was happy with how this one turned out.

Charcoal portrait of a young woman


Creating art in off-normal surroundings can be done but takes a willingness to commit to doing it even if the set-up isn’t ideal.

Every action, even if the results aren’t perfect, is an opportunity to learn and grow. I will continue to post my progress and you can see if my skills show an improvement through my efforts in the Mastery Program.

Thanks for following me and I hope I’ve inspired you to take up a creative practice.

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