Tag Archives: contemporary figurative art

Back to work! Portrait of Daria, second sitting.

Work in progress portrait of Daria second sitting close up April 9 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI took an eight-day Make-Cation, where all I did was bricolage and assemblage.

Work in progress portrait of Daria April 9 2019 by Suzanne ForbesIt was so relaxing and fun! So I was strong and ready to dive in the second sitting with Daria.

To the left you can see the portrait about halfway through our second sitting, after an hour or so.

It is easier painting someone you know well, someone you have spent hundreds of hours with. It doesn’t actually feel easier, but better results happen without being aware of how.

So this challenging foreshortened facial view, with Daria’s head bent over her ipad, and part of her face obscured by her hanging hair, was very doable.

 

I expect we will finish in one more sitting!

You can see the first sitting here and Daria’s website and Instagram here. Her witchy boots are starting to emerge, below! I still need to paint in her jewelry and tattoos.

As always, this portrait is painted alla prima (without any preliminary drawing or underpainting), in straight-from-the-tube acrylic mixed only on the canvas. I am continuing to tone my canvas with acrylic paint to an even 50% grey before painting and absolutely loving the results as it increases my speed even more. The large painting seen below is about five hours total work.Work in progress portrait of Daria second sitting April 9 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

More Valentines beauty from Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin!

Biszhop Blaczk and Martini Cherry Furter at Red Hot Love Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 2019 by Suzanne Forbes detailMore drawings from the most recent Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin production from LaLa Vox and Syren Joey, at the beautiful Ballhaus Berlin.

Above, Martini Cherry Furter in sharpest 80’s styles and BiszhopBlaczkx in a Pierrot collar and gold trunks. Below, Martini’s amazing performance, which included the audience setting her on fire.Martini Cherry Furter performs at Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

Biszhop Blaczk in sarong at Red Hot Love Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesWe started with gesture drawings, which I love.

I added a bit of detail and color afterwards to this gesture pose of BiszhopBlaczkx in a sarong.

Valentina Demonia at Red Hot Love Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesLoving the Vampirella look from Valentina Demonia, who I will never tire of drawing.

Cannot thank you enough, @lalavox and @syrenjoey and @ballhausberlin!

and thank you, always, to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make art!

Previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin posts:

Red Hot Love number one

Kabarett der Namenlosen one

and two

Hansel and Gretel

Baba Yaga, posts one and two

Viva Lamore, à la Baroque

Betty Fvck, Trixie Tassels and More, Berlin Burlesque Week

Broken Baroque

Victorian Spiritualist edition with Valentina Demonia and Syren Joey

More Victorian Spiritualist edition

Weimar Berlin, with Le Pustra and Bridge Markland

More Weimar Berlin

and my first Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with Viva Lamore, Syren Joey and live painting outdoors!

Jo Pollux shoots Sadie Lune’s pregnancy photos in our salon!

Jo Pollux and Sadie Lune at Sadies pregancy photoshoot Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne ForbesGetting a chance to draw these two artists as they work was a dream collaboration.

Ace photog Jo Pollux shooting Sadie Lune Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne ForbesBerlin photographer and film-maker Jo Pollux has photographed Sadie Lune so often, and so beautifully; they work together in easy harmony.Jo Pollux shooting Sadie Lune at Sadies pregancy photoshoot Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

Sadie knows Jo will make amazing images, and Jo is gonna get the shot no matter what!

Being trusted to be present and document their process was such a privilege.

I have painted them together and drawn both Sadie and Jo often, but this was a whole new level.

Sadie is VERY pregnant with her second child! Nonetheless, she is a very experienced model and the vibe was extremely chill. She wore several pairs of SUPER high heeled Fluevogs!Sadie Lune at her pregancy photoshoot Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

I didn’t plan for the drawings of Jo to come out all anime-superheroine, but I was working with a new type of pen and really working fast!
Jo Pollux in our library Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne Forbes
I’m super grateful to Jo and Sadie for letting me share this moment.Sadie Lune pastel portrait detail Berlin Feb 13 by Suzanne Forbes

Jo Pollux shooting Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI did a pastel drawing of Sadie posing on the couch en déshabillé but you’ll have to go to my flickr to see it!

Sadie’s Amazon wish list for the new baby is here if you’d like to help a single parent working artist out!

If you want to follow her work here’s her Insta, her twitter and her (NSFW) website.

Jo’s website is here. You can pre-order Jo’s exquisitely beautiful erotic photobook in collaboration with Sadie, “As You Wish My Lady”, here. (NSFW 🙂

My work documenting queer culture in Berlin is made possible by my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make art. 

You can help, for a little as a dollar/euro a month! My live documentary art is licensed Creative Commons and free for all to share and print, you can read about how that works here.

Archiving some very early portrait paintings.

Portrait of John Talbot Wallis by Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel Ketchum fall 1989One of the very first portraits I ever painted.

In late summer or early Fall 1989 I did this painting of my beloved, cherished friend John Talbot Wallis. He was staying with me at my little basement apartment in St. Paul, trying to kick heroin. It didn’t work out for him, and he went back to NY and relapsed immediately. I desperately hope he is still alive. Last I heard, in the mid-90s, he was very deep in addiction and had apparently lost most of his teeth. The odds aren’t good, but we junkies are tough as cockroaches. I’ve said a prayer for him every night for almost thirty years.

This was one of the earliest portraits I ever painted, though I had drawn quite a few by this point. To get ready for going back to art school full time, I was taking a painting class in downtown St. Paul, an extension class from the Minneapolis College of Design, with a wonderful woman professor.

I started out painting in acrylic, though there is tremendous bias against acrylics in the figurative and especially portrait painting community.

I really appreciated my teacher’s willingness to let me use acrylics. I was afraid I would have problems with my sobriety if I used oil paints, which involve solvents. I had never been an inhalant abuser, but I was less than a year sober and I wasn’t taking any chances!

I liked acrylics and it turned they are perfectly suited for my run-and-gun, punk rock style of painting, so I’ve never looked back. Detail portrait of John Talbot Wallis by Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel Ketchum Fall 1989My palette was a lot more Fauvist early on, partly because I didn’t know how to mix colors or how to see color temperature in shadows.

I had never intended to be a painter – I was gonna be a comic penciller, and have colorists to take care of that!  So I had paid little attention to my color theory class at Parsons and stubbornly avoided working in color as much as possible. It was really an accident that led me to becoming a painter, that the only class in the extension program that Fall was a painting class, and that I loved my teacher.  I also just really love Fauvism, and I still think my early paintings are terrific examples.

This portrait of John, an homage to The Green Stripe aka Portrait of Madame Matisse, is probably one of the top ten likenesses I’ve ever achieved.

This IS John, who I met at Stuyvesant a day or two after my fourteenth birthday and was close friends and sometimes friends with benefits with til I was 23. He was literally the jolliest drunk I have ever met, a vibrant, loving, wildly creative guy without a mean bone in his body. He was a drummer, an artist, a rapper, and a lover who adored pleasing women.

He turned me on to NWA and The Tubes, and we walked thousands of miles together over Manhattan Island in the 80s. We logged thousands of hours hanging out, writing graffiti, drinking beer, roaming the city or watching MTV. We used to do acid and heroin and watch Jaws 3 in 3D with the colors on the television reversed, laughing hysterically. He had a heart the size of Central Park. Merciful Goddess, I hope he is still alive.

detail Portrait of Brad Geiken by Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel Ketchum Fall 1990Another redhead, fellow MCAD painter Brad Geiken.

I painted this in the fall of 1990, I think, when Brad and I were together. Brad was a terrific, terrific painter and a really nice boyfriend. He looks mean here but that is the fault of me as the painter, not the man. Or he was mad because I was a shitty girlfriend and he deserved better. He had the most beautiful red hair.

I am incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.

Until today, no record of these paintings existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.

Work in Progress: a second portrait of Shakrah.

Shakrah WIP by Suzanne Forbes April 2018 detail 2Last week I actually worked with two sitters in one day!

For the first time in at least a decade. Can’t believe I had the energy! In the afternoon I did a mixed media study of Anna, and in the evening began this second portrait of Shakrah.

Shakrah WIP by Suzanne Forbes April 2018For this one she is elegant in black, holding a fabulous microphone from the 30s.

Shakrah WIP by Suzanne Forbes April 2018 detailI started with a canvas toned gray, as I learned this year that Sargent always used a grey canvas.

It really helps, just like the toned gray and tan papers I’ve been using for my drawings! Starting with a midtone somehow makes everything easier.

I also drew a quick sketch with charcoal on the canvas to begin, which I haven’t done since college.

I usually paint completely alla prima, directly on the canvas with no underpainting or underdrawing at all. But I wanted to get the feathers in!

Shakrah’s headpiece, which she made, is so tall I knew I had to adjust the proportions and figure placement!

You can see the first portrait I made of her here. I am thrilled to be working with Shakrah again as she is excellent company as weil as visually inspiring and the sittings fly by.

 

Work in Progress: a second sitting for Q and Companion.

q and p Jan 2 2018 by Suzanne ForbesFinally got a chance to have another sitting with our friend Quinn and her companion.

CU WIP Q and P by Suzanne Forbes Jan 02 2018Who I refer to as P. or PASR, which is a private joke between two women nearly of an age. We are both much alike and extremely different, she and I.

We’ve had uncannily similar traumas, and we each have our own ways of surviving them. She is completely an LA girl, and I am a New Yorker for life, but we are both robust survivors, absurdly resilient and determinedly creative.

I posed them in the library instead of the salon because the palette suits her Autumn coloring best; this sitting was extra special because her extraordinary child was with us. Ignoring us, like any reasonable teen would!

The day before we painted I said to her, you were one of the reasons I gave my guy a shot.

I figured any guy who had a woman friend like you had to be a guy worth checking out.

“Remember what I said when you got married?” she said, and we laughed. Knowing remarkable people over a lifetime is the first greatest treasure of life. Watching their remarkable children grow up is the second greatest.

Detail WIP Q and P by Suzanne Forbes Jan 02 2018