Portrait Painting Workshop

July 15-18 were the dates of my painting workshop at the historic Commander's House in Southtown.  The house dates to 1858, originally part of the San Antonio Army Arsenal.  I taught an intensive three day course in the art of portraiture using acrylics.  Day 1 began with an introduction to portrait painting through Van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait and the self portraits of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Kahlo and Gauguin. We talked about proportions and demonstrated how to place the basic facial features before getting into drawing from gridded photographs (the basis from which most of the students built their paintings).  Day 2 was color theory; creating a palette using the primary colors and making black from ultramarine blue & raw umber. Students practiced mixing color and blocked out the values in their underpainting.  Day 3 introduced glazing, blending and refining the portrait with details.  On our final day of the workshop, I took the class outside to the veranda to paint in the open air.
Ofelia began painting a few months ago
 The workshop participants did a wonderful job on their paintings.  Having just returned from attending a weeklong art workshop myself, I was excited to lead the class and spread the creativity.  I'll return at the end of the month to teach another three day course in drawing from observation.  The Commander's House is open to the community, a membership costs $15 or $7 if you are over the age of 60.  There are so many great classes and events, from ceramics and stained glass to dancing & guitar lessons.   In September they will be hosting an art event called 'Bravo for ArtAbility: Never Too Old to Create,' an exhibition for local senior artists.  Many of my advanced painting students from the Lopez Center will be a part of this wonderful art show.  Thank you to Gloria De La Cruz-Sandoval for having me as the guest workshop instructor this month, as well as Angel and Jorges for their assistance!


  1. Members in the class truly enjoyed the opportunity to paint with such a talented artist as Rachel Bower. Eager for her next workshop, students look forward to this upcoming workshop in drawing from obervation as well as havving Rachel judge Bravo for ArtAbility: Never too Old to Create on September 12. Local Senior Artists of all levels are encouraged to enter the Exhibit by droping us an email request to Bravoartability_create@yahoo.com or by calling the Commander's House @ 210.207.3011. Thank you Rachel for sharing your gift, talent and skills with us and a heartfelt Bravo to you!


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