DC Sketchers @ The National Gallery – The Perception of Light and Shadow

NOTE: The Spring 1 session of DC Sketchers begins this Saturday, 2/12. See link for itinerary/schedule. Register at http://www.chaw.org/ or by calling 202.547.6839.





DC Sketchers met at the National Gallery of Art for the fourth and final session of their Winter Workshop. We began with a warm-up in the beautiful Rotunda. Mercury was circled with Valentine’s Day themed flowers and plants.  The Rotunda looked like an FTD ad.

The class revisited Exercise 3 from Ruskin’s The Elements of Drawing: creating an tonal gradation from light to dark with cross-hatching or a continuous tone.


We then went to the cafeteria and claimed one of the tables and set up a still life of Styrofoam cups – illuminated by the directional light of the window with the cascading fountain. We observed the tonal gradations in the smoothly curved forms of the cups – including cast and attached shadows.


studentcup studentcups

Teaching artist, Kent Gay, also tried his hand at the day’s exercise – below.


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Kent Gay
Authored by: Kent Gay

Kent Gay is teaching a new class at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop called DC Sketchers, which records the places, people and happenings of the DC area. Each Saturday morning the class ventures out to capture the views and interesting details of our area's rich architectural and cultural landscape. Beginners are led through a series of exercises that develop the perceptual skills needed to draw, while intermediate students benefit from a class structure that encourages cooperative learning and exploration. Kent earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Minnesota's School of Architecture and a M.A. in Applied Design from the University of Minnesota's Graduate School. He has taught classes in design foundations - Drawing, Two-Dimensional Design, Three-Dimensional Design, and Color. After working as a museum exhibit designer for 15 years, Kent is now working as a Development Assistant and Theater Facilitator at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and is a regular contributor to Urban Sketchers - DC. http://urbansketchers-dc.blogspot.com/