Cesar Santos’ “Secrets of Figure Drawing” is Out! 

Cesar Santos Latest DVD is out! 
The DVD that I have been waiting for since the Cesar Santos Portrait drawing is now available.  “Secrets of Figure Drawing with Cesar Santos.”  I have had the DVD since the day it came out and have just finished it due to my busy schedule.     It has so much information that it probably should be watched a little at a time as I have been doing.

Cesar is a master artist; the contemporary portrait/figure artist that I look up to the most.  This DVD really delivers so much knowledge on the figure that it makes you want to study anatomy on the same level that Cesar has.  He does recommend books for study that he studied when he attended Angel Academy in Florence.  One book Cesar refers to is  “Artistic Anatomy” by Paul Richer which I find is very helpful and have started learning from it.

While you are watching Cesar draw, you know he is a master.  Cesar knows all the anatomy of the figure and uses correct names but it is not overboard, Cesar is way too cool for that, he simply states the part as he is drawing.  You do understand that it is important to draw from life and use the correct names of the bones and muscles.

Cesar starts the DVD by showing how to photograph the model and then proceeds to draw from a model that he photographed.  (There is also a little bit about the ethics of using photographs in the video).
He then does a quick sketch of the model to get the feel of the lines and the placement on the page.  Next, Cesar does a contour drawing of the model.  His precision is outstanding!  He uses Nitram Charcoal.  – the same type he used at Angel Academy.  He uses B for the block in and HB for the rest of it (I think, it does not actually tell you when he is using which charcoal stick). I had the Nitram Charcoal and I bought the  Nitram Sharpening Bloc which I love.  Cesar has made his own sharpening block, but for the price; I think it is worthwhile to buy it.

When Cesar starts laying down tonal values, he brings the model to life.  He is so articulate and meticulous in his drawing and shading.  When you look at the model’s right knee in the drawing, it has a life of its own.  The hands, feet, head, they could all be little masterpiece paintings in themselves.  I often times tell my students that each part of your drawing should stand on it’s own, well, Cesar is the master at that!

The interview with Eric Rhoads is awesome.  It is a casual interview but that is what Eric is so good at; he asks good questions and the artist feels at ease talking with him.  (I have watched many of his interviews).  I learned so much about Cesar but also his thinking process and I think everyone should definitely watch this, he is a true master and a true inspiration!!.

Other materials Cesar uses are sponges to soften, kneaded eraser, stumps,  soft and bristle brushes to achieve the softness or hardness and tone quality in the drawing.  I am only half way through the DVD but I highly recommend it. Get this DVD!!

You can watch the trailer and buy the “Secrets of Figure Drawing by Cesar Santos DVD” here (which I do not get compensation for from Streamline Art Videos) – I just want everyone to know how good the DVD is!

I hope this helps someone else on their journey

Sharon A. Morley APS-ME
November 29, 2017


Workshop Schedule 2017

A photo from the Saugus Library, Color Your World in Pastels! Workshop
Saugus Library Color Your World in Pastels!

Learn how to paint:  which workshop is right for you?  Here are the new workshop for 2017!  Sign up early; some workshops close a few weeks before the date shown:

February 23, 2017 6:00 – 8:00 PM  Shute Library, 781 Broadway, Everett, MA 02149  Color Your World with Pastels!  Workshop Call the Shute Library to sign up at (617) 394-2308.  Teens and adults welcome, no experience or materials needed.  http://www.noblenet.org/everett/shute.html

March 11, 2017 10:00 – 12:00 PM   Holbrook Public Library, Holbrook, MA  2 Plymouth Street, Holbrook, MA 02343  Color Your World With Pastels!  Call Holbrook Library to Register.  Materials Included- no experience necessary!
781-767-3644  http://holbrookpubliclibrary.org/
April 22, 2017  10:00 Am – 12:00 PM  Sunderland Public Library, 20 School Street, Sunderland, Massachusetts 01375 – (413) 665 2642  Color Your World With Pastels!  Call the Sunderland Library to Register.  Materials Included- no experience necessary!  http://www.sunderlandpubliclibrary.org/

Saturday, April 29, 2017  10:00 – 2:00 PM  Essex Art Center 56 Island St., Lawrence, MA  Color Your World with Pastels.4 Hour intensive class- Materials Included.    Call Essex Art Center to Sign Up.  978-685-2343

Saturday, June 3, 2017  10:00 – 2:00 PM  Essex Art Center 56 Island St., Lawrence, MA  Go Outside and Play!.2 Hour intensive class  Setting up for success when you go outside to paint!  Tips on how to set up, materials etc.  Oil, pastel, watercolor and gouache.  .    Call Essex Art Center to Sign Up.  978-685-2343

No experience is necessary for any of these workshops or for my classes.  This is a relaxing time for you to explore what each medium does, how to use it, what the good materials are and why.  You may ask any questions.  This is not a drawing workshop so you need not already know how to draw.  These workshops are about exploring the pastels or oils and paying little attention to drawing.  You can follow along with me to do a simple painting, or you can bring a photograph that you took to work on.  (Please bring an easier photo as time will not permit an in depth painting tutorial).

I hope to see you at one of the workshops or classes!



Private, Semi Private and small group classes are held at my studio or at a location TBA.  Currently class times are Thursday 9am-11 am.  and 11:30-am – 1:30 PM  Please email me  at morleytstudio@aol.com or call me at 978-273-8925 to register or for any questions.

New Workshops Added!

Merril Farm in Fall c Sharon A. Morley (2)
Merrill Farm in Spring  11x14 Oil on linen

The New Workshops added in October and Novemeber are:

I have two workshops coming up at Essex Art Center, Lawrence, Ma. 1)  October 22, from 10AM-2:00 PM   Color Your World in Oils!  This is a 4 hour intensive workshop where you will learn how to oil paint even if you have never touched a paint brush before!  I will explain the materials to use and why, how to use these materials, and then you will get to paint using all the materials that I supply. I will also touch on how to frame and oil painting.

The second workshop will be held at Essex Art Center, 2) Friday, November 18, 2016 from 10:00-2:00 Pm.  This is Color Your World with Pastels!  A four hour intensive workshop where you will learn how to paint with pastels, which ones to buy, and then we will have time to experiment with a painting using materials that I supply.  I will also touch on how to frame pastels (and photos).  I do not sell any products, I just tell you the ones I find work well.

No experience necessary!  You just have to show up and let me do the rest! 

This is the perfect time to start painting as the holidays near. I have found that painting makes me happy, reduces stress, and someone may want your lovely paintings as a gift!  Please  email me at morleystudio@aol.com for further information.  Please sign up at Essex Art Center, 56 Island Street, Lawrence, MA 01840   www.essexart.com  or call 978-685-2343 HOURS: MONDAY - FRIDAY, 10 AM - 6 PM

I have other workshops listed on my website  http://sharonmorley.com/classes-and-workshops/  I hope to see you soon!

Samsung Note 7 Review for Artists

Hi Everyone Here is a review of the Samsung Note 7 for Artists.
I wanted to share some of my experiences with you about the Samsung Note 7 smartphone from an artists perspective. Samsung Note 7

I have been waiting for this phone to come out since I saw the Note 5. The Samsung Note 7 has been improved from the the Note 5 and these are the things I LOVE about the Note 7:
1. The quality of photos and graphics on this Samsung Note 7 are unbelievable. I have compared them to many different phones and there is nothing like a Samsung.  This means that your reference photos will be better to work from as they are clear and beautiful.

2. The stylus is so accurate and pressure sensitive! I have been using an app called Art Canvas.  This app has the usual paint brushes etc. but it also has two brushes, oil and watercolor brushes, that let you expand a palette and mix your own colors!  I love this app when I am out without my sketchbook or only have a few minutes to sketch.  Very cool app. I wanted to link it here but can only find the app from my phone and not from google play online…
If you have any other apps for artists that you like for this phone, please let us know. Because of the palette and the simplicity of the Art Canvas app, it is the only one I use so far,

3. The fact that you can write on the front of the screen the minute you eject the stylus and that note will stay on the front of the screen but also be saved in Samsung notes.  This comes in so handy for notes, grocery lists, or a quick impression of a scene that you want to draw quickly (this is like a chalkboard black and white drawing).

I did get mine before the recall and had to exchange but it is no big deal.  The Samsung Note 7 was worth the wait for sure!

Sorry to say the note 7 was discontinued but I got the Note 5 and the Art Canvas app still is awesome on it!
Sharon Morley

September 30, 2016



Learn to draw the head and hands with Andrew Loomis free book!

Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis

Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis

Head and hands are the most difficult of all drawing subjects but there is help!  Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis is a reprint of the 1956 book of the same title.

Andrew Loomis was an artist/illustrator who taught at the American Academy of Art in Chicago in the 1930’s.

His books are full of so much knowledge and humor.  His illustrations are impeccable and have taught me so much.  They are beautiful renditions of people as most illustrators of his time portrayed.  The book has helped me with lighting in my portraits.  There is an illustration for nearly every type of portrait lighting and I look to this book for beautiful rendering and form.

Drawing the Head and Hands starts with drawing the skull then moves on to drawing different parts of the face.  We then learn to develop complete  portraits of men, women and children in a variety poses and lighting situations..  The book finishes with a chapter on hand again, showing many different poses.

Drawing the Head and Hands is available online to read in your browser for free by going to archive.org

Other books by Loomis are:

  • Fun with a Pencil (1939). Reissued as a full facsimile of the original on April 5, 2013 from Titan Books.
  • Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth (1943). Reissued as a full facsimile of the original on May 27, 2011 from Titan Books.
  • Creative Illustration (1947). Reissued as a full facsimile of the original on October 12, 2012 from Titan Books.
  • Successful Drawing (1951). Republished in a revised edition as Three Dimensional Drawing (16 new pages with technical material on perspective replacing the pictorial gallery sections) and reissued as a full facsimile of the original on May 4, 2012 from Titan Books
  • The Eye of the Painter (1961).

I highly recommend any of his books as he is one of the greatest teachers of our time.  Please let me know what you think of any of the Andrew Loomis titles!  I hope this helps!

Sharon Morley, January 11, 2016

Color and Light by James Gurney Book Review

Color and Light by James Gurney

“Color and Light” by James Gurney is one of my favorite “go to” art books. As most of you know, James Gurney is the author/illustrator for the Dinotopia book series. In his best selling instructional book, “Color and Light” James takes us through many helpful scenarios of how to set up our objects (or people) and light them to make it easier to paint.   James discusses and illustrates the use of light on many subjects and how to portray that in paint.  He then shows many examples of how one would apply that knowledge.

In “Color and Light”, James takes us through many diverse color schemes and clearly describes how to apply this information so anyone can understand no matter the level of painting that you are at –  from beginner to advanced painter.


I highly recommend  “Color and Light” to anyone who is starting out in art and/or in  fantasy art. You will be delighted and enlightened and will refer to this book over and over again!  color and light

James Gurney  has a blog with extremely interesting facts and instruction. He demonstrates painting in goucahe  and watercolor and shows videos of everything from his paint box as he travels to sketching on location. You can find him in the streets painting watercolors or gouache buildings and in the farms painting some of the animals. His videos are short but informative and very much worth watching repeatedly.  He is a master artist who enjoys teaching art to all levels of students.  I just can’t wait for his new book, video, blog, or DVDs come out.  I am a subscriber of his channel.

I have attended an exhibit of James Gurney’s work and it is exquisite.  I liken it to the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Photos can never do justice to the real paintings.  James proves himself over and over again to be one the modern day masters.

James is also selling downloadable instructional DVDs for very reasonable prices. You can find all of his items on his website http://jamesgurney.com/site/

Sharon Morley, Artist,  December 26, 2015  www.sharonmorley.com

Our Home at Christmas

Our Home at Christmas.  Merry Christmas to all!  I wanted to do something different with my Christmas Cards this year so I did a watercolor painting of our home.  Our house is white but when the sun is setting in the afternoon it casts a wonderful warn hue on the house.

Our Home at Christmas 11x14 Watercolor by Sharon Morley C2015
Our Home at Christmas 11×14 Watercolor by Sharon Morley C2015


The photo and reference sketch I worked from is from last winter’s snow (You must remember the 9 feet of snow we had here in Massachusetts!) I decided to make it really look like a starry night in December by painting the sky a little darker and showing the stars shining bright.  (They are really there every night but sometimes we forget to look up)

The Christmas tree is another of my artistic license items.  We do not have a pine tree there but I think it adds to the festiveness of the painting.  As artists, we sometimes have to listen to our hearts.  Somehow paintings have a life of their own and we just follow along with our brush.  This was just one of those paintings.  Even though I took the photo and then did my thumbnail sketch to see  where my lights and darks would be, the brush and the hand and the spirit dictated something a little different.  This is the fun things I can do when I am not working on commission.  I stick to pretty much the subject on commissions depending on what the patron wants.


I then photographed my work and took it into an editing program where I added words to it the image and made it my 2015 Christmas Card.

5x7 christmas card my house 2015 (2)

This is my Christmas card this year and I wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, Creative New Year!  May 2016 be our best year yet!

Sharon Morley, December 19, 2015




You can learn to draw and paint!

Draw and paint.  You can learn it!  It is as simple as that.  The question is …. How much time are you willing to spend?

Draw and paint every day.

Sunflower, draw and paint
“Kissed by the Sun” 11×14 Oil on Canvas by Sharon Morley


I teach many oil painting and pastel painting workshops and have taught studio art classes for many years and the one thing I hear over and over again from my beginning students is “My drawing looks childish”.  “I have no ability” or better still, “I have not talent!”  “Talent!”… I love that word..  Yes, there are a few prodigies in every category in life but most successful artists are not “born” that way.  They are encouraged!

A child is taught the basic skills of learning to journey through this world,  We teach them everything from learning to read and write, knowing right from wrong, and all other sorts of necessary information.  Does a child sit down and write their name perfectly the first time?  No… there are three factors involved here.

1) They have to have instruction how to write their name. 
2) They have to WANT to write their name. 
3) They have to practice writing their name.

Those are the key factors in the success of anything!  I ask my adult students “How many of you expect to sit at a piano and play like Mozart?”  No one raises their hands.  Yet when it comes to  being an artist, they expect to be able to paint like the old masters!  Usually the artwork in museums that we adore is not the artist’s first attempt at painting.  It was years of practice with the highs and lows of trying, achieving and failing.  Then getting back on track and trying again.

People who draw well (or do anything well actually) are encouraged.  A child who is told he is a good artist at an early age will love to draw and paint.  They will do it more (practice) because they are praised for it and they like to do it.  The parents will get them art lessons so they excel faster.  And there is the cycle of success.

If you dream of being an artist or just becoming better at art, the key is to get instruction and practice!!

How many of you will become good artists?  All of you who persevere!   Do you have the will to follow your dream?

Sharon Morley, December 13, 2015


Cesar Santos’ New DVD is out!

Cesar Santos, Streamline Art Video
Secrets of Portrait Painting with Cesar Santos

Secrets of Portrait Painting with Cesar Santos

I have just finished watching the new DVD “Secrets of Portrait Painting with Cesar Santos” and I must say it is the best portrait painting DVD on the market that I have found (and I have watched a lot of videos). Cesar Santos is a very likable guy who paints world class portraits.  In this DVD from Streamline Art Video, Cesar shows us step by step how he achieves a likeness in a subject, what paint colors & brands he uses, and how he sets up his palette and more..  Throughout his demonstration which is 20+ hours long, Cesar explains what decisions he is making and his ideas on what makes a painting go from a “good painting” to a “great painting”.  In this day and age where we have social media and we see a lot of one hour paintings and unfinished work or sketches, it is such a joy to see a portrait come to such a finished product.

I am also glad that the DVD is 20 hours because you can watch small bits of it at a time (It took me a couple of weeks to view the entire video) thereby absorbing the information that Cesar so generously gives out.

Cesar narrates as he paints through the entire video with such humor and passion that it is such an awesome experience to witness.  If you are interested in learning how to classically render a portrait, this is the only DVD that you need!  It is well worth the money (think about it as having a workshop in your home that you can watch time after time – and it still costs a lot less than most workshops).

This is a “Must Have” for any serious portrait painter.  An upadate..  4.1.16 I have used the methods of Cesar’s Portrait painting Dvd in my two newest portraits.  I feel I learned a lot about seeing values in portraiture in both Oil and Pastel.  Check out my portrait page and see”The Optimist-Mike Morley” ,  “Riley”  and “Gloria”.

Eric Rhoads Founder of Streamline Art VideoFine Art Connoisseur Magazine, Plein Air Magazine, and many more ventures, has created a masterpiece DVD from a masterpiece artist. I have some other DVDs through Streamline Art Video and they are all fabulous-I will talk about them later.   Well worth the investment.  Has anyone else bought this DVD?  If so, I would love to hear your comments!

Posted by artist Sharon Morley December 3, 2015


Class Distinctions: Dutch Paintings

Class Distinctions, Vermeer  Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer

I highly recommend Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer book which is the companion to the exhibit of the same name at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I have looked at the book each time I have visited the exhibit and the illustrations are good… This would be a delight to give or receive as a gift. I have noticed that the books from exhibits increase in value and I usually buy them. I have asked for this one for Christmas as it is a great inspiration to see how the masters painted.

One way we can use these high quality books is to copy the masters’ paintings to see what they did and if we can achieve the same effects as they did.  I have done this in the past but will start to do more.  How many people make this a practice?

You can see the book and order it here:

(I am an Amazon.com affiliate and do get a very small commission but that is certainly not the reason I recommend books)

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