Speaker 1 (00:01):
Hi there, we're here with another episode of the Bold Artist Podcast. My co-host, Charla Marschalk, and I are here with a very unique conversation, Here in Canada, it is the cozy, warm sweater season where the leaves are falling to the ground, and it's all so beautiful, but there's also that scary holiday that you see skulls and skeletons all around us, and Charla, and I have had a creative idea of how to reframe the frame. What does that mean, Charla?
Speaker 2 (00:31):
Oh, where do I start? So, yeah, so I was just thinking about, um, well skeletons. So, a few years ago I did some work where I included skeletons in, in my portraits and it, it came out of a moment of inspiration, um, where I, I love the skeleton. I studied the skeleton quite a bit when I was in university and in learning anatomy and I'm quite enamored by it. I think it's fascinating to learn what the skeleton does and all the parts that it has and how it, um, how it works when we're looking on the outside in. And we're trying to understand how to draw a face or a body, how understanding the skeleton helps us inform that process, I guess. Um, so I've had this kind of backstory with the skeleton, and then there came this time where I just realized that my kids only ever looked at the skeleton as scary.
Speaker 2 (01:28):
And the skeleton always seems to take a center stage around Halloween. And I started thinking -- it probably sounds super cheesy -- but I started to think like how lame it is that the skeleton is thought of as a scary, a scary thing, that it's like a symbol of death, when really it should be a symbol of strength in, in, in humans really. You know, it's our frame, it's our structure. And I started to kind of study what that meant and what that meant to me. And just in general to our human existence. And I started putting it in our work and in my work. And it's created a lot of really interesting conversations when I took that work to shows and people, they always assume still that it's the symbol of death. Like why are you putting skulls and skeletons in your, in your work? But I think that my work actually emanated something else from, from it, it wasn't scary.
Speaker 2 (02:25):
It wasn't morbid, and people would ask me questions. So it would, it would just start up these really awesome conversations. So, I thought it'd be rather appropriate being this time of year, where Halloween is around the corner to talk about, um, we could talk about the skeleton, and the frame, and what that meant in my work, and what that means in portraiture, and the study of the anatomy and what that means. And also talk about, um, our creative process, like how we're inspired to, to put things into our work. You know, we're not just going to paint a face for the sake of a face, where is that inspiration coming from and what is the message you're trying to get across in that? So I thought it would be a great season to talk about the skeleton and try to reframe how we view it. And as parents and grandparents, and it can open up interesting conversations with our kids, too, so that they can understand what that scary skeleton actually is. And that it's not scary at all.
Speaker 1 (03:25):
You had said something to me, Charla, about how the skeleton represents death and yet, because it is the, the part of a human that remains for so long, it's almost as if it should represent life. And I was there when you had the conception of the idea of putting some skeletal skeletal figures into your portraits. And I remember it being such a life-giving idea. It didn't, it wasn't, it wasn't, um, coming to you as like this morbid idea. It was coming from just this bubble of joy of showing the frame. And you've often talked to me about the meaning of the human frame, and that it's the structure and life. I think of it as the start of it all in a sense, even in portraiture work, you have to understand the bones even, uh, and the structure. And so unpack that a little more for me.
Speaker 2 (04:25):
Um, oh, there's so many levels I think to go to. I think when I started visualizing, I remember that image that day we were talking and it was kind of like, um, I saw the painting of the face, and then I saw it fading into the, seeing the skeleton kind of, I think in the chest, this was sort of the vision in my head. Everything for me always starts with a vision. And then I unpack it and try to figure out where that came from. And I started to look at, uh, what that meant. And I've seen in other cultures and just in writings and what not, the skeleton can often represent an and from what I created and how it looks to me now, I think the skeleton can often represent the spirit or the soul. You know, it's like the inner part of you is being represented.
Speaker 2 (05:10):
So it becomes, it gives a deeper meaning when you're looking at the art that has the skeleton in it. Um, for different people it has different meanings. But then as I started looking at it, you know, the skeleton is actually the thing that's formed first as we're, we're being formed in our mother's womb. And that the spinal cord is, is formed. So, or the spinal column is formed so that it can, uh, house the spinal cord and protect it. You know, without it, without those bones, we, everything malfunctions and breaks down. And we almost pretty much can't function at all. So it becomes like this, this frame of protection, this structure. Of course, if there we had no skeleton, we would just be jelly. And I often say that to my kids, like look at our skeleton is one of the most important, it's probably the most important thing.
Speaker 2 (06:01):
If we didn't have it, we wouldn't be able to stand up. We wouldn't be able to do anything. We would die immediately. Um, so it becomes our frame, and our structure, and our strength. It's protecting our organs. You know, our rib cage is protecting our heart or a chest bone is protecting our heart. Um, it's just got so much value and so much meaning. So it's the first thing that's formed. And it's the last thing that remains after we die. Wow. And it's so far, it's there for, for so long. Like I think our bones last forever, I don't know that they ever actually go anywhere if they're not, um, burnt or whatever. So yeah, it it's, it just felt so profound. And I wanted to talk about, I wanted to think about that more and, and look at what people had written about it and what, um, like scripture says what the Bible says about it and which is where I get a lot of, where I frame a lot of my beliefs and ideas.
Speaker 2 (06:56):
And it just, the more and more I looked at it, and what other cultures thought, and even other religious systems believed, it just became more and more profound, and so beautiful. And I almost started to feel like it was stolen from us, you know, like that it became a symbol of death when it had so much beauty in it and so much life in it. And I think oftentimes good things are stolen and, and looked at as bad, as looked at as, uh, or becomes something that can hurt us. And we kind of have to reframe it and see what, what it's good is. Especially when it comes to -- I'm probably getting way, way deeper and more profound -- but when it comes to like religious beliefs in all the different religions, you know, sometimes these rules and regulations, they can become something that brings people down rather than gives them life. And so, um, I kinda wanted to, to redeem the skeleton in a way and bring it back because it's so much more than a symbol of death.
Speaker 1 (07:57):
Yeah. And just having this conversation has completely reframed it for me. I have never really taken the time to think of it as a symbol of life and how it's the first thing formed in the mother's womb. And the last thing remaining after we're gone. And I'm like, my mind is blown. I wish I had known that when my kids were little, and, and you know, all the scary skeletons come out and, you know -- actually across the street from us, our neighbors have two skeletons having teeth on the front porch. You know, when all of this comes out and when you have little ones, and they start to ask the questions and, and maybe they feel scared of it, there is such a beautiful way to approach it about a life-giving and how the frame supports us. And it brings life, and we're just jelly without it. I love that frame and that new lens you've given us today, Charla. And so how would this, uh, help with like family discussions, people with little ones. I know a lot of the artists who tune in have little people, whether it's grandchildren or children in their life. How can we as artists and family members reframe the skeleton, the skull with our little ones.
Speaker 2 (09:07):
Well, I think I was a homeschooling mom, so I always managed to figure out how to reframe a topic. But I think it's a really, you know, just discussing, discussing the reality of what the skeleton actually is. We teach our kids anatomy. Like we teach our kids where do babies come from? You know, like where's the baby in the mom's belly and where's our heart, and all these basic anatomy stuff. And I think this time of year is a really great time to talk about what the skeleton is and where it comes from. And, um, I love looking at the skull and seeing like how the eyes fit into those sockets and then how whoops, how those sockets form, like, where our eyebrow is and the shapes of her eyes. Like, I find that fascinating beyond its purpose in my art. I just find it amazing to think about that for a minute, that underneath here,we have these weird looking skulls with those giant teeth, you know. Like they're actually under here, they're right here.
Speaker 2 (10:01):
We have one, we actually have a skeleton. It's, you know, you don't think about it, right. You just don't think about it. And I think that I have boys, so I know boys think, may think about things different than little girls. But when I talk about those things, they they're very intrigued by it. And so in Halloween where we see these skeletons around everywhere, it's, um, I think it's just a great teachable moment. Learning opportunity for us as parents, where we have very little time probably in our busy lives to do that. I know I do these days. So, it's just a great time to sit and go. Do you know what a skeleton even is? And then when it comes to creativity and, um, you know, forming those creative thoughts in our kids, which are so important, we can talk about what that means for drawing a face.
Speaker 2 (10:47):
And I bet you that if you did a quick little, just an, just informing the kids that this skeleton is, is giving us the shape of our eyes and the way it fits into our nose, I bet you, those kids would go and draw a face differently within one conversation. Like I've, I've seen that happen in front of my eyes. So, then you're, you're informing them and you're arming them with knowledge and wisdom. And that takes away fear that they might feel, you know, it helps them to, to get rid of fear in that sense.
Speaker 1 (11:21):
I'm just absorbing all of this. I love it. And love how you've taken the lid off of the skeleton, the skull for us. How does this work into what's going on in Bold School?
Speaker 2 (11:32):
There's always a way to work it into Bold School.
Speaker 1 (11:36):
Something's going on in Bold School. I know it.
Speaker 2 (11:39):
We teach, uh, the human figure. We teach portraits mostly, but we teach anatomy. Like we talk about anatomy. So in Bold Color Bootcamp, I talk about anatomy just as a very thing of understanding what lies underneath the skin so that we can understand what we're drawing. And once that basic knowledge is in there, your, your drawing and your painting becomes so much better, and it improves like instantly, really when you have that knowledge and wisdom. Like every aspect of life, when you gain knowledge and wisdom. Um, we also have a little bite-size class coming up, which is going to talk about this very thing, a little more extensive than we did in Bold Color Bootcamp. They both can play on each other, and that's going to be taught by our very own Marijanel.
Speaker 1 (12:28):
That's right. And my plan is to bring to you a bite-sized class with information on the proportions and the structure of the human face and skull. We're going to work from the skull, because I do feel as Charla does, that anatomy starts with bones. So, we're going to start with the bones, and take a really good look at the proportions and where everything is placed, and how that's going to benefit you, and be valued to you, is that when you go to approach your portrait work, you're going to have that study. It's so important. Charlotte says over and over how we need to study our subject matter. And so this is essentially going to be a bite-size study of the human face and skull. And that said, it's gonna like, I love how you use the word 'arm,' you. You're going to be armed with that knowledge and understanding of the proportions, and how it's all divided, And where everything is, is set.
Speaker 1 (13:30):
So, we don't want to give too much of it away because you're going to find out the information on boldschool.com and see what our class has to offer. But I can say that what it's going to do is equip you to know and understand all the proportions of the human face and skull. And that's really important when you go to approach your portrait work. And what I really hope for as the instructor of this bite-sized class is that the ones who do this class would feel confident approaching each portrait. You know, sometimes when we do a quick study, the information kind of goes in and out so fast that I wanted to do the quick study, but in such a way, I broke it down so that the information can really stick with you, and be something that -- between the info in, in how I teach, but also the PDF that's provided -- can be something that you can just have on hand when you approach your portraits and be able to refer to.
Speaker 2 (14:26):
Yeah, well, you know, in university, when I was in university, I took a year long anatomy class. And, um, I didn't, I don't think I realized at the time how valuable that was going to be. Probably the most valuable class that I took in my entire degree. Um, the way that it was structured was it was, it was broken into three parts. And the first third was the study of the skeleton. Second was the muscle. And the third was the actual figure with skin on it. I thought right off the bat, first class, we were going to be drawing people, but we had to draw the skeleton. And we had to, we had really boring medical anatomy coloring books that we would have to study. And then we would have models come into class, and we weren't allowed to draw the model, we had to draw their skeleton.
Speaker 2 (15:17):
So, they would move and position themselves. And we would have to draw each bone -- and there's a lot of bones -- and how they moved into that pose. So, we learned how, you know, the pelvic bone would move and turn with the turn of your hips and your legs, and how it would, you would weight bear on one leg and how the joints would interact and move together. It was incredible. And at the end of that first part of the year, I was able to draw a skeleton from any angle, like looking up and looking down in the back and the size and in all different positions from my memory. And, uh, our final project at -- it was actually around Halloween -- we had to, we had to draw a life-size skeletons. And we had to draw four of them interacting. So, I had this, I had paper plastered to my wall at home, and I drew these four skeletons that were dancing and playing music.
Speaker 2 (16:15):
And I could just draw it all from my, my mind. It was really incredible. When it came to the end of the year, when we were actually drawing humans, it was so simple. I could look at them and see all of those marks on the skin where the bones, like the landmarks on the skin, where the bones were, and I could understand it.
Speaker 2 (16:35):
The second half we went to muscle. And then we learned how the muscles attached to the bone, and how and why those muscles are there, and how they layered on top of each other. And, um, then at the end, we learned how the skin went over that. And it, it changed for a man or a woman. And in the different ages, how the skull is shaped in a baby, as opposed to an elderly man. Just incredible amounts of knowledge. And that was an entire year of study.
Speaker 2 (17:06):
It was like six hours a week. Plus our lab times where we had work to do for an entire year. And at the end of that, I could draw the human figure really well. But interestingly, I didn't keep up that practice, and I've lost so much of it. So that long story to say, you know, that we're offering these classes at Bold School, but it really comes the knowledge or the knowledge is really gained through the practice and the continuation of that work. That you're not going to be able to watch a short class and become an expert. You know, it's really about studying. And it's fascinating, and it's enjoyable. And if you want to be really good at it, if you want to be able to just draw a face, the under the, that underlying understanding is so important to have in your subconscious. So, you don't have to consciously think about what it means every single time you're painting a face, it's, it's invaluable to your work and your ability to express, um, a story and an emotion. You know, I believe understanding. 'Cause you can't really, even if you want to warp it, even if you want to abstract it, you want to abstract your portraits and your faces or your figures or whatever you're doing, understanding the anatomy, it helps you to understand how to even abstract it.
Speaker 1 (18:26):
Exactly. Yes. Yes. I totally agree. And what you've described in your years of university and that long-term in-depth study that you did, not everyone gets the privilege to do that. And even though we want to it's and so by offering these bite-sized classes, it it's like a bit of a springboard that gives you a little bit of a headstart into the basics of everything that you would need to know. But then, like you said, it is up to every artist to dig in deep and go further in their study. And we really, at Bold School we really encouraged the study. Um, but also realize how important it is to do a quick study. And one of the things that I like to say is that I think when someone is new, when they're novice at being an artist and making art, they come into it thinking it's just inspiration. That they can completely make art on inspiration. And there is, there is that
Speaker 2 (19:24):
You're just born with all of this talent and inspiration. It just flows whenever you want.
Speaker 1 (19:31):
Yep. Inspiration does run dry at times. Uh, but the way I like to see it is that the inspiration is like what's in our sail. It's the wind that kind of blows into the sail and gives us this push. But actually understanding how to sail -- the aerodynamics of the wind and the mechanics of the sailboat -- is what it takes to be the sailor. And that is study. And that can be both a quick study where you study to understand the subject matter at hand, what you need to know to render a good form in that particular piece. And also it can be where someone like yourself, who, you know, portrait painting is your niche, it's what you do. That means that for Charla, studying the face is a long-term in, in-depth probably for forever. As long as your portraiture career, it's going to be the study of your career.
Speaker 1 (20:34):
And so there's, there's the value in both a quick study -- and which I'm so excited to teach even how to quick study, because there is a method to it. I think that people think that I always want to back up and finish my sentence. I realize I do that. I, I stop a sentence and jump onto a new one. I was going to say there's value in both. The quick study is really important to know how to do, and then, and then being able to dedicate yourself to the longterm study. But onto the other sentence I started, uh, the, the, um, it's I think that people sometimes think of a quick study like they're looking for inspiration. Where they think I'm going to open up my phone or Google and just, like, check out a skull and see, 'cause I want to paint a skull.
Speaker 1 (21:19):
So, I'll just check it out and get inspired. But that is not a study. A study is -- that's inspiration. A study is when you begin to learn about how something is built, and the proportions, and the size, and the composition of, like, how you're going to put all this together with angles and curvature, and just going deeper into the why and how. Like, I referred to the understanding the aerodynamics of a sailboat rather than just, oh, there's wind in my sail. And so that's -- I'm really excited to take artists there to a place where they can learn how to quick study without wasting time and, and getting down rabbit trails. But learn the quick study and know why, and that it's so important.
Speaker 2 (22:09):
Yeah. And then it can also put you on a path to go deeper with it. If you love it and move on to the skeleton, and all of the other parts, and even into the muscle. Um, or you just, you just move on from there. Like even in Bold Color Bootcamp, that's I talk about those basics of understanding the skull and the muscle in order to understand the face. But then I also give a way to be able to draw the face without knowing anything about anything, you know. So, you can do, uh, you can be inspired and you can just work from that without having to go into study. But a lot of times when you see the greats, the great masters, um, whatever their subject matter, they have studied it for years. So, I think that instead of thinking, well, I don't have time for that.
Speaker 2 (22:55):
Or, you know, I gotta, I gotta do this for ten years before I'm going to be any good. It's more about giving yourself grace in this moment that you may not be able to paint the way, the great portrait painters of old paint, because you just started. So, you give yourself that grace to, to learn, and to grow, and that you're at a certain place in your journey.And other people are ahead of you, and other people are behind you. And that's kind of just, just how it goes. And you get to make those decisions. I think it's, it's really cool. I'm just thinking back to everything we just talked about in thinking about, you know, I put in a year's worth of study in, into anatomy and it was incredible. And I learned a lot and I, I saw the growth. Um, I didn't keep that practice up.
Speaker 2 (23:43):
So I could just like, if you stop exercising, you lose those muscles pretty quick. But then years later in a moment of inspiration, I had the idea to create these portraits with, with the skeleton kind of on them, which we'll show a couple of those here. But that moment of inspiration, where I painted those pieces, a lot of people might look at that, and think that it just came out of nowhere. You know, it came out of nowhere, and I just got this idea and I went and painted it. But really you look back at your own journey of learning and skill and technique, but then also your journey as a person, and your ideas, um, the things that you've learned in your experiences, I guess it was just say not ideas. And even looking at how I use that to teach my kids, you know, it's so it's just so interesting to watch that, to see where, where that idea and that moment of inspiration has touched.
Speaker 2 (24:43):
Um, and there, it, isn't just a painting that someone sees, but there's so much surrounding that there's so much more to that story. It's I don't know. I don't even know where I'm really going with that thought, but there's a real interesting picture of inspiration and where things are created from, I guess. One of the things I say in Bold Color Bootcamp is it's easy to paint a beautiful face. And that's taken out of context a lot by people who watched the trailer where I say that in the trailer, because what I mean is that it's easy to draw a beautiful face. Ugly faces are actually harder to draw. I don't mean ugly faces, but I just had to say the other of it.
Speaker 1 (25:25):
Is there such a thing as an ugly face, Charla?
Speaker 2 (25:25):
So, a glamorous, like supermodel, beautiful, cover-of-the-magazine face of a woman who's like 25 years old and in her prime -- that face is quite easy to draw and reason being the, usually your face is very symmetrical.
Speaker 2 (25:46):
Everything is as you picture them in your head. We picture bold, or big plump lips. We picture big eyes, and blue eyes. You know, these things are easy to draw. When you get an elderly man, who's been through a lot in his life, there's so many crevices there's unique features to look at, and it becomes difficult to draw. And if you're going to draw or paint somebody that you love, somebody that you know in real life, it becomes a lot. The level of difficulty goes way up because you've got more than simple features that you're attempting to draw. You've got experiences and the knowledge of who that person is. So, I say it's easy to draw a beautiful face because that's, it's what we kind of imagine a face to be already. So, it's easy to put that out on paper.
Speaker 1 (26:38):
Besides the class that I'm working on, Charla, is there anything else coming up in Bold School? 'Cause I've seen stiff coming through down the pipe that you've got other classes going on. So tell us a little bit.
Speaker 2 (26:47):
Oh, there's always, I think always going to be new classes. So, if you're watching this at the time that it airs for the first time, we've got classes in my new series called Painting Humanity, where all of these learnings kind of come together, and where each painting is, is about looking at this unique face for what it is. Because every face in this earth is unique. Even though they have similarities. When you understand anatomy, they do have similarities, but they're all unique. So every time you go to paint a face, your faced with a new, you're faced with a new experience. So, Painting Humanity is about that. We're going to paint, um, faces at different angles, at different ages, different ethnicities, different lighting situations, different color palettes, and on and on it goes. I could probably do this series 'till the day I die, and we would still not run out of things to, to learn. And then Corey Moortgat is, has her own series called Expressive Portraits, which we all know that she's in a very expressive painter where emotion is just all over her faces -- just incredible. And she's got a series where she's working on with new things coming out. And we have some new instructors working on some things, but I don't want to ruin that surprise. But they will all be there at Bold School, plus our bite-sized classes. And we've got the, the Christmas season's coming up. So lots of really cool things.
Speaker 1 (28:12):
Yeah, so much exciting going on. And yes. And when you were talking a little bit earlier about, it's easy to paint a beautiful face, but wait until you get into like the younger or the older. And do you remember the time that I attempted to paint Mother Teresa? And all of the wrinkles that are so beautiful to her were very hard to paint.
Speaker 2 (28:34):
Well, yeah. I have a wrinkle class coming up.
Speaker 1 (28:39):
Yeah, that's what I was going to say. Is that, you know, if you're struggling with different ages of skin and the wrinkles that aren't just your own, uh, jump on to boldschool.com. Taking classes from Charlotte from bold school will save you all that time of trying to wrestle it out yourself. To have a really good instructor, come alongside you online, and show you, and you get to see up close, how they're painting, what they're painting, what they're thinking. It is a lifesaver, a time-saver. Yeah,
Speaker 2 (29:09):
Yeah. It is. I say, why, in any aspect of life, why start from the bottom if you can start from somebody else's ceiling? So, start where I'm leaving off and, and where Corey is leaving off. And then you build on top of that, and then you get to teach us some stuff. 'Cause our students have taught us, and our Bold School students are becoming Bold Artists who are becoming Bold School instructors. So, we're learning from each other.
Speaker 1 (29:38):
Um hmm. So exciting. I think you're giving away the surprises. You said you weren't going to give away the surprises.
Speaker 2 (29:44):
Yeah. So, yeah, I think it's, it's amazing to have that kind of a community, and to learn and, and bounce off of each other.
Speaker 1 (29:53):
So, just to summarize everything that we've shared in this podcast... Charla andI have a reframed the frame, and we're shedding life and light on what the skull, the skeleton really means. It's not going -- at least in Bold School and to us -- it's not going to be symbol of death, but of life, and of beauty. And a way that we can learn how to paint better portraits through quick study. And you'll find a new bite-sized quick study on bold school.com taught by... Me. And Charla's got Painting Humanity, if it, will it be available at the time of this arairing?
Speaker 2 (30:28):
Uh, yeah, definitely. 'Cause it's actually going to be up there before we air and uh, the wrinkles class will be coming soon. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (30:34):
Yes. And the wrinkles. And don't forget the bold hair class because sometimes we struggle to paint hair, too. So definitely check it all out. We're so happy you're here listening and watching the Bold Artist Podcast. We will see you next time. In the meantime, keep creating!
Speaker 2 (30:53):
Bye everybody. And thank you, Marijanel.