FIGURATIVE artist Sam Dolby travelled from his home and work village of Settle to visit Keighley Art Club.

Sam trained at Harrogate College of Arts and Technology, and the Cleveland College of Art and Design, and graduated in 1997 when he adopted his own basic techniques.

Whenever possible he works from life, and builds comprehension of his sitter throughout preliminary sketches.

In 2013 Sam was elected as the newest member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, receiving his first commissions from them. He offers one-to-one tuition in life drawing.

Sam’s main style is monochrome, but he also produces commissions in oil and charcoal. A light source is always used to direct tonal values.

Keighley Art Club member Rod Tickner volunteered to be Sam’s life model and was seated and lit accordingly.

Using charcoal on a flat edge, Sam covered white cartridge paper with broad strokes. He then “flatted off” the charcoal with a paper towel. The full covering helps tonal values.

Keeping the initial sketch as loose as possible, Sam likes to capture the eyes first, because he believes eyes hold the likeness of the subject.

He studies the sitter and decides how he or she differs from the average.

As Sam worked on the portrait at Keighley Art Club, our member’s image appeared fluidly in front of our eyes. It was an electrifying experience.

Sam considers that it is always best to use charcoal, which does not scratch the paper. He uses basic cartridge paper, because expensive versions hold too much charcoal.

Hair can be difficult to draw. Sam prefers not to attempt to depict each individual hair but looks instead for volume, for the effect he wishes to achieve.

Rubbing out is not an option Sam, unless it is to remove and/or clean-up highlights on the image that he has produced.

Sam completed the portrait later and forwarded it to Keighley Art Club for our Facebook page.

The club looks forward to inviting Sam to demonstrate his skills again next year when the new programme is arranged. He gives an engaging demonstration, and later a professional portrait as the final result of the session.

Rod Tickner, the sitter, was thrilled with his portrait, especially as it appeared from an initial black covered sheet of white paper, which surprised everyone in the meeting.

We welcome art teachers, beginners or experienced artists to speak or demonstrate at some of our Wednesday sessions, which run from 6.45pm. Children must be accompanied by an adult. See Facebook for Keighley Art Club information and paintings by the club. We are closed until February.