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This is a weekly 2.5 hour six session introductory studio class on portraiture, exploring the human skull, muscles of the head and neck, planes of the head and how light and shadow create the landscape of the face. Students will be working from plaster casts of the skull and face, photographs and, where possible, a live model. This class draws from the atelier and old masters tradition.

The class will be open to veterans who participate in Art for the Journey’s Veterans Art Program as well as the general public. Classes will be in-person and live streamed/recorded. In person attendance is limited to ten students. Cost to the general public is $240. All drawing materials will be provided.

The class will take place from 9:30 a.m. to Noon beginning Thursday, January 20 and ending Thursday February 24.


Mark Hierholzer has been an active artist since 2001. He is an Impressionist Oil Painter and instructor in still life, landscape and portraiture, following the tradition of the Cape Art School in Provincetown, MA. Mark is a juried member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Artists Roster. His work is exhibited locally and in galleries in North Carolina. He teaches two regular studio classes for Art for the Journey and participates in a range of programs. He is a member of the Bon Air Artists Association and the Metropolitan Richmond Artists Association.

Richelle Kaufman is a 2005 graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art with a focus on Classic Old Master Techniques and Realism. She is also certified in Composite and Forensic Art. She has exhibited her work in the United States and internationally. Richelle teaches art classes in various venues around Central Virginia and her students include adults, juvenile offenders and older adults with disabilities. She is a member of the Vienna, VA Art Society, the Philadelphia Sketch Club, the International Association for Identification and the Atlantic City Art Center.

This class draws from the atelier and old masters tradition.

Session Descriptions

Week One

Studio Lecture - The human skull is one of the most interesting parts of the body for artistic exploration. This is reflected in countless historical works of art where the skull serves as a symbol of life’s fragility and human mortality.

We will discuss the shapes and qualities of the jaw and cranial bones, and how the muscles of the head and face dictate the proportion of the face. The instructor will do a drawing demonstration and students will work from skulls and handouts showing the names of cranial bones and attached muscles. We will also explore a bit of DNA as to why all skulls are not the same shape given different regions of the world.

Week Two

Studio Lecture on drawing and understanding light and shadow. The students will move beyond line drawing and explore how light and shadow create a three dimensional image of the face and define it’s architecture.

Week Three

Studio Lecture on measuring the face and understanding its proportions. Working from both an anatomically correct physical cast and a photo reference each student will work in the studio and independently between classes on creating a portrait. Instructors will make themselves available through email between classes to critique work and answer questions.

Week Four

Studio Lecture on various drawing techniques using toned paper and various drawing tools. We will move to drawing with toned paper in order to broaden the student’s understanding of light and shadow and be able to produce a likeness using a range of drawing tools and approaches.

Week Five

Studio Lecture on Impressionist Portraiture. Continuing studio work, improving drawing skills and refining the portrait in light and shadow. At this point students may bring a black and white photo from home to work on in class.

Week Six

Continuing studio work, improving drawing skills and refining the portrait in light and shadow.

When you participate in an art class with Art for the Journey, you provide an art class experience for a child, an adult or senior who is marginalized and oftentimes unable to receive the benefit of art, creativity and community.

Contact Mark Hierholzer to learn more about this class and others offered by Art for the Journey!