Visual Art

Study & Practice

Check Instagram for my most current bedtime doodles, including:

*Excited to learn that Dave liked his portrait enough to use it as his profile image on his company’s intranet.

Art in Transit

I made these drawings in late February 2017 while taking TTC around Toronto. The “selfie doodle”was selected to appear in the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway cars as part of their 2017 Art in Transit program, Sketching the Line. (My piece appears at 00:52 in this promo video.)


Here are some others I drew that were not selected. I liked the second one, but it makes sense they wouldn’t want to promote putting your boots up!

In the Studios of John Singer Sargent

We copied a different painting each day in Esteban Rodriguez’s 2019 oil painting class at Toronto’s Academy of Realist Art. Studying John Singer Sargent portraits this way, we learned about alla prima painting, colour mixing, value, hue, selecting and using brushes, comparative drawing basics, etc. It was a brilliant class but also like jumping in at the deepest end of the pool, since I wasn’t able to attend the first, all-day demo class.

I didn’t use a drawing transfer sheet to copy Jean-Joseph Marie Carriès or Charles-Émile-Auguste Durand so the proportions are not exact. I am determined to learn proper underdrawing eventually, but for this class the focus was more on colour and technique.

Classical Figuration

Took a Studio West class in 2018 where we watched Keita Morimoto paint in the style of Rembrandt, then were mostly left to our own devices to copy a classical portrait or capture a life model.

Small studies of classical portraits.

Paintings from life models.

Since we didn’t get much practical instruction in class, I got permission to take a photo and used Procreate on iPad at home to try to understand the planes of her face. Having more skill now, I want to go back in and fix the angles of her nose and mouth, which I could do fairly easily, thanks to this super forgiving medium. If only life had an ‘Undo’ button!

Portraiture Fundamentals

In Bogdan Luca‘s 2017 portraiture class at OCADU, we delved deeper into understanding form by alternating classes in the clay and drawing studios. We always worked from life models: one night we’d tried additive sculpting, another subtractive. Other nights we would experiment with drawing mediums such as soft vine charcoal in 15-minute sprints. The class concluded with making a quick acrylic painting.

Drawing Skills Studio

A 2016 drawing class with Michael Antkowiak at OCAD. We tried a few drawing mediums including charcoal, conte, and pastels. 

IMG_0061 958AE288-4A0B-4353-B790-662548FB1EEE

Painting 101

roses test

I feel very fortunate that my first painting class was at the California College of the Arts under the guidance of White House Honoree Bryan Keith Thomas and his invaluable TA, Chiyomi McKibbin.

Here’s an example of my evolution while in the class from February to May, 2014:

Self-Portrait (1st)

Self-Portrait (2nd)

Self-Portrait (final)

Polly at the Esalen Baths

Polly at the Esalen Baths was my fifth real painting, made halfway through the semester from a photo I took of a friend in California. I also did a French vase.



I had no clue what an underpainting was when I did this first one. Had I known I’d have liked the results far more than the finished assignment (seen below), I would have left the red man alone, grabbed a new canvas, and started over. The more I paint, the more I learn that the key to this art form is knowing when to stop.

Midway through the semester our class showed a few pieces in the main nave of CCA’s SF campus, but I didn’t show at a real gallery until November 7-21, 2014, when these five pieces hung at the College Avenue Galleries for CCA’s International Student Exhibition.


Practice Pieces

This 2016 texture study is a perfect example of knowing when to stop. Although I’m happy with the hands and violin, I should have abandoned the face at this earlier stage.

2017 – Texture Study



2015 – Three portraits (from photos)


2015 – 3-hour colour challenge for a friend’s birthday


2019 – colour study


2019 – masterwork replication


2020 – abstract


BA7C8EF5-7147-4973-8D08-7B8D42161E9Ffive pieces made using Procreate on iPad / iPhone

Screen Shot 2017-08-20 at 12.52.53 PM

In 2018 I laid out a friend’s novel using Pages, and really enjoyed using stock photos to mock up the book cover.

All contents  ©Berenice Freedome

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