At our figure sketch group we want to paint a person doing a real action, rather than holding an artificial pose.
|Sarah the Potter, oil on canvas, 9x12 inches, 5 hours|
So we ask Sarah to bring her pottery supplies and to do her normal work.
We agree on a base pose that she can return to from time to time. We talk to her during the pose, so she's not holding totally still.
1. I draw with the brush on gesso-primed canvas mounted on a Masonite panel. I begin the quick block-in with casein. Casein is a good underpainting medium.
Right away I'm looking for the big shapes of tone, in this case her light face and figure against the simple dark background.
2. I begin to overpaint with oil on the face, hair, and background. Eventually, about 95 percent of the surface will be covered with oil paint. The oil paint achieves deeper values than the casein because of its glossiness.
I have three cups: Gamsol for thinner, Liquin, and a slow-drying medium (equal parts stand oil, damar varnish, and turpentine).
3. I simplify the tones in the arm and shoulder and torso, painting them with very little value variation and using color temperature to turn the form instead.
Consequently, the front plane of her shoulder has a slightly cooler cast.
The key light is a warm incandescent. I introduce the window into the composition to motivate the cool edge (or "rim") light.
Her hair melts into the simple tones of the background. On the left, I paint the window mullions and other background details out of focus.
In contrast to those empty shapes, I revel in the sharp accents and clutter of the worktable.
Studio host Garin Baker paints next to me. He'll be leading a painting workshop with Max Ginsburg and Christopher Pugliese this October in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Here's the link for more info.