Saturday, August 25, 2012

Oil Sketch of Female Nude

Our ever growing and always dynamic figure drawing group met this week, and it was truly a diverse crowd - painting, drawing with charcoal, pastel, and then two sculptors working as well.  It's always so rewarding to see how a multitude of artists interpret the same model.

I had a wonderful view of our model's pose, with an elegant - but tricky!  - placement of her hand behind her back.

I started with a wash of burnt sienna, then sketched in the large shape of her figure, making sure the placement on the page would accommodate her triangular shape created from the top of her head, to her elbow, to her knees.

I slowly deepened the environment as I worked on the placement of her shoulders and her knee turned away from me.  The hand behind her back kept shifting as I searched for the right size and shape of her back.  Once the shapes and proportions were correct, I started adding color with the drapery first.

It was helpful to add some cool whites to the overall warm tones - I could see the color in the skin a little easier with the contrast of white drape and warm skin tone.  

The pose had some similarities to this one from a couple weeks ago with a wonderful male model.

I spent the majority of our time with the model just getting the drawing correct - I still need to go back in and add the flesh colors. may stay moody and monochromatic...we'll see where it goes! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Painting Grandma for her 95th Birthday

I've been doing SO much painting lately that I almost don't know where to begin with updating my blog!  Portraits, figure paintings, still lifes, my Woodstock series...I'm exhausted just thinking about it!  Even if I don't post everything here, I do manage to share an update now and then on my Facebook Art page, so I hope you check that out from time to time!

So going back to July, when I was visiting family in New York, there happened to be one morning that my kids were off with their cousins, and my mom looked at me and said "There are no kids! We should PAINT."  And I said "Ok - what do you want to pain?" And we chatted a few minutes before deciding that my Grandma Nani would be the perfect subject.  She had just turned 95 the day before!  And my mother assured me that if we gave her a big breakfast she would take a nice nap while we painted her :)

So we set up outside on the deck - mid morning, great light, cool breeze from the water.

Just like the Alla Prima class, I started by looking for the large shapes, then darkest darks.  Notice Grandma is still awake.  And an excellent model!

As predicted, our model dozed off...and I started by blocking in her arm in the sunlight and some of the greenery.

It was clear that Nani was full, comfy, and sleepy, so I adjusted my painting of her head and started dabbing on the colors in her shirt and neck.  I wanted the gaunt quality of her cheeks, but still maintain the warmth of her skin.  The direction of the folds in her neck, and the hollow at the base of her neck were crucial in establishing the quality of the skin, and the feel of the pull of her head back onto the pillow.

I think we ended up painting for about three hours!  Nani was an excellent model.  And you really can't blame a woman with two children, ten grandchildren, and 15 great grandchildren for needing a nap :)