Four Day Pose and Color Spheres


The image above is my study from a four day pose with the patron-saint of our atelier, Randy, the model, poet and dear friend of Juliette. I’m really enjoying the challenges that come with these shorter poses. With each painting I’ve tried a new approach to see what works–drawing on paper, drawing on canvas with charcoal or with paint, doing a grisaille or a wipeout underpainting, and of course many different color combinations.

This time I decided to draw directly on the canvas to maximize my time painting. I completed the block-in drawing halfway through the first day. I went over the charcoal drawing with ink while looking at the model and was able to correct and specify the drawing as I went. Then I covered the inked drawing with paint and made a wipeout underpainting during the last two 20-minute sessions. That was a lot to get done in one morning but I didn’t hit any bumps in the road with materials so I was able to give myself a solid start for painting in color the next morning.


Day two, I started with the upper legs, hips and lower back and tried to get familiar with a new flesh palette I mixed that morning with Randy’s flesh tone in mind.

Day three, I dove into the rest of the back which meant adjusting the shadow shapes and then turning form by moving carefully from the shadows to the lightest planes of the back and trying my best to articulate all of the intricate anatomy along the way.

Day four, final day, I put in the background and the lovely crimson sheet to start so that I could rework edges on the figure and correct the drawing as needed. Then I started in on the lower legs and feet before rushing to finish to the head in the final 20 minute countdown.



Four days is only enough time to do one pass of paint with very little fussing and correcting, so this short timeframe was a great motivator to put down my best guess and move on. It also got me to focus on painting more thickly on the first pass which I’ve been trying to coach myself to do. Many new painters timidly paint too thinly because we’re hesitant about what we’re doing. But as Juliette says, it doesn’t make you less wrong if you whisper it, you’ll just have to go back over it if it’s painted too thinly no matter if it’s right or wrong. Better to just commit.

The study is 11 x 14 inches. Next week we begin a two-week pose so as I write this I’m thinking about how to adjust my approach to the timeframe. Below is a nifty slideshow of the process:

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In the afternoons we’ve been doing a lot of color work. Remember in my last post about lemons and color tuning when I described tuning a red value string to paint an apple? Below is the result of a great project we did with chromatic spheres to illustrate that idea. Each color was tuned using other colors to keep the chroma high as the values went darker or lighter.