Colour Conscious

Oil on linen: 30 x 40 cm  11.75  x 15.75 ins

The model here is Parisian Portuguese, not Asian, and she recently went to a traditional Indian wedding so she had this colourful sari in her wardrobe and chose to wear it again when invited to sit for this costume pose.

The colours were exciting with lots of gold and shine and complimentary contrast and the jewellery and embroidered fabrics were rich in detail but I wanted to keep it lively and loose and not overwork it too much.

I’m pleased with the face which looks animated and alive, almost as if she’s saying something…and its a good likeness too which doesn’t always happen!

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Red Miss

Oil on canvas  9 x 12 ins  22.5 x 30 cm  SOLD

I sometimes go along to a clothed/costume/portrait session which presents some different challenges to painting the nude figure i.e. clothes! It’s the same pose for 2 hrs a week over three or four weeks, so about six hours’ painting in all. This is the same model as in the previous painting ‘Light Attire’ and I followed a similar approach starting with an umber wash-in and only adding the red colours at the final session .

The pose reminded me of Whistler’s famous portrait of his mother ‘Arrangement in Grey and Black’ and I was interested in the underlying abstract structure of the composition and then restricting the palette to a range of reds against a ground of warm neutrals, and emphasising the strong contrast of the model’s pale skin against the darker tones.

‘Arragement in Grey and Black: The Artist’s Mother’  by James McNeill Whistler in 1871 Oil on canvas:  144.3 cm × 162.4 cm (56.8 in × 63.9 in)   Musée d’Orsay, Paris

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Light Attire

Oil on linen  30 x 40 cm  11.75  x 15.75 ins

This model has a true Engish rose complexion and her hair is well over four feet long!

The painting took about ten hours altogether, painted earlier this year in four sessions over about a month. The first day I made some sketches and began with an umber wash-in. A week later I added white to the umber paint to make three monochrome tones – a dark, a middle and a light – and began to model the figure with these flat opaque values. No colour was added until the third session and in the fourth week I made a few final adjustments.

It was good to have time to stop and consider between the sessions, and I’m very pleased with the way this painting turned out, in particular the loose illusion of realism and the feeling of light splashing onto the figure from above.

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Oil on canvas   9 x 12 ins  22.5 x 30 cm

As well as life drawing I’ve been doing some figure painting and I plan to post some of them here so I can see more objectively what progress I’m making.

This one is probably my first ‘finished’ oil painting of a nude figure and is at least a year old, maybe two! It’s not as loose as I wanted but I was pleased with the mood and composition. And it was a pretty good likeness.

I’ve been experiencing the magic of placing paint on a 2-D surface to create the sense of a 3-D figure and am increasingly curious about figurative painting and how to develop skills in this area.

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