Portrait/Figure painting from life, Day 1 of 5 – afternoon

October 5, 2014

After lunch, a static, formal pose was settled upon, a pose able to held for the afternoon and the following four days.

This single drawing on A2 bond paper, with a 2B pencil, is a result of nearly three hours’ work, split into roughly 20-25mins with 5-10min breaks.

Ultimately, this sketch falls between two stools: too big to act as a cartoon for an A3-sized painting and too small for an A2-sized painting. Towards the end, a very light pencil “wash” to denote the large shadow masses was in order. The contour linework is still too tentative and indecisive and I am deeply unhappy about the proportions and accuracy of observation – the head is too small, the front breast is too large (the far breast is closer to reality though the contour is a lot straighter), the torso is too wide; the hands fall roughly beneath each other so I’m not worried about that so much. The front arm is worrying, though the angle between the base of the front breast and the base of the scapula is accurate; the far heel has a habit of slipping in and out of view, as does the back of the far knee.

Far too many of the decisions were made at the easel instead of standing two metres back from it.

Because this week is dedicated to my investigating flesh tones in oil painting, I haven’t concerned myself with the furniture and furnishings. As far as I’m concerned, detailed work on them can only logically follow from a great deal of study of drapery which I have yet to do.

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One Response to “Portrait/Figure painting from life, Day 1 of 5 – afternoon”


  1. Drapery…oh, yes…there’s that…


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