A Figure Painting Demonstration

Here's a share about how I constructed figure painting on a small panel. This panel is about 9 x 12". It's an acid-free panel from Dick Blick and is double sized with acrylic gesso.

Around the edges I just cut a sort of cardboard template that I used to hold onto the painting instead of using an easel. I can this cardboard to an old piece of bulletin board that I use that I've mounted to the wall.

I start my paintings usually by using Photoshop and laying a grid on the image that I'm in a work with. For the most part what I do  is I cropped down on the image in Photoshop until everything that's unnecessary is gone in the image and only the most important things apply. I also tried to pick the thing in the image that's the most important were the focus on in this case it happens to be the butt.

I also, tend to premix a lot of the flesh tones using plastering knives  and creating puddles of paint on a large glass palette that I use. In the right hand side of this image you'll see for piles of paint and they are in pinks and oranges in a range of tones. I also premixed on the left-hand side the background color that I would use.

The other thing that I do is I redefine the drawing and look for the big gestural lines to get the figure placed well in the panel. In this case I started by redefining the drawing by using a bristle brush and destroying with straight burnt umber into it. Then after I got the drawing defined I went back and started laying in a little bit of a wash using just straight paint thinner and dirty brushes. I wwipe out the lights with a rag.

Then I think it's my job to get as much paint onto the panel as possible so I start a lot of times by painting the background in and blocking in the big forms almost messily with the largest brush I have which is about half an inch and it's a bristle.

Show you the palette here so that you can understand how I'm taking the darkest orange and then mixing the pink that's to its right to get some tonal transitions across the back and across the butt.

Then the rest of the painting is a matter of continuing to refine using the colors that I already have an oftentimes I'll restate the drawing over and over again.

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