Happy New Year everyone~! Sorry, it's been forever since my last post. I keep thinking I need to post more often but I keep reaching for the much shorter format Facebook and Instagram. I guess I've become a creature of the social media - just thinking about writing something longer than a sentence sometimes overwhelms me.
...and to think, I used to do blog posts twice a week! Times have changed, eh?
But I'm not done with this. I will try and do better this year. (One of my resolutions!) And in an effort to keep my resolution without burning out too quickly, I'll keep my posts relatively short.
Today, I have a bunch of sketches from a figure session last month. These were done in one session, where the model, dressed in everyday street clothes, changed poses every 12 minutes.
So each of these poses is a 12 minute quick oil sketch. And I have to say, it is a great exercise!
It requires focus, and quick decision making. No time to noodle form or dilly dally on detail. Just the basics, folks.
The key is to concentrate on gesture - to communicate what the figure is doing, rather than what she looks like.
We can simplify the form by generally separating a given element (red shirt, for example) into two shapes: light and shadow. Each color element (shirt, skin, etc.) only needs two puddles, see. If you want more variation in the skin tones, you can come back to it after the two-value thing is established. But if you run out of time, you still have a strong structure.
Darker shapes like hair mass and black pants don't even need separating into light and shadow. If the overall shape is strong, a simple silhouette may do the trick.
Again, if you have time left (we only had 12 minutes) you can come back and separate it into two values (or more).
With this last one, I attempted a multi-figure composition by painting one figure at a time, not knowing what the next pose was going to be. The model changed clothes / props, and I was able to combine them in one study as if there were three people at a bus station or something.
This multi-figure exercise is really challenging because you have no idea if the next pose will fit the context, and there's no guarantee that each subsequent pose will work with the existing image. I didn't have high expectations, but I did commit to try and at least paint them the same scale so that they looked like they belonged in the same environment.
Connecting the dark shapes of the shadows and pants helped to tie the individual figures together so that they visually read as a group.
Each figure is about 8 inches tall.
I used scrap pieces of linen taped to boards. The linen is Claessens No.66.
I loved this exercise so I'm going to do this again. soon. It's excellent practice for painting figures quickly and gesturally, a very handy skill to have if you like putting figures into environments, especially en plein air!
'Hopefully, it won't be another 6 months before my next post!!