Another exploration with interactive acrylic and ‘drawing with a brush’. Here there was time, about 50 minutes in all, to introduce white with the umber and go beyond a basic wash-in to add a little loose modelling on the back and a touch of detail in the profile.
A fairly quick wash-in experimenting with interactive acrylic paint, I found it very freeing to splash around with water, rather than turps or mineral spirits which are both costly and toxic, and to be able to reactivate the paint when touch dry, more like oils. I’ll continue to play around with this medium to find out how it performs in other ways.
I love the challenge of a dramatic pose like this. The red lines were a way of redefining and checking my drawing. The use of a strong Cadmium red was an experiment, partly to make the marks stand out against the Umber so I could see the alterations clearly but also to increase the drama and energy of the image.
I made some other studies and colour notes of this pose so I may paint a larger, more finished painting from these at some point…
With this little study I couldn’t resist taking the wash-in a bit further and introduced some colour notes so it hovers between drawing and painting. The pencil grid lines are a traditional method to help with placement and correspond with a similar grid I’ve made on clear acetate in a slide frame.
Grid method: Make a clear viewfinder and draw your grid lines onto it. A piece of clear acetate in an old slide transparency frame works well for a small portable grid. Then draw a matching scaled-up grid on the canvas. Look through your viewfinder to select the scene you want to draw/paint and then transpose that scene onto the canvas. It’s like marking reference points on a map. You can locate key points on the little viewfinder’s grid…top of head, left knee, right big toe etc…and mark them in relation to the grid on the canvas. Of course it also works for still lifes, landscapes and other subjects, and for scaling up photographs etc.
NB: Make sure both grids have the same aspect ratio i.e. the ratio of the longer side to the shorter side needs to be the same for both the canvas and the viewfinder. Otherwise you’ll be all over the place!
With a bit of practice this can be easier and more accurate than placing the whole scene without a reference grid, especially if the composition is quite complex.
Another wash-in. The pose is quite similar to the previous one, and the thing I struggled with in both of them was the model’s left leg which looks in each case like it somehow doesn’t belong. No matter how much I measued and checked that leg persisted in looking disturbingly unattached. It’s something to do with the viewer’s angle in relation to the pose and the weight of the hip sinking into the mattress and I just couldn’t get either of them to look right. I honestly think a photograph would have looked just as odd. Otherwise I quite like this as a study.
This was an experiment with an Umber wash-in, which is a traditional way to begin an oil painting, though I think how I’ve done it probably isn’t very traditional. But it is very washy. And drippy. There’s a wonderful freedom working this way which is essentially drawing with a brush. The oil paint, thinned with genuine turps, can be pulled and pushed around for quite a long time before it dries. This would be the first layer of a painting, describing the general shapes and values. The next stage would be to paint the scene again on top of this layer again using monochrome values, but with opaque paint. The third stage, when that second layer is dry, is to add colour, and finally the highlights. Oil paint can take days to dry so this is potentially quite a long process.