Oil Painting: Focusing on Figures

This was the first day that I spent painting the figures. I managed to complete the majority of one painting, and got started on another one. I always make a habit of leaving something unfinished so that the next time I go to the studio it’s easier to pick up from where I left off, rather than having to start completely from scratch.

It’s tough for me to access whether the paintings are going where I want them to go. I’ve been looking at the paintings all day today, so I think I’ll wait until tomorrow when I can look at them with a fresh eye to see how they are. I can definitely say that when I put these new paintings next to the ones I did last year, that they are certainly an improvement in every way. To really access them I think I need to not look at them for a few days and then decide how things are.

I was having trouble loosening up my brush work today, probably a combination of me not having painted for a while and also being a little anxious to finally get to this stage. I can say quite confidently that I was pleased with the foundation of white paint that I was working on. As long as it took to get that foundation of white paint down, it was definitely worth it. As I worked the surface of the canvas, the density of the white paint was really satisfying to work on. I was also excited about the relationship between the subtle yellow glazes in the background combined with the deep purple paint I was using to create the figures. In the end, I want the paintings to feel like black and white images, but with a slight kick because of the yellow and purple.

Painting the shadows was a real challenge. For some reason, it was considerably more difficult to get straight, steady lines in the oil paint compared to the walnut ink. I think it was a combination of working on the easal (as opposed to on the floor) and also that the surface of the canvas was bumpy and uneven compared to a sheet of watercolor paper. I figured out that in order to get those really light, thin glazes I have to use a lot of oil medium, but be sure that my brush isn’t too wet. When the brush is too wet, it causes the paint to drip down, causing the line to look messy and uneven.
Tracks I

One thought on “Oil Painting: Focusing on Figures

  1. This is amazing! I think you have achieved your goal (in my opinion) It is black ad white without being black and white, and the tones on the figures are amazing!
    I too have trouble with straight lines depending on how thick I have my paint and also find it easier to do flat rather than on an easel. Only problem is when I paint flat I strain my neck and back – easels take some getting used to i think.
    Well done anyway

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