At the End of Day 4: Life Drawing into Painting Workshop

Day four of Alan McGowan‘s “Life Drawing into Life Painting” workshop saw us start with two 10-minute charcoal drawings, followed by a 20-minute one, then onto some colour theory and a painting with a palette to which magenta and cyan were added, followed by the long post in the afternoon again.

Charcoal Life Drawing
Two 10-minute drawings. First, on the left, has its moments. Second, on the right, went all angular and stiff.
Charcoal Life Drawing
Third charcoal drawing, lying down pose, 20 minutes.

I added magenta and cyan to my palette for the long pose, for purples in shadows, as contrast to the yellow light. But overall stayed with mostly desaturated colours. It’d be great to have another week to work this pose again, with the same colours on my palette but used more saturated.

Long pose life drawing
There’s a long way it could still go, and perhaps the colours and too desaturated, but I had a lot of enjoyment working on this long post painting. I’m feeling much more aware of warm/cool colours and colour (de)saturation than before this week.
My position in the studio
My position in the studio. Painting on easel is the long-pose one; on floor is this morning’s study. Palette is on a high barstool, so at a good working height.
My working oil painting palette
My palette at the end of the afternoon. Colours: burnt sienna, golden ochre, magenta, cyan, Payne’s grey, mixed titanium and zinc white. Plus a tiny dab of cadmium yellow.

Notes to myself:
• Highlights in reflected (indirect) light will never be as high in tone as highlights in direct light. The difference is crucial for getting sense of body turning in space.
• Range of colours produced by limited palette. When adding additional colours, consider what it’ll produce when mixed with what already using, whether it’s close to colours you’ve already got or opening new areas. E.g. with palette palette of muted primaries: burnt sienna (“red”), golden ochre (“yellow”), and Payne’s grey (“blue”) adding magenta introduces purples and cyan increases greens.
• With highly saturated colours, such as Matisse used, tone of the colour is still fundamental.
• Use the background to focus on negative space around the body and between sections, to carve in more accurate shapes.
• Check tone of background and put it in relatively early so it doesn’t distract the eye. (Look at “background” beneath stool above.)
• Use 50:50 mix of zinc:titanium white for a white with properties of both (transparent:opaque) akin to properties of lead white.
• Consider and cross check overall shape of figure, e.g. triangle from head to hands to feet.

At the End of Day 1: Life Drawing into Painting Workshop
At the End of Day 2: Life Drawing into Painting Workshop
At the End of Day 3: Life Drawing into Painting Workshop
What I Found Walking Along the Seashore at Gardenstown
Wirework: Memories of a Walk on Gardenstown Beach
Lost Your Marbles?
Photos: In Gardenstown (afternoon before art workshop)
Photos: Walking on the Beach at Gardenstown

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