Oil Study

Here’s a second try with the live model at Atelier de Bresoles, working under Eric Manella.  I’m trying to apply everything from his previous workshops on cast drawing and master copies. This was a four day pose. (Same model as the previous sketch).

The first day was just the the linear block-in. Done in Raw Umber with a touch of Ivory Black.  (A fast drying mix).

The progress pics below are all from the second day’s underpainting. Eric suggested I work over the (now dry) block-in with a 2″ hog bristle fan brush. It was pretty strange (never having tried a fan before). Sure gave me a lot of rapid coverage.

I spent the remaining sessions rendering with progressively smaller and softer brushes. Going down to a #2 round on the facial features. Now that I’ve been through it, I would have tried to be a bit less aggressive with the underpainting. I left myself with too many ridges in the paint surface. Next time I’ll try a synthetic fan and more medium.

It’s fairly crucial to give it a few days between sessions, so you can work over dry paint.  It’s a totally different experience going over a dry surface. Most of my previous alla prima attempts always ended in a mess of thick muddy paint. This method, while requiring patience, is very relaxing. The paint just obeys your every whim.

Another of Eric’s tips – first thing on each return session, I went over the entire panel with clear linseed oil (spreading a very thin glaze). This brings up the dried (matte) color to the correct rich values of the wet oil. You need to see the value as it will look after the final varnishing – so you’re not drifting into chalky colors over time.

This is of course a long way from the level of finish I hope to get. But it is the first time I felt I grasped the entirety of this system of ‘academic’ painting.

2 thoughts on “Oil Study

  1. The “Almighty Fan Brush.” Must be a William Alexander influence going on there. :D
    Excellent work, BTW.

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