Sunday, February 07, 2010

Figure Study Using a Limited Palette & Upcoming Show Announcement

Figure Study
copyright 2010, Jan Blencowe
acrylic on board

It's always good to challenge yourself. Push into something that you don't feel comfortable or confident with yet. It could be a new medium, a new size or a new subject.

I don't have very much experience with the figure and practically none with portraiture (something I have avoided like the plague, unless the subject was a canine!). This winter I found an open studio with a model and for a very reasonable fee I can show up and sketch and paint for three hours on Sunday afternoons.

At first I stuck to vine charcoal and some pastels. The I began working with GraphiTint pencils which you can use a wet brush with to create washes and  once I began doing that I knew I would switch to painting.

I was a little nervous about the switch, wondering if I would be able to manage the drawing aspects along with value and color. But I find it much easier than drawing!

One thing I did do to make the daunting challenge of painting the figure more managable is use a limited palette. For this painitng I used Buff Titanium (which has a warmer cast to it than regular titanium white), raw sienna dark, prussian blue and transparent red oxide. This simple palette provided everthing I needed to render the figure in soft believeable tones.

Another thing I did was lay in a modulating background using all 3 colors plus the buff titanium before the class. That way I had a toned background to work out of and could focus my full concentration on the figure.

I am far from an expert when it comes to figure work but I'm finding that stretching a little is very satisfying and a great way to pass the winter months until it's warm enough (and interesting enough) to paint outdoors again.


I have 8 paintings in the Pre-Spring Show at The Gallery on Main, 990 Main Street, East Hartford. The opening is Thursday, Feb. 18th, 2010 6-8pm

If you are in the neighborhood I would be delighted if you would stop in and say Hi!


AutumnLeaves said...

What a beautiful piece, Jan. I like your figure paintings even better than your gorgeous landscapes. I love what you have done with a limited palette and I especially like the background subdued lighting here. Just amazing work!

Kim said...

Great Opportunity for upcoming artists to show cast their talent to millions with

Simz said...

Its a beautiful painting, esp. the upper body and i like the colors used ... What you said about challenging yourself as an artist and moving to new territory is so true ...