- Lesson Details
In this lesson with instructor Joseph Todorovitch, you will explore your composition in a free and natural way. You will learn to keep your color, value, and designs as simple as possible, yet still be able to create a successful figure painting from start to finish.
This lesson belongs to the course From Paper to Canvas. In this 10-week course, internationally renowned artist Joseph Todorovitch teaches you his tonal approach to figure drawing, which is designed and tailored specifically for painters. In the first half of the course, you will learn to draw the figure while focusing on value masses, shape design, and edge quality in relation to the form. You will study a procedural approach that forces you to work simple, then gradually progresses to more complexity. The second half of the course will be devoted to applying this approach in oil painting. After analyzing the connection between the two mediums, you will be introduced to color mixing and color theory. This course will guide you through how to create drawings as preparatory studies for paintings, and provide you a fundamental understanding of figure painting.
Throughout this course, you’ll have access to the NMA community for feedback and critiques to improve your work as you progress.
So here we are.
We're going to paint today.
We're going to throw it all out the window and try to just work in a
real fluid, more intuitive approach and rely on the things we talk about
when in order to stay organized.
So we're, I'm gonna, I'm going to do a painting and I'm just gonna, I'm just
gonna enjoy the process and and try to talk through some of the things, but
if I start moving a little bit quick, then we can refer to the video if you
need to and I'm just going to play around with the paint and try to rely on the
things we've discussed to keep me in order, keep everything on the tracks.
So let's go ahead and give it a shot.
Transcription not available.
I'm going to throw all that out the window.
I think we've gone over you know, drawing for painting, the setting
up, the accounting for, the movable masses and the gesture, the form, the
anatomical landmarks and so forth.
And so we've been kind of doing that every time.
And I just wanna always be clear that's just the things
that we need to be aware of.
If you're learning something it's really important to work in a good procedure that
reinforces a process that you can rely on.
So if you're not entirely comfortable doing or painting, then it's really
important to work in a way that strengthens your ability to account for
all those things we've been discussing.
But at some point, the reason we do, we learn a process of any sort of anything
is so that we can kind of throw it all out the window and just fly and just
respond to something - to a subject.
And work a little more intuitively and a little more freely.
And so I kind of thought it'd be a nice and nice way to wrap up the
course and just I dunno, work that way, which means I, you know, I might not,
you know, work like one step and then another pass and then another pass.
I might just kind of, you know, start right here and then, you know,
just, I don't know, I'm just going to respond intuitively here and
see what happens and just kind of
not be so procedure oriented.
I mean, I'll explain, you know, I'll try to explain the best I can what's
going on, you know, last time as well I also - every painting I've done in here
so far, I've been really reluctant to kind of just freely use color because
I'm trying to you know, show that using a series of primaries three simple
primaries is a good way to go about doing things, but it's not really how it's not
necessarily the only way of doing things.
In fact, I mean, like I said, if you're just responding to color, you're
gonna, you're gonna, you're gonna be free to kind of use everything.
And I don't I don't hesitate to kind of try things out and get in
there and just use whatever and get a feel for what a series of colors
are going to work best for each, you know, each particular painting.
And you got to kind of figure that out.
But like I said, it's not a bad idea to have a - to simplify.
And so using a set of primaries is what I've been doing up until this point.
So for those of folks that are watching - are going to watch this
online, I mean, it's all right here.
You'll see that the freedom I have to use everything, even though I'm not going
to explain every step, it's if you're really concerned about the color choices
it's really easy to see what's going on.
I will say however that I'm certainly going to abide by the
idea that my light source is relatively cool and so my shadows
are going to start relatively warm.
I am sensing a lot of a reflected light that's kind of gray, which is kind
of cooling the shadows down a little bit, but that doesn't, negate the fact
that the light source is fluorescent.
And so that's the statement I'm going to try to represent first and foremost.
And then I can introduce any reflected light after that.
I don't know.
So it might be a good thing to see this this approach.
I think it's important to see different approaches and certainly not a bad
thing to see one, one person using different approaches to clearly,
demonstrate the importance of fundamental issues versus more artistic issues.
You know, and the kind of marriage of those ideas.
So that's where I'm at today.
Definitely trying to keep the values on the palette relatively grouped
together so that I have a pile of, relatively, you know, relatively darker
pile of values and relatively medium.
A pile of values in a relatively light pile of values, just to stay organized.
We're going to - we're always going to use three values to
create form, to represent light
And as long as those values are clear, we have a lot of leeway with color.
So I'm going to try to just make sure that's the main component.
In terms of strategy, I want to make sure since there's a portrait involved,
I want to make sure that I get a suitable or an acceptable representation pretty
early otherwise, you know, well, I mean, that's just going to be really
important at some point, so I'm not going to beat around the bush and
wait around for that.
That's why I'm not working my way down and finding the construction
and the, you know, the center line of the three movable masses just yet.
I'm starting with the head position because it's going to stay the same.
I know that if I paint the head, the right size, that this stuff can fall into line.
So if I paint this head and you know, I have a habit, a statement here where
the figure is going to go and so forth.
So, you know, I'm not gonna do spend my time doing that at this point,
because I know that I can rely on my construction ideas and my gestural ideas
as I work my way down the painting.
So like you can see that you know, I'm going right in for the queue and
trying to just go for some shapes on the portrait that are suitable.
Simple, but suitable and trying to capture, you know, as best I can, the
overall light design, light and dark at first, and maybe kind of the
gestural shapes of the hair and so forth.
And certainly the tilt of the head and the position of the head
is going to be really important.
It's a place holder and I want to do this as best I possibly can.
And that's going to be the difference between, you know working for
conveying a procedure versus working for trying to do a poetic painting here.
So, you know, I'm going to slow down and try to be careful and to some degree
concerned myself a little bit more with the
the accuracy of the drawing as I see fit.
And the accuracy means the accessibility and the reasonable placement of things.
I'm not gonna - I understand that there's, there is a time constraint.
So since it's not a five week pose or whatever, there is some
time constraints, so I have to be reasonable about the goals.
So but within that time constraint.
We learn to, we learn to be efficient and go for the essentials, so to speak.
So now as I work my way down, I have the head established and
the neck relatively established.
I need to understand the base here, pit of the neck and how it
kind of lines up with this eye.
And then I can look for example, a very decisive placement of the
sternum, which is our center line,
which is ultimately our homebase for the torso, which ultimately is a gestural
line to what the rib cage is doing.
In this case it's coming out towards me.
And then it's, you know, as it comes out here, so this is back and this is coming
out at, towards me a little bit closer.
So there's a tilt to the rib cage.
In other words, I need to know the extremity of that rib cage as
it surpasses the face down here.
So you see how, you know, my initial mark wasn't bad and how it was a
good placeholder to kind of work my way down, but I didn't necessarily
have to do the entire construction if I wanted to stop right now.
I think this is that's one thing about when you're painting for yourself
and not for you know, necessarily conveying information you can disguise
the procedure and, I mean, that's the artistic aspect of it, right?
Not that we're disguising it for the sake of trying to be crafty or whatever, but
simply that what we're trying to do is
just go for what we're responding to and what matters.
So I'm painting what matters.
And that's it at this point, anything that doesn't matter to
me is not going to get painted.
So that's going to change from painting to painting and from sitting to sitting.
So you know, That's why we need our toolbox to be thorough so that we know
how to always maintain our bearings when we're kind of working in a more,
a little bit more of an intuitive mode.
Gonna take a measurement at this point.
Into the pectoralis as I see it.
And so it's really easy.
And you know, in the beginning of class, I mean, we were doing - didn't
we do some quick drawings in here.
Some two minute, five minute poses is for the gesture, the construction so forth.
We're never going to forget that now, since we're doing a long painting, doesn't
mean that we can't, we don't tap into the quick two minute fluidity of the pose.
Okay, it's doing this, you know what the river's pouring over here then it hits
that bank and starts to pour over here.
And we're looking for that extremity.
And we're looking for that rhythm.
That lyricism of the post.
So we're never forgetting that.
Now we might be working a little slower.
So, but that at any given time, you know, I'll take a measurement
to know where my destination is.
How many heads down is the elbow.
How many heads down is the placement of the hand or the, or where she's seated?
And then I have a destination and then I can kind of fluidly work my
way down there and wind up there and maintain that two minute idea,
which is, you know really important.
So that's, that's one of the connections of, you know, drawing for painting and
why we had to do that in the beginning during the drawing portion of this course,
Pectoralis is here.
I need to go on the other side.
I know that it's a little bit lower.
So in terms of construction, when I start to look for things, I'm
still constructing just the same.
I'm not gonna over construct or over render.
But I'm just going for placement.
Now I know that is behind
And then I have the rib cage actually peaking out right here.
I can continue down and as I continue down, I'm never.
Never unaware of where I am in relationship to the portrait.
So as I just continue down immediately, my mind says how far over is that
center line in relationship to that eye for example, cause right now
I'm lined up vertically to the eye.
So I'm working my way down to the navel and I can see that
it's actually out further.
So that means that she's really jutting out this way.
I need to make sure that the naval winds up right about here.
So you can see that I'm feeling my way through that two minute idea.
It's still very loose and sketchy at this point and I can still make changes,
but I'm still trying to account for the construction and the gesture.
Just the same as in a Quaker pose.
And then right about just past the elbow is actually where the
lower torso starts to emerge there.
And there's this negative space between the shadow here and the top
of the arm in which I can identify in acknowledged the rib cage subtly.
And then - and in doing so I can jump from the rib cage down to the pelvis,
the next anatomical landmark of importance, just underneath the arm here,
connect where that is in relationship to the head.
And this is what I'm thinking.
And I might stop at that point and just start to, you know, like I said, I don't
necessarily, I, you know, I'm working with an idea that visually our eye's focused.
So when I look and maintain that this is the focal point, the resolve gradates off.
So this is most finished.
This is - has a little bit less, and then this has significantly less.
And so there's a natural progression of things that is to me really important.
So I'll go back up and work my way down and you'll see, I'll keep going up,
down, up, down and raining more and more information into the painting.
I might even start with a light mass and then before I
tackle the shadows any further
or I might just go ahead and introduce those shadows.
So I'm just, I got my series of warm colors here.
I'm just going to neutralize it with the series of cool colors over
here until I find something that's suitable that starts to harmonize
with what I'm seeing up there.
And it's a living mixture.
It's not static.
It doesn't - I'm not going to mix it to oblivion until it's perfect.
You know, I'm just trying to keep introducing those compliment - those
complimentary in there until it resonates the color hue,
certainly the value, which is light in relationship to the other
values, but the color hue and the
I definitely want to start under saturated so that I can build up the saturation
that's pretty low in saturation, which is actually really good, nice, neutral
- a nice neutral saturation to start.
And it's a good, you know, opportunity.
I mean, some people might say that's very neutral.
And I would agree.
And I would say that you know, I'm more comfortable adding pure color
to a neutral color to saturate.
You can see in the nose.
I just add just a little bit more of the vermilion to intensify the saturation.
And it just works tremendously.
That's much easier to intensify the saturation than it is to,
for me to de saturate color after I've put a lot of it down.
Logistically it's easier because you have pure saturated color here, so you
just keep adding more and there you go.
But if I start too pure and I have to keep neutralizing, then I have to
keep adding a mixture that needs to be continually modified in order for it
to start to de-saturate effectively.
So I like that.
Just going to be very careful with these shapes.
Not worried about too much detail.
I'm just worried about the feeling of the values and the average shapes here.
And just trying to get paint - just trying to get a material down, coverage.
It's important for me to remember that the initial shapes I've chosen are, or
should be representative of the clear simplification of what I'm seeing.
So it's not gonna get caught up in the intricacies just yet.
I'm trying to get the portrait covered, blocked in, and if it works well at
this stage and has, is if I'm in the neighborhood of the type and the likeness
and the intricacies fall right into place.
That's the easy part.
The hard part is designing it simply in a way that's effective.
And, you know, as I go, I'll judge that you know, judge whether or
not it's effective and because it will start to either resonate
close enough to the subject or not.
Not bad there.
So I'm just going to work down a little bit more and then block in the background.
So if I'm okay with this I'll continue down and introduce a little bit more.
So this kind of pores rains down a little bit into the shoulders, into
the torso and is of, this is of some supportive cast to the portrait here.
Because we don't want just that mask of the portrait floating.
We want to have a pedestal for that.
So I introduce this here while I'm in this value and color range anyway,
Quickly kind of block some more of that in.
So the value and the temperature is certainly changing as we start
to get further away from the light source over here on the right.
So it's okay to acknowledge that as long as I still have a very clear
idea in mind about where the, the drop-off or the terminator edge
actually is and where the shadow shape
begins and ends the perimeter of the shadow shape.
So that's, you know, that's never knew we can.
I mean, you might consider it skipping stages, which is completely reasonable.
If I have this on the brush and I'm trying to mass these areas in doesn't mean that I
can't conceivably keep in mind where those shadow shapes are and work around them.
So I'm just kind of blocking in, altering the value as I go and trying
to make sure that I'm still sure about
where my large shadow shapes are.
I'm going to, I'm actually going to dilute the mixture a little bit
thinner too as I get further away.
So then it gets a little more transparent at the drop-off.
I want this to - gonna use more of a wash.
As I get further and further away from my main area.
A wash, once it sets up is a little easier to work back into then thicker paint.
And it also has a more gradual, a gradual look to it.
And you can tell that the paint is transparent.
For example, like down here, if I were to just use a really light, I mean, this
is very thin, a lot of a lot of gamsol
very little pigment, but it's the right value.
It's in the right temperature range.
It's a very neutral flesh tone here.
It's not the actual flesh tone mix.
We're going to mix back on top of that and actually mix it.
But it's a good way to - it's faster.
It moves quicker.
So it's a good way to kind of introduce
and I guess under paint, what's going to eventually
going to eventually be needed to be mixed.
You know, frankly, it's just nice to have variation as well.
Variation in the paint application is very interesting.
So it's nice to have some passages that are somewhat transparent and wetter
versus areas that are
Especially in the shadows, typically recede well with
that nice transparent passage.
I can re-establish the shadow shape by the arm starting to break up here a little
bit too much and need there's a - when I squint is a real strong definite design
here that creates that illumination on the shoulder without it there's
that sense of illumination is absent,
sharp edge against the torso and against the breast here.
So on the right side of their shape, it's sharp.
Very specific arcs
with that sharp edge.
Now I run into the shadow shape under the breasts, and then I run into this
passage where I don't have any paint yet.
I need to be very clear what's going on in terms of edge quality here.
Otherwise without the proper series of edges, it can start
to look I know organized.
So I'm going to very I'm going to accentuate all the sharp edges on
the right side are this direction and intersecting a new form.
So even though this shadow right here looks relatively
soft, I'll start out sharp.
Now in this case I don't want to revert back to information mode.
I wouldn't, I'm going to use observation and I'm not going to make
it as - I'm not going to overstate it like I would when we're doing the
drawing portion in order to of convey.
The concept at this point, I understand it and I'm gonna utilize it to some degree,
but then I'm going to rely on observation.
And I'm going to skip the over-simplification of it and go
straight for the actuality of it, but I've sharpened it in enough
places to make sure that it's very clear that it's a cast shadow.
So I'm organized in that way it'll be just fine.
If I let that edge diminish, soften just a little bit, as it gets further
away from the form or the origin.
Shadows typically get further and further away from the origin.
They do get softer and softer.
So that's a phenomenon that we do have to acknowledge.
So not a bad idea just to reiterate and accentuate that
concept first, just for clarity.
So more and more as I get more and more field up here, I'm starting to concern
myself with the transition between.
All of these shifts that I have.
I have warmer here.
I have cooler here, a little warmer here, a little lighter here.
They're all connected because they're all receiving - they're all receiving light
and part of the light design technically although how they connect and how one ebbs
and flows is going to be really important if I want to try to achieve some subtlety.
Which means that I need to start to deal with the transition.
You'll notice in all white passages here are where essentially
where a half tone would go.
And so I'm leaving that - actually I'm probably going to go back now
and introduce a half tone to start to roll that form and deal with the,
you know, the edges where things meet, where the light meets the dark.
And the perimeter characteristic of where the light meets the dark and
then also how within the light shape things also have a particular sense of
fluidity and connection that we want to - want to make very clear as well.
So, you know, I really hope that we're able to stay clear about how
the connection of the drawing portion of the class works with the painting
portion of the class, because there's a clear example in this area of the
shadow, where it gets really light as it starts to come over here and it's
darker over here, but they're more connected than they are different.
So same as we would block it in what the nice uniform value in the
drawing is how I would handle it.
In the painting, even though I'm sensing that variation.
Now that's a design concept that we learned in the drawing portion of
the class that we're going to - that we know is a wise choice now to
employ during the painting part.
So in other words, if I were to paint all the variation I see at full force,
what happens is we start to get a lot of.
Harsh things and we lose the continuity.
Sometimes we start to - we lose the big effect and basically the
connectivity of things.
So in other words this shadow can start to look really fragmented if I accentuate
the contrast here and then accentuate the bright reflected light here.
I have them both represented.
I have that light green reflective light represented over here, and it's slowly
merging into this nice, appropriate dark value over here, closer towards the form.
It's casting a shadow and in doing so, I would argue that I have it still a very
connected sense of shadow and a very clear sense of light and dark at this
stage that is you know, emphasizing the big idea and not the little the little
intricacies that are at this point that I would say are the superficial things
and not the primary concern we'll get.
We can get there.
It's very easy to elaborate on a concept really fast.
Once the entire painting is set up.
These are all drawing ideas.
This is what to me, this is way I, you know, we decided to do this
class because these are things that you learn about drawing and they
directly are useful in painting.
So it's, these are designed, these are design choices, design issues,
they're interpretation issues.
It's interpreting what we're seeing in the model and then designing
them for the most effective read.
That's what we're talking about here.
And that happens in a drawing class.
It doesn't happen when you, when you're juggling those things and you're juggling
color and color theory and so forth.
You're really taking on too many tasks.
So do juggling values and good design concepts with values
and so forth is a good start.
Once those values are solidified and then once those concepts are
solidified and understood trans transitioning into painting is much more
reasonable with those in your toolbox.
You know, and that's how I learned it in.
I'll never, I'm very thankful for that.
So that's how I teach it.
Since it's the last day, I feel completely justified
I guess, I guess just do things my own way in a way that I'm
not as, like I said, I don't.
It's very difficult to explain the kind of things that go on throughout
a process and the logic of it.
Got like, for example, I was, you know, working here now.
I need to go back and work up here and be more careful.
Not you know, not sure there is an explanation for it other than it feels
I'm just responding to that idea.
The, if there's an explanation, it probably has something to do with
the fact that that perception idea of keeping my focal point prioritized
and higher resolve than - a higher state of resolve than everything else.
And that it's a - it's a really - it's not a, sorry, it's a dance, right.
When you're doing this and that and this and that.
And when you're trying to
You know it's kind for me, it's - I'm just responding to the feeling that
this is - this needs to be tuned a little bit more here at this stage.
Not too much.
I've learned to work incrementally over the years and not get caught into the trap
of, okay, now I'm working on this area.
Therefore I'm going to just get consumed by the area.
What I like to do is introduce another.
Incremental level of information.
And if it's harmonious and I don't sense any discord I'll let it simmer
for awhile, but I'm not going to go in and get trapped in all of the
infinite things that are going on there.
Just trying to tune what I have one degree closer.
One degree more resolved.
there's no detail.
It's only form only the big forms turning.
And I - if those initial forms are set up properly, the subsequent
things to follow, just, they just add,
it's a really small portrait as well, too.
It's important to understand and be reasonable about how much detail you're
going to try to cram into there and still maintain the essence or the integrity
of the individual in simple terms.
and so a clue, I would say just maybe it's helpful, but is that if you
introduce a little bit of information on top of information, that was already
sound and it goes well that's great.
As soon as you start to sense discord, take a step back.
That's what I do.
It's - it's better if you even see even better.
If you take a step back just before you start to get to that point.
That's great control.
That's really understanding to me about when and where to
knowing when to say when, and then you can always get back to it.
Add a little bit and move out, add a little bit more and move out.
I'm gonna put one more note right here, just to start to give
the viewer a bit of information about the direction of the gaze.
And more - one degree more kind of psychological component when
you introduce the eyes there.
This is where I think we most easily
start to put too much.
So I'm trying to get cooler as I get to those those kinds of specular highlights.
I build my way up towards those lighter values.
I'm actually, you know, inherently using more white, which is going
to cool the color, but I'm trying to give it a particular color note.
In this case, I used a Vermilion to create this kind of pink.
And a little bit of the lemon to create this kind of like pinkish orange
color, which is really nice and just gives it a it gives it a fleshy note.
Now you might say, well, if it's pink or orange, that it's part -that
it's actually warm because it belongs to that side of the color wheel.
And that's true, but the.
The amount of white it's predominantly white, which is as a
cooling, uh, cooling quality to it.
Why does the coldest color on the palette.
So it's representing that fluorescent quality that's
going on in our light source.
And it's still, it's this passage of light value is significantly cooler than
this warm patch passage of dark value.
So the idea or the principle cool light warm shadow is still present,
even though this still feels nice.
Enrich a fleshy
Ultimately, that means that the principal deals in relatives.
The relative temperature of the lights are cooler relatively.
It doesn't mean they're blue.
It doesn't mean the purple doesn't mean they're green.
It means they're relatively cooler than the shadows, so they can take on an
orange quality or a warm - the lights are inherently cooler than the shadows.
But see, that's what I mean by relative.
They're relatively cooler.
It doesn't mean that they can't.
For example, this reads as an orange, this belongs to an orange family.
The highlights belong to a pink family, a classification on the color wheel.
It's orange and pink, but since there's so much white in it, it's the
mixture is cooler than the shadow here.
Shadow is a dark brown, primarily transparent oxide red,
a little bit of I don't know.
I don't think I use much black, but there might be a little bit of
black in there, but the temperature relative to one another this is
still significantly warmer than the passage of light, even though it's
reading as an orange or as a pink.
That's why that's why it's relative, relatively cool lights
in relationship to the shadows.
I mean, I think that's one of the toughest things about painting to digest.
So a blue can be warm in relationship to another blue.
And that's really important to understand.
I think that what we're doing is one way, which is painting from life and evaluating
the light source and trying to establish a very clear organization of your lights,
your half tones, and your darks and making sure that your applying the concept.
Another way is looking at other artwork and trying to identify
the concept at play and in other paintings and trying to identify
the light source, for example, in those paintings.
And what else?
I think acknowledging your mixtures as you're working as well in
terms of what's in your mixture.
Understanding on your palette, what belongs to what is important.
And so if you're mixing your lights mathematically, what portion of
your mixture, what percentage of your mixture is characterizing it
in terms of temperature, relative to
whatever you're trying to create contrast with.
So if you're working in the light area, what are your light
mixtures primarily composed of?
A lot of people go straight for the orange, the yellow and the red.
And they add a little bit of white.
Well, if you don't add enough white, it's just going to be really hot.
If you add - if you have a - if it's predominantly white, it's
going to be so bright that it's not going to work for a nice average.
So in that case, you can start with a little bit of that.
You have to neutralize it.
So there's a percentage of cool color in your lights to start
with - on your average, for example.
But when I get to the lightest lights, there can be less and less of that
and using the white more and more to cool.
I have established a skin tone.
Look at her skin tone.
If your skin tone is close or in the neighborhood okay, great.
Ask yourself about her skin tone, wherever you're talking about, where
it's, whether it's the shoulder and it's up against the background.
For example, you need to ask the question you really need to ask is
the background warmer or cooler in relationship to the thing I just put down?
So you're, you're not necessarily just going to make up some color.
You're trying to look up there and you're trying to discern if
the background is cooler or warmer than the flesh tone next to it.
Now my answer is probably that if you're going to put a really true green down
here, it's going to be cooler than - it's going to be cooler than the flesh tone.
Inherently, because it's so green.
We're in a constant state of workflow, we're in a constant state of mixing.
So what we're doing is we're mixing a color just because frankly, we put
something down and we're trying to find the next degree that we're putting down.
So in relationship to what we put down is what our mixing getting warmer
or cooler than what I just put down.
So if you're, if I determined for - if I'm about to determine the background,
for example, I need to decide, is it going to be warmer or cooler?
I also needed to analyze whether or not the light is hitting it or not.
Is the light hitting the background or is there a big shadow?
So I need to analyze what's the relationship between this and
that right next to each other.
And I need to try to dial that relationship in and match it.
So essentially the next step is that, you know, I've put something
down and try to match that.
And try to match the relationship though, the value relationship.
First, in other words, this is going to be darker I know.
And if I want to use that green, you know, it's definitely going to be greener.
This is registering as an orange.
And since it's greener, it's going to be cooler, but now
the green has light and shadow.
The light part of the green is, should be cooler than the warmer
or the darker part of the green.
So that's just keeping the consistency, the continuity, everything in the
scene, the lighter version of any fabric or any material is going to
be cooler than the shadow portion.
Simple is a good start, but also not the end all be all.
A lot of people get a principal.
If the skin tone is this, then the background needs to be that.
Well, that's not necessarily the way about it either.
The principle is anything getting hit by the primary light source
is going to be cooler than the shadows on that material.
We need to build that into the fabric of the painting.
So that's a principle.
Now, whether that's different from saying is the background warmer than the figure.
Well, which part?
The light part of the background, the light part of the figure.
Let's determine that relationship that has everything has a very
particular relationship based on what's right next to it.
Also, everything has a relationship based on whether or not it's getting hit
by that cool fluorescent light or not.
So we're dealing with- that's why it's so complicated because we're dealing with
a lot of concepts, we're dealing with just local idea, is this
thing cooler than that thing?
Well, that's void of whether or not light is hitting it or not, you know.
Well, let's pick an area and analyze that area.
Let's analyze if the light is hitting both, let's analyze, you know,
just the basic local relationship between those things and so forth.
So there's a series of analysis that needs to be done.
Unfortunately for us, that's what makes painting so damn complicated.
What we're getting there, we're getting there that's - and when you say, what
exercises can we do to get better at that?
Well we're doing them, we're painting from - we're painting from life, and
we're continually making those analysis.
We're continually making those observations and those
judgments and that's how we get better at it.
And the more we continue to make those judgments, the better we get
at kind of interpreting our data.
So, you know, absorbing the concepts really grappling
with the concepts attempting.
The concepts and maybe failing well, certainly failing, but then also having
small victories with the concepts
and then maybe those small victories are in very easy areas that are kind
of a little simpler to deal with.
Then kind of maybe failing again in more complex areas and then
asking ourselves what went wrong in the more complicated area.
And then, you know, finding a victory in a complicated area and
being able to do that over and over.
It solidifies the ideas.
And more importantly, it solidifies our process.
Our analysis, our judgment, our observations, the series of events that
we go through to make choices about the mixtures and so on and so forth.
It's just a constant, it's a constant thing.
The thing about learning how to paint is it does require a dialogue.
It requires a dialogue of really clear communication.
And now the beautiful thing though, is that sometimes that dialogue
can be like extremely visual.
Some people can, you know, of mimic and come up with the, you know, you
know, some people are just good at mixing paint and matching paint color.
You know, my dad is painted cars for his whole life.
And he can match any color you want, but he wouldn't know, interpret it and,
you know, and paint, you know, a figure, you know, for, to save his life, you
know, so he would certainly be able to reproduce a color if he was asked to do
it, you know, so we're dealing with, you know, different concepts in that way.
and it requires a conversation and a familiarity and a
- I'll tell you what.
A lot of people are learning really fast because the modern technology is
allowing us to, you know, do it online.
You know, some people are learning really fast that way.
And I think that some people are different.
It's not for everyone, but It's certainly better than nothing.
If you're in another country where there's no good ateliers or, you know, good
instruction, you mean you got, you got to have some guidance, you know, otherwise
you're reinventing the wheel on your own.
So it's not as ideal as hands-on dialogue.
But I think that I think the recorded aspect and the repetition
of it is actually really helpful.
Being able to revisit it and say, wait, what was that again?
Like Glen Orbik would do in the old days is, you know, put tracing paper,
do and work on your drawing and solve all the design ideas and discuss them
with you, take that tracing paper home, and you have that, you know, you always
have that and so, you I think that, you know, I think we're really lucky.
Well, I know that, I mean, I couldn't find anyone to teach painting when
I was looking I'm thankful for that though because it forced me to just
focus on drawing for five years before I started painting, I think was I wouldn't
change that for the world, but yeah.
But it was it, you know, I was really thankful to find somebody
who knew how to talk about color.
And sometimes like you'll come across a book or a video or something and
you'll try the exercise and then you didn't get much out of it, maybe.
But hopefully you can get a little bit out of it, even if it's just the
experience of pushing the paint, how the paint behaves, you know and then, you
know, you just continue, it's a journey.
You just continually get new information and try to corroborate that information
with other people's ideas until you find something that's really clear to you.
And then That's really helpful.
And then you kind of adopt that in order to get the job done and then,
you know, continue to learn more.
So, you know, it's a process.
I'm just, I'm going to introduce a little bit of wash here before
I lay my background color in, a little bit of an underpainting here.
Just to darken the value because the value of the background is
dark in relationship to the figure.
And if I were to leave some passages transparent or not completely block it
in, then the white would come through.
This is a really light value and I don't want that value to come through.
So if anything comes through, I want it to be a dark value.
I'm using all of these I'm using, this is like a bristle, these two, two
bristles, some soft ones, not mostly soft.
Two of the smaller ones are bristles for like actually loading more paint.
And then I have some softer ones for kind of more careful manipulation.
I could say I don't like a brush that puts on like a perfect
identifiable chisel square.
I mean, I'm not sure.
I mean, I'm sure there's a use for it, but I kind of want the brush work to
not, you know, do too much on its own.
if it looks too obvious, I'm not really, I don't want, I'm
pretty sure I don't want that.
You know, it just depends on what you're going for, what visual kind
of continuity you're going for.
And just experimentation and having the control that you require is important.
So you know, I'll be honest.
I don't know what brush to use like, right.
Like I never really know which the right brush to use.
I don't, until I'm in a really small area.
And then I'm like, okay, well I need to design that very, I need
to design that very delicately.
Then I know I need a brush that I can shape.
And that I know for certain, or if I'm in a really big area and I need
to load a lot of pain on - there's certain things I know what brush
to use, but other times I don't.
And I think that's part of the fun is seeing what it is up there and kind of
figuring out what's the best solution to resolve that, that situation.
You know, if there's no mystery to painting, then I think
that it'd be really boring.
So, you know, experimenting and figuring some things out is a good,
it's a good thing, not a bad thing.
You definitely want to get the background down and evaluate the relationship
between values, the value of the background versus the flesh tone.
So in I, another way to answer your question is definitely put it down.
If you're unsure.
I mean, you need to be aware of that relationship and establish it
otherwise, you know, if you're pretty good about calculating what the value is, and
it, on a scale of one, you know, zero, you know, white to black, then, you know, If
you're pretty sure about it, you can, you make a determination, as long as you're in
the neighborhood, you can kind of get away with, you can get away with a little bit.
just for a clear read at this point.
And the same time, keep trying to lose things and create the idea
that things are getting darker.
A little more mysterious on this side of the composition, trying to warm
it up as I go, as I get darker, I'm trying to keep it warm over here.
I don't, you know, I want this leg to be prominent.
But not so much to where I lose the idea that it's starting to really merge
with the background because it is.
There's ways to kind of, you know, lose it and find it again.
So I'm just kind of blocking that in, hopefully setting up for that.
I want this calf, this gastrocnemius to really be clear, that arc right here on
the front and the front of her lower leg
to be clear, but I've got to start somewhere.
So I'm just blocking that in.
I'm gonna lower the chair a little bit here too.
Just think it would be a better design and then like intersecting right here.
Right now I've got it like intersecting right there.
It's not a good idea.
And besides I can have that green against that flesh tone and the
black against that flesh tone.
This is a really fleshy area, you know, like kind of in like
the key spot compositionally.
And that just happens to be where all the action is that you
know, fundamentally she's seated.
So the action is gravity.
So we're trying to represent that action,
represent that dynamic quality.
Well it's, I mean, it is dynamic.
I mean, she's really seated.
There's this wonderful sense of balance and weight there.
Just like shorthanding, warming up the shadows of the black areas with the red.
It's a quick way to heat that up.
So if I'm dealing with the shadow and the dark areas, I'm just heating it up with
red, just to make a clear identifiable distinction between the temperature and a
fabric that otherwise it's more difficult you know, create some of that distinction.
So that there's a sense of variation, some sense of semblance
of variation within the darks.
Let's see a little bit of a wash in there too.
And I just play with the kind of abstract color in this shape.
As I get further away from the figure, I'm going to just be more playful
with the, the interpretation of the paint, just so that it's not - so
it just doesn't start drop off as like a dark shape with no interest.
Like, this is a nice way to kind of
create an abstract quality that's kind of fluid and playful.
And kind of interesting.
And then that dark fabric, as soon as you start painting what you see, I
mean, you know, you have to find some life in it because it's pretty static,
just, you know, a few simple values and it can start to kind of dull down the
composition a little bit in terms of a painting, you know, in terms of the
scene, actually, you know, being a living, breathing, kind of painting here.
We start trying to copy what we see
as opposed to interpret it and make a painting we get
a different thing going on.
Clean this mess up.
If you want a thinner consistency of paint like I'm doing right now, you can
notice on the screen that this is a wash.
Take advantage of what's on your brush too.
If you're working in a half tone area, if you're working in a shadow area and
you have that on the brush and you, and the urge is to go somewhere else and
make something or an adjacent passage right next to that half tone, use that
half tone material somewhere else where you're going to need it eventually
it's just being economical.
Trying to work pretty fast.
I think in a situation like this, where I'm racing the clock, I think that's okay.
But it's like, I don't always paint this fast,
but there's something nice about the workflow painting pretty fast.
So just because you have all the time in the world in the studio doesn't mean
this necessarily, I would slow it down at like snail's pace necessarily, I
might in certain areas of the painting, but I dunno, I guess it's just the
more important idea's knowing when to get things moving and when to slow it
down, sometimes that can be really hard.
Have to be willing to let a painting be a painting.
You know, it's not, we're not copying what we're seeing.
Now in real life I would argue that if you're looking at this object,
you're going to be able to look at it and it's going to move and change.
And you're going to, you're going to be able to look at it in different ways
and see things, see more things in it.
You see what I mean?
Like they say painting from life is, you know, you see a lot
more in the object or whatever.
So, you know, you consider that, look at the couch in real life.
See what kind of things start to happen.
See if you can interpret some things and be playful with whatever's happening
in a way that allows you to be creative and engineer the paint a certain way.
You know I'll tell you a lot of the greatest paintings that I'm seeing these
days have an element of abstraction to them that coincides with the realism and
the representation of what we're seeing.
It's not a, it's not a copy.
It's an interpretation of reality.
So when you have a, when you have a wonderful
sense of realism in your painting, but a playful or a exploratory
engineering of that realism, that can be very interesting.
And so sometimes you have to take risks, you know.
I'll tell you what, I'm gonna get where I need to be at when it comes time to paint.
And that's like the most important thing composition and being in the - being
in your - being in a place that you understand where you want it, what you're
trying to accomplish visually is huge.
And, I wouldn't, I try not to compromise that.
And usually people are nice enough, you know, you just always, I always
refer to the old days when, you know, they pack them in and, you know, and
they still got the job done, you know.
you know, painting.
I mean, if you look at museum paintings like a Bouguereau, a finished Bouguereau
painting, that is essentially you know, this process but exponentially.
Expounded upon with a lot more time.
You know, we're, you know, we're here for a few hours, so we
have to organize, we have to be
It's pretty clear as you, you know, paint more and understand more, that Bouguereau
was not copying what he was seeing either.
He was designing it.
This is just where it all begins.
To be honest.
I mean, this is - this is just the start.
Now we can go in there and I mean, there's some subtle things going on
there, but I mean, man, now, it's just like, we have to get in there
and paint that psychology, you know, articulate the nose, corner of the hair.
We haven't even, you know but you know, that's what it's about.
It's about the potential of understanding, getting, understanding
how to achieve a good start every time or with consistency, at least.
Maybe not every time.
Consistency is there, you know, in terms of a process that I can rely
on and that's, what's important.
From there we're unstoppable, when it comes down to making our work and
getting the desired results that we want.
Not settling for something, because we're not sure.
Well, there's some degree of that too, at some point.
I mean, I can't say I'm exactly entirely clear about how to
finish a painting every time.
But at least I have the tools to make some informed decisions.
That's what's important.
There was a couple of things I remember that I want to just kind
of suggest before I abandon this,
Just one dark and one and splash of a highlight in there.
I know, I know that eye is really small for this, but, and
I agree, but it's worth a shot.
If I can get one acre in there, that's just an absolute pinpoint of precision,
someone will notice it.
it's too big.
Kind of scoop it up.
That's not bad.
That's a good, see, that's not copied.
That's something that I saw that is a representation of what I
saw, but I think it works okay.
It's not perfect.
I hope it was helpful to see the process kind of in a little bit more real time.
It's a little less procedural and a little bit more intuitive.
So still trying to rely on the concepts and the ideas and keep
things organized and hopefully add a little bit more artistry to it.
I just want to say thank everybody for joining us.
It was - it's always really fun.
I really enjoy doing this kind of stuff.
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1. Lesson Overview44sNow playing...
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2. Drawing Lay-in and Introducing Shadow Mass21m 29s
3. Establishing Light Mass and Adding Temperature Shifts1h 5m 4s
4. Adding Background and Resolving the Painting29m 38s
5. Course Outro37s