Life Painting

Hello everyone!

I know, I know, you must be shocked that I'm posting again so soon...however this coming week is my spring break, so I finally have a little extra time! I'm going to try and post a whole lot this week so I can get caught up on blogging about all the work I did last semester, so then I can start writing about the projects that I have going on right now!

The subject of this post is the life painting class which I took last semester with Renee Foulks, a phenomenal artist, wonderful teacher, and very sweet lady. She is definitely up there as one of my absolute favorite teachers at PAFA; she works in a very classical, highly representational manner, and she is probably the teacher that I've been most influenced by so far in terms of both style and subject matter. Anyway her class last semester was really wonderful. We had two poses throughout the whole semester, each one lasting about 6 or 7 weeks long. For our first pose, we were required to do a grisaille painting, which is a value study in grays. Renee gave us the option of just doing a very quick value study and then moving on to color, but I decided to spend the entire 7 weeks of the first pose on one large grisaille painting. This was an absolutely wonderful experience; I really enjoy doing value studies and I think I learned a lot from this one. This was definitely the first time on a figure painting that I felt like I actually had a relatively adequate amount of time to really observe and analyze the figure in depth. Since I knew this was going to be a fairly extended painting, I began by doing a very small simple little "value study" in preperation for the larger grisaille.

This is the finished grisaille painting...I think I calculated that I probably spent nearly 40 hours on this painting in total...and I seriously think I could have spent a good deal longer! But I did feel like I was able to resolve it pretty well in that amount of time. Again, I just can't emphasize enough how helpful it is to me to simply isolate value apart from all the issues of color, and to just analyze a situation from a purely tonal aspect. In light of that, I tried to be as accurate as possible with my values; I did use a value chart which I had made and I mixed up all my paints on the palette in a value scale from 1 to 10. I also began to experiment in this painting with trying to render the figure as representationally as possible; for instance, I remember spending 3 hours just on the model's foot...trying to describe each individual toe and even the veins and tendons which were pretty clearly visible. Rendering is something which I'm still exploring stylistically and I hope to continue to push it as far as my ability allows.

This second one is the painting that I worked on during the latter half of the the end I was not nearly as pleased with this one. I think it was a good experience and I learned alot from it, but it certainly was a very frustrating one. I think there were alot of issues here; I had some issues with the support I was working on, as well as the angle from which I was working--I was packed in pretty close with a bunch of other people, and I had trouble really getting back in to the same spot every time. I also think I really fell in to the trap of just over blending and "noodling" away at the painting too much without making definite and conscious decisions. That being said, the painting turned out alright, and again, I learned alot from doing it.

Well, that's all for now! Stay tuned for more posts about the rest of last semester's work!



March 2, 2009 at 1:46 PM

It's my favorite very cold gray man painting! Although I think his fleshiness is a lot more apparent in real life. I also really, really like the sleeping nude - I hadn't seen her before. Please post your nymph painting asap! I want to see how she is progressing.




March 2, 2009 at 7:16 PM

Sarie!!! You commented! Yay!!! I will post about the nymph painting very soon...I'm going to take photographs of all that this week so I can start posting about it in progress...oh, by the way, I don't know if mom or dad told you, but we bought a little camera from circuit city that was like 40% off, so you can have your little camera back...I was very sad not to see you in church this past Sunday--I hope you and Nathan are well and that I will see you sometime soon!


  Mike Manley

March 2, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Nice paintings, though i can see your frustration with the last one. It's hard to always get back in your spot from week to week, especially if the room is crowded.

I hope to take a class with Renee in the fall.