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Figure painting

When we paint Barry on Friday we'll take forward the idea of painting positive and negative shapes rather than hands and legs. Simplifying the human body is very difficult, as our mind feels compelled to register all the details and variety of tones, but nevertheless it is something we must try to do. Can you see how this composition by William Etty has been reduced to 3 separate values so that the "blocking" effect supports the sculptural aspect of the painting?

In this sketch we can see how the figure merges with the back ground in some areas and contrasts with it in others so that it is anchored in space but also retains the illusion of volume.

We will be painting 2 separate poses and so won't have time to achieve this level of detail or anatomical correctness. If we concentrate on observing how light and shadow combine we can insinuate the forms rather than delineate them.

If we limit our palette to simple browns and greys it ill help us to concentrate on the colour "value" rather than skin tone accuracy. Also, we can just let the brush dictate the texture of the paint like in this Walter Sickert painting.

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