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Human figure in context

We have looked at negative and positive space, foreground and background but only touched on the importance of the background to tell the story of the figures we paint. After all, most of the painting surface, while painting human figures, is the background and so its colour and composition will dictate our emotive response to the figure. Here, in Picassoso's almost monochromatic painting you can see how the expression and background colour reinforce each other.

There is more colour and movement in this Munch self portrait that provides the data for our interpretation of the man.

In the 19th century people were painted by the impressionists in parks and gardens where the green grass often became a primary element that other colours had to work off, as in this Berthe Morissot painting.

On Friday we will practice placing our figure or figures in a wider context so that on the 30th of June we will be able to paint our model "en plein air" (fully clothed and weather permitting) in front of the School of Art and Design.

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