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Modelling form

Often painters use terms like sculpting or modelling forms as if they were working on solid blocks of stone. The light falling on a statue shows us clearly its 3 dimensional shape whereas painters have to recreate that sense of depth.

Last week we looked at how shapes can appear to emerge from the background (chiaroscuro) using light and dark values on a mid tone ground.

On Thursday we will turn to the sculptural aspect of the human head and see how we can tease out the shapes from the background by "blocking" areas and by paying attention to the edges of our interlocking shapes.

I was interested to see the similarities between a painting by Michael Borremans and this terracotta head.

It's much easier to recognise those value gradations in great painting or in well lit photos , but the idea is to recognise how to bring out the illusion of volume from objects we paint, whether they are dogs, humans, clouds or trees.

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