Oil Painting: Step by Step: "Reflections in Gold"

0709leveedemo6_800x585In the fall 2007 issue of Workshop, Gayle Levée discussed how the underlying structure of a painting gives the finished work its strength. Here we present a demonstration for her painting Reflections in Gold.

To read the feature article on Levée, check out the fall 2007 issue of Workshop magazine.

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Step 1
Levée began by loosely painting in rough shapes to indicate where the main forms would be placed in relation to one another. She was thinking very abstractly at this stage, working to establish correct placement.
Step 2
Next the artist did her structured drawing, using the sight-size method to measure the length and width of shapes and adding ellipses to the rounded parts of the vase.
Step 3
Once she had executed her structured drawing, Levée was ready to move to color and began painting the background, being mindful where the background color reflected into the metallic objects. She painted the background color and the reflections at the same time, obliterating some of her edges.
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Step 4
At this stage, the instructor blocked in the reflection areas in the vase as well as in the branches of leaves on the upper left of the painting.
Step 5
Levée next added another coat of paint to the background to create a sense of atmosphere in the work. She also added more paint to the body of the metal objects, continuing to paint through the edges. After doing this, the artist went back and softened or sharpened those edges that she wanted to either recede or come forward.

The Completed Painting
Reflections in Gold
2007, oil, 16 x 20. Collection Karl T. Dennis.

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6 thoughts on “Oil Painting: Step by Step: "Reflections in Gold"

  1. I’m impressed with her process. It gives me more hope – seeing that she started with such rough shapes and then, the finished painting showing so much refining. Thanks!

  2. It seems as the painter changed her point of view in the course of painting. The perspective is off.
    It’s not just the neck of the vase, though it does look odd.
    I mean – the top rim of the vase is painted as if the viewer stands right in front of it looking at the center of the item, yet the table is obviously viewed from above.
    In addition the cup is painted from even higher POW than table. It looks as if about to tip over.
    Otherwise, nice SL.

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