Finishing My Oil Painting, Leaves of Grass

2 Aug 2011

Leaves of Grass by Patricia Watwood, detail of torso, oil painting. Notice the chalk marks on the figure that the artist used to check and measure the proportions of the figure's limbs. Leaves of Grass by Patricia Watwood, detail of hips and thighs, oil painting. Notice the chalk marks on the figure that the artist used to check and measure the proportions of the figure's limbs.

Notice the chalk lines drawn over the figure to assess and check the proportion and length of her limbs.

I have finally finished my oil painting, Leaves of Grass, which I have blogged about previously. In all, the painting probably took nearly 2 months of time. In an earlier post, I shared the drawing and small study I made in preparation. I transferred the drawing, worked up the underpainting by copying my study, added narrative details from several different sources, and then went back to working from life with my model, Leah.

But before I finished I had a few steps left: After the first wash of color is on the canvas, I continued in "underpainting" mode with the model, truing up the drawing and reassessing the form and structures. I sometimes use a bit of chalk or pastel and draw construction lines or correction marks on top of the dry paint. This is a great tip on how to "edit" your drawing. Using simple lines in red or white pastel, I note the skeletal landmarks (and their symmetrical partners on the other side of the body), the lengths of the parts of the body, and the axis of the gesture and major forms.  

The finished version of Leaves of Grass by Patricia Watwood, oil painting.
The finished version of Leaves of Grass.

By notating the simple construction lines, you can reveal errors in proportion and parallelism and make corrections. The chalk lines can either be completely wiped off using water or solvent, or you can just incorporate the powder into the oil paint when you work back into it. The correction lines will sit on top of the canvas, like a transparent layer, which is useful in helping you analyze and consider changes without getting bogged down.

--Patricia

For more painting instruction from Patricia, check out her latest DVD, Figure Painting: Realistic Skin Tone.

 


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Comments

on 6 Aug 2011 7:27 AM

... and beautiful work on the trees and grasses!