Tonal figure study (2)


Brie with draped blanket, acrylic on paper, 42 x 60cm

I painted Brie again in a beautiful pose with a blanket draped elegantly over her shoulders. I am trying to find a way to work quickly with acrylics, as I can with watercolour (see sketchbook figures), in order to capture  loose lines and natural  poses.

I drew quickly with brush and grey paint on a mid skin colour ground. Then I worked with brush, palette knife and credit card. I took more care with mixing the colours. I’ve learnt that it is very easy to end up with lifeless skin colours that like look cheap foundation or fake tan. I’ve also realised that it is easy to get overwhelmed by the variety of skin tones. For this reason I worked with just three, the mid tone, a light but not white tone and a darker umber based brown with a touch of red. I also used black and a blue grey.

  • This painting is definitely a step closer to what I would like to achieve. Although I drew with the paint, I  was able to lose the harsh lines that were in my earlier attempt at this exercise.
  • What works / doesn’t work so well?
  • In terms of representing form, it’s OK.
  • The proportions are reasonable – the model is very slim and tall and the ratio of head to body is 1:8 (rather than the more usual 7).
  • The blanket with the folds is a lovely, sensual feature and really lifts the painting.
  • I painted off centre. I thought about adding a plant or something to the right of the model but I there’s enough interest in this painting without.
  • The face is a little rigid… perhaps I’ve tried to include too  much detail. I’m starting to understand that a lot of detail (e.g. in hands) is often unnecessary – and in fact can detract from the overall impression a painting makes.
  • I’m getting better results now that I have taken the plunge and started to draw with the paint… and there’s a touch of drama about this painting that I like.

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