Exercise: A figure in an interior

figure-interior-final-low res

Cameron sleeping in Patsy’s chair, 39 x 49cm, acrylic and drawing pen


Initial A4 sketchbook watercolour

I painted my friend Cameron relaxing at our mutual friend Patsy’s house, which is so cosy and comfortable it induces sleep. Actually Cameron wasn’t asleep but is able to pose in a  natural way which makes him a good model. I painted him later from photographs.





Lookiing at how to simplify the image by playing with threshold setting in Photoshop. Would make a good subject for an ink drawing


In the last few exercises I’ve completed (telling a story, character etc) I’ve had a very strong vision of what I wanted to achieve but I wasn’t sure with this exercise. I had a vague notion of wanting to bring drawing lines in and make Cameron appear painted with plenty of tonal detail against a simplified background with the appearance of having been drawn.


What works?

  • The proportions just about OK. This was a very difficult pose to draw and I nearly abandoned it several times.
  • The limited  colour palette is successful.
  • The mix of painting and drawing seems to fit cohesively together.
  • It’s not a bad likeness of Cameron but not spot on.

What doesn’t work so well?

  • The model looks stiff, particularly around the neck and head. I wondered if the head was a bit large but I checked and rechecked this. In the final painting I haven’t carried through the looseness of my initial sketch and it may be the angle of the neck that isn’t quite right
  • The composition could be improved with a little more space at the top.
  • I’ve not blended the skin tones well and they look a bit ‘blocky’.
  • By accident I used a water soluble drawing pen which means my drawing lines got blurred. The drawing lines and the white would have been cleaner if I’d used a non-soluble pen but this became an interesting experiment.
  • Interiors of rooms can help to tell a story but I don’t think there is much here for the viewer to dwell on. For some reason this ‘figure in an interior’ exercise didn’t excite me and the lack of a real emotional response to the brief shows in my painting. Although I’m under time pressure now, I did put quite a bit of time into this but it sometimes happens that more time invested doesn’t lead to a better outcome. I feel as though I’ve painted the life out of this picture. Sorry Cameron!



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