Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fall Sepia Oil Sketch Sale and How To Paint Your Own

Fall Sepia Oil Sketch Sale
$275 Framed - Free Shipping in the US, $20 international shipping. Sales tax applies in AL, USA - email me at for arrangements.
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Art Lesson Du Jour : (or how'd she do that?)
The method I've used in these little life-studies has more in common with sculpture or watercolor than with more traditional methods of oil painting. 
Here's why: I first block in the general shape of the figure in a fairly solid area of paint. I imagine it as a big chunk of marble. I'm looking for a pleasing composition and the correct general proportions of the figure. 
Kelsey on Tuesday, 14x11, oil on linen over panel
I then use a piece of soft T-shirt fabric to rub out the light areas, leaving the dark. It's this reductive method that is much like a sculpture carved from a block of stone, where bits of clay are chipped off, rather than an additive method where pieces of paint, or clay in sculpture, are added to the artwork to build up the form.

Anders on Tuesday, 14x11, oil on panel
The white of the canvas is utilized for the lighter values, rather than adding white to make the paint lighter. In that respect, this method is similar to watercolor where the white of the paper is reserved for lighter areas. Mid-tones are built by allowing more or less of the white of the canvas to shine through the paint. For that reason, I would only use a transparent or semi-transparent paint to do a rub-out. 

Claire Sits 14x11, oil on panel
Toward the end of the painting, I will add a few strokes of thinker paint for darker accents but only use the one color, burnt umber. At this point, I could add full color but I think these sepia studies are beautiful and sometimes choose to leave them as they are.

I've been practicing these little sketches for years at a weekly life drawing group. They're so much fun, and I find they are great exercises for understanding the human form and values. I then apply that knowledge in my studio work, which also starts out with a burnt umber rub-out underpainting. So artist friends give this watercolor/sculpture painting method a try! 
The studies are framed in a wood frame painted in an espresso color.
If you're an artist in Birmingham, AL, consider joining us on Tuesday nights at Forstall Art Center, 6-9 pm for X's 8, ( pronounced Times 8) nude life drawing group. $10 per session or $35 for the month. 


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