Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Female Torso Study

Female Torso Study, Nude by David R. Darrow 5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Louise Zeigler
Arlington, WA – USA

About This Painting

I have to admit, I like painting from a model more than plein air landscapes, or seascapes.

For me, painting the figure comes more naturally, or maybe I am just more practiced with human anatomy. From the time I was in high school, I had a drive to capture likenesses and draw humans well. And I still consider it a massive challenge.

Nearly always, painting from a nude model has involved painting with other artists — maintaining focus before your peers adds to the challenge. There were 10 or 12 other painters painting this same model, from different angles of, course.

The model assumed this "pose" quite readily. I kind of mock the pose, because really she just sat down on the futon/couch with a bookshelf on her right casting a shadow on her. And that was her "pose." We did convince her to move more into the light.

My first reaction was that such a simple pose was going to make for a lousy painting, but as I got into it with the various warm shadows and slight differences in modeling with color, I began to feel a freedom with my brushes that was unexpected.

Choosing a 5 x 7 format in keeping with my usual Everyday Paintings size, I thought painting a figure in such a small area would be constricting. But I wanted the challenge. I started putting in my more finishing touches in the face, first (the face, from chin to hairline is only 1.75" (4.4cm) tall).

Since it was coming out nicely, and a good likeness, I continued and was delighted to find at the end of the two and a half hours that I had a very nice little figure study for my effort.

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Windy Lampson said...

I really enjoyed checking out your work! Are all of these 1-day paintings? I have trouble getting such a modeled look on my first layer of paint. I always have to go back into a second layer to do my modeling. What medium are you using with your oil paint? ... I've gotten used to liquin.

David R. Darrow said...

Windy, Thanks for writing.

Yes, most of these paintings are done in 2 to 5 hours, some take 6.

I have recently started coating my ground with a very thin layer of Liquin [Winsor Newton] to make sure it gets into all of the block-in. Previously I would to try to get Liquin into each mixture of my block-in colors. I paint the block-in so thin that the painting looks horrible and scratchy... but in an hour or so, it's sticky and receives new paint wonderfully.

I only add Liquin to the darks (if at all) in future strokes, and use a delicate touch with a loaded brush for the thick painterly effect. I don't use any medium/thinner/liquin in any final paint. Only the block in.

Windy Lampson said...

Very helpful- Thanks for taking the time to respond!