Sunday, 13 November 2016

Week 7 Life Drawing Session 6: Working in Layers

Lucian Freud
 Working in Layers (Developing Tone)

You sometimes see people who work gradually down a picture, completely finishing
each part before they move onto the next.This seems to lose the big picture or Gestalt working like this, and the overall strength of the work suffers. There's nothing wrong with detail, but it must work within the entire picture, or it's just fiddling for fiddling's sake.

Drawings 1-3

Time: 30 minutes
Colour: 2 colours (contrasting) plus white
Media: No restrictions

The 30 minutes is to be broken down into 3 x 10 minute drawings. It is important to start thinking about working through layers - building on the tonal experiments that we did last week.
  • For the first 10 minutes draw only the darker tones in your image.
  • For the second 10 minutes concentrate on the lighter tones using your second colour.
  • For the third 10 minutes use white to add highlights and concentrate on finishing details.
Drawings 4-6

Time: 30 minutes
Colour: Full Colour
Media: No restrictions

The 30 minutes is again be broken down into 3 x 10 minute drawings but this time you do not have to work with only two colours. Think about how you can combine different colours, textures and media in layers.

Things To Remember…

It is not the colour that makes it look like an apple. It is the contour and the form, and tones or values are what make up the form. You could colour it blue or yellow, and it would still look like an apple if the tones are right. From this come the old sayings: “the value can go wrong even if the colour is right” and “use whatever colour as long as the value is right”.

Top Tip…

If your painting is still looking flat, the chances are that the tonal values are incorrect. Try squinting your eyes or let them go out of focus if you can. Using these methods it should become more obvious where you need to lighten or darken your picture. Continue to do this as your painting progresses, giving yourself plenty of opportunity to make adjustments. Do not forget to keep looking back and comparing what you see in your drawing with what is in front of youOver time, you will learn to see the tonal values clearly without having to squint your eyes so much.

Jenny Saville

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