Every day I will be proud of my creative choices

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Figure sketching in Oil

For the last few months I've been painting a lot of 30 to 45 minute figure poses. I started drawing figures in school, we had 4 day poses and quick sketch. After school I practiced quick sketch at the Palette and Chisel for years until I moved to North Carolina. There wasn't an art club near where I lived, I did eventually find someone who hosted models sessions at their studio once a week during the summers. It was hot and fumes from a roofing company in the same building forced me to start having a few artists over my home studio to draw once a week. At first it was just a hand full of people who would come over, as time went by more and more people were added to the list. I was lucky to find a studio space in the arts district in Winston Salem, 30 minutes away. It was a great space to keep for model sessions, portrait and figure. Everyone chips in for the models any left over goes towards future sessions.

After doing quick sketch for so many years I wanted to experiment with materials, at first I started to paint 30 minute poses on sealed museum boards. Then I changed to trying different Vellum's and lengthening the time to 45 minutes. I started to film months ago, below is an ad for the new video Scott and I produced on my figure sketches in oil. The ad and an article on my drawing techniques are in the Summer edition of American Artist's Drawing Magazine.

click the link to see the promo for the video

I've included in this post a bunch of the sketches that are in the video. Some of them were filmed and you see brush strokes and the palette, some are a part of a slide show while I talk about them. There are 13 demos on the 2 hour video. I will be teaching this technique at the Weekend with the Masters conference this Sept in Monterey, hosted by American Artist Magazine.

The painting below was a  45 minute demo for a workshop held at my studio in Winston Salem, June 2011

I tape the vellum to white boards, after they dry I will mount and mat them with blue or green mat boards. Since the vellum is somewhat transparent the white or blue color that it is mounted to influences how you see the painting.

All of these paintings are around 14 by 11 inches

The painting below was one of the first ones I did on Vellum, it was a 30 minute pose

As I talk about on the video, I don't art direct the model when she poses. I ask them once in a while to move a hand to a different spot, but I like the challenge of paintng what is given me. Some poses are easier to paint, of course when a model has arms and legs crossed it makes it a little harder to draw. As with foreshortening like the pose below, they can make interesting designs, so I just look for shapes and paint what I see and not what I think it should look like.

I still draw the figure about once a week, drawing is the most basic fundamental learning tool to help you learn how to paint.


  1. Great sketches w/ great values. Look forward to the video.

  2. I attended a drawing presentation of yours at the 1st American Artist's Weekend with the Masters and loved all of your drawings. I purchased your drawing video and just ordered and watched your newest video today and loved it!!

    I'm very excited to give this a try. Can you tell me if painting on slippery vellum is permanent. Would I need to varnish them?

    Thank you!

  3. These sketches are so beautiful. Very sensitive and such a good sense of color. I am looking forward to see your video.
    Cheers from Vienna....Nue

  4. Hi, I just bought the quick studies and figure painting in oil....absolutely love them. I could watch you paint all day! Everything about the videos are great, the editing, your voice and instructions, your beautiful brush strokes. I'm very inspired. I need lots of practice and these have given me that boost. Thanks.

  5. I love these paintings. They're very loose and spontaneous. Very dramatic and beautiful paintings.