Part 3. Figure in Tone

I was staying with a friend and used her to model this exercise. I had a couple of chances to sketch her briefly before asking her to pose for a longer study.

My tutor had contacted me with some information regarding using a limited palette in the style of Odin. He used just 3 colours, red, yellow and black plus white to create some amazing portrait work. I decided to do this exercise using this method. I used ivory black, cadmium yellow hue and cadmium red hue in oil colours. First I created a colour palette to explore the options available through colour mixing. In this reduced palette, blue is provided by black with white. I

I then did a quick 15 minute study of my friends face using this palette


I don’t feel I have got the tonal variations right here, the lights are too cool. I also was fiddling with the paint and not being strong enough with my brushwork.

I posed Kate in a chair and continuing with oils using the reduced palette started blocking in areas of colour. The image below is how the painting looked after about 1 hour, after which both model and myself needed a break. I also needed to allow the paint to dry before adding further glazes to this. I took some references photos as I would not have the opportunity to continue this from life.


I am pleased with the general composition however I am struggling with the skin tones. I think that my lighting was not strong enough to produce a large tonal range (we were relying on an overhead light only). As such the face is a little flat. More construction with paint is needed.

This can be rectified by further glazing but at the time of writing this I have already sent this to my tutor and the paint was only just dry, so the next layer hasn’t happened.

I am trying very hard to construct with paint using brush-strokes to suggest form. I don’t feel I have really managed this yet but some of the drapery strokes show promise.


Part 3. Figure in Tone

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