Part 3: Life painting

I went along to a life drawing session prepared to paint, having taken some ready mixed colours. There was one pose for 2 hours (broken down into 4 blocks). I took oil paints and a prepared piece of primed paper. I started by doing a painted sketch in my book to try out the tones I had prepared.


From this I decided that I really liked the shapes that the curve of the spine make and the space under the chin, so set out to create a negative image by painting in the negative spaces around the body.

My prepared ground had a wash of black over it, (left over from part 1 creating washes). I blocked in using a very pale payne’s grey and white mix, to leave a negative image on the page.

Blocking in negative shapes

This was a lot harder than I expected and took a long time until I felt I had the proportions right. Although it was a simple pose, it was very difficult due to the long thin nature of the composition. Unfortunately I lost of lot of time getting the proportions right in my ‘negative’ spaces.

Be the time I started blocking in some colour we were into our 4th quarter and I didn’t get to finish. I also didn’t take a photo to finish later – a learning curve!!

Life drawing – oil paint on primed paper


I much prefer the stage when the negative or man-shaped hole was on the paper. The final version, whilst not complete has already lost some of the intrigue that the earlier stage had and I wish I had stopped there!

Life painting was much harder than I an anticipated. Just the art of manipulating your equipment in a small cramped space was a challenge. I need to do much more of this too as I did feel intimidated by painting rather than drawing in front of others. This would go with more practice.

Part 3: Life painting

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