My drawing and painting life
On Tuesday (a week ago) I was at my oil painting class. We are studying oil painting the way the old masters used to do it and trying out the technique on different subjects. We are taking more contemporary artists and their style as examples during this series. For four lessons we’ve been working on how to paint human skin – and the last two lessons we were taking Lucian Freud as our example.
For this painting I am using a photo reference of a writer. I’ve used the same photo before to make drawings.
Preparation and the lesson itself: I made an underdrawing in charcoal first. I added a layer of egg tempera paint. On day 78 (November 17) I added oil paint. I used a color palette that Freud is known for, mostly earth tones and tertiary colors. It’s far from ready.But still I like to share my work in progress.
I was having a hard time doing what Freud does. Sometimes he gives people colors that give them a sickly look. Sometimes he uses colors that make them seem like they have taken a beating. To be honest I hesitated if I wanted that kind of painting. I pondered whether to make a normal painting first, making him look normal and healthy. My point being: I haven’t done portraits, I don’t even know how to do that in oil paint. I decided to try using some of what I’d seen Freud do in his paintings, but not going all the way. To do a semi-Freud as it were. After all we’re in the class to push our boundaries… Hence the slightly blushed look and reds on the eyes. I’ve also added more green and greys on the face. Even the highlight is a grey.
Most of the time the people in Freuds paintings look quite distant, they don’t look straight at you. I didn’t follow him on that part.
More information on Freud:
Website of Knockart studio, run by artist and teacher Mieke Siemons, in Vianen, The Netherlands.
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