Drawing Transfer and Value Blocking

I remembered to take some WIP shots! Not as many as I wanted to, but hopefully enough to get the idea across. Oil painting is a super difficult medium to learn, but for every 50 bad strokes, I’d get a good stroke that’s making me fall in love with painting with oils. It’s so buttery and nice, there’s just a feel as things slide into place that is really cool.

Started the evening transferring the drawing. I covered the back of my drawing with a soft charcoal, then taped it into position on my canvas. I used a knitting needle to trace the outlines of the drawing, I guess burnishing? The charcoal sticks to the canvas as so:


Then I go over those lines with thinned burnt umber to establish the drawing on the canvas, as the charcoal would wipe off. I forgot to clean up the excess charcoal you can see between the lines and my initial white was grey…took me a minute to figure out why!


Then I got into a groove and forgot to take pics. Sorry! First I laid in the shadow blocks with thinned burnt umber. Then I blocked in the lighter areas of the skin with white, though I messed up and thinned it too much (I messed up a LOT but I learned even more, so it’s all good!).


The last step I was able to get into tonight was the final step of the value blocking, where I soften the lines where the values meet up. At the same time, I’m starting to refer back to the model rather than my drawing. I hold three brushes, one clean and dry to soften with; and one each for the brown and white. This is where oils shine, the amount of open time to push and pull and slide things around. You can see where I got caught at the end of the session moving paint around the model’s left eye. I significantly reshaped the eyes and lower lip, as well as the hairline and shadows on the forehead to match the current session.


I was getting a little discouraged as I struggled with the unfamiliar medium in the 3rd pic, but as I got the slightest bit more comfortable and started fixing and tweaking and some areas started to come together, I ended on a definite upbeat note, excited for the next session.

It’s a really nice bunch of students and the instructor is completely amazing. She can give me two or three short pointers that get me through the trouble spots. Some of the other students didn’t believe I’ve never painted in oils, or on canvas, or drawn portraits…until clean up time. I had no idea how to wash the brushes or really anything on how to clean up.


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