Before starting this module on the human figure I went back to the studies I had done in the Drawing 1 course to pick up on what I had learnt.

I did many studies of the figure at work in the garden and so I decided to work with some of these to explore using paint. I don’t have access to a sitter who will stay still for me to paint and so will just use what I have.

In this first study I found the initial drawing of the figure with paint an excellent means of getting a fluid line to begin with.

I then began to work with grey and white to build up the figure in tone.  I find a natural feeling for quick strokes of paint rather than blending tones.

I then did have access to a figure to draw from.

The figure was in a relaxed pose which is typical of the way she sits and I wanted to try to capture this as a portrait of her – not in the facial features but in a resemblance  of her through natural poses. The pencil drawing I think captures her ‘look’ – loved doing it as it was challenging to get the foreshortening of the legs right.  I kept continually measuring them as they always seemed too short.




The quick outline study in paint on a dark background was effective and I was tempted to try to stay with this loose, outlined shape – in a way I wish I had – it has something which the final study has lost! The next study was also loose and immediate – really liked the treatment of the trousers – should have stopped there.

The final exercise developed from the last.  I spent a lot of time exploring what I could do with blending tones in the top half of the body trying to blend in the tones to depict the shape and structure  – the face, the same! I leant a lot in doing this but felt that I lost the energy of the previous study. I left the legs and trousers because I really liked that treatment but I suspect that it looks a bit odd as a composition.






About pbfarrar

I am an Australian living permanently in England. I have recently retired from the position of Principal of an independent school and have taken up the study of Fine Art with the OCA.
This entry was posted in Log notes - OCA - Painting 1. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. bernie moore says:

    Hi Patricia, Came across your work while perusing examples of portrait and figure studies and it was your sketchbook work that really attracted my attention.
    Your drawings are powerful and show solidity of form without overworking. I like your drawing structures but somehow they lose strength when in paint.
    Do you consider yourself to be a linear or colour painter? Artists are one or the other and most students are not aware of the differences and fly between the two and don’t understand why their paintings don’t work. Linear painters as defined, use lines, edges, boundaries, and value, while colour painters, sometimes known as ‘painterly’ painters use painted shapes, using the hue to determine depth, almost like a mosaic of brush stokes, like John Singer Sargent. Linear painters are often wrongly described as artists who draw the outline of the image and then paint in the shapes. How wrong. Linear painters do draw, with point media and brush, and also draw volumes with weighted line to show depth and space using value, ‘tone’ to some, to create perspective. The question is have you identified which one you are? Much is written about this subject but rarely given much attention in art courses. I didn’t realise the importance until I had finished my degree but once I had discovered which camp I belonged the thought process was easy. The contemporary painter, museum director, and author Thomas S Buechner says ” an artist is either good at colour or good at value but rarely good at both. I focus upon the tonal range, the dark-light effects, rather than the full colour range of bright colours. Good tonal relationships are far more important than colour relationships.” International Artist, April 2001. I hope you don’t mind me offering my comment. I wish someone had told me about this when I was studying. It would have saved me a lot of bother. I’m a linear painter using all manner of making marks to construct form and use a very limited palette showing edited lines within brush work, edges, measured anchors, etc. Hope this helps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s