Saturday, June 27, 2009

Male Figure - First Layer Complete

This week I continued to work on the male figure in the studio. (Also, the show in Wichita at City Arts opened last night... anyone in Wichita?) I've included a picture of my palette, though I am not sure how informative it is. I created several piles of paint based on what I saw in my reference. There are several basic hues with one or two major piles of different values for each, and then I just lightened a couple of those piles when mixing with the brush. It wasn't the most organized way to approach this, but it worked for me.
The idea I'm trying-out with this layer is to focus on the major shapes and overall gradation from light to dark across the figure. Then I will put in more detail later.
I simply started working in one area, and then moved to an adjacent area when I'd completed a section. Still, it was important to get back from the painting often to judge the overall value/color relationships.
I keep a mirror at the opposite end of the studio so that I can get a fresh view of the painting easily. This helps point out major errors.
Here we are at the end of the first layer of paint. This is usually my favorite stage of a painting because all the horrible white of the canvas has been covered and I can see the possibilities moving forward. I haven't had time to ruin it yet!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Male Figure - Beginning Demo

Even though I said I wouldn't, I worked more on this painting today. While I was working I thought to take pictures to share the process with you. I started by making corrections to the drawing I previously posted and then adding some detail to the contour. Then, I used a cheap, large bristle brush to brush off loose charcoal from the canvas. (This, by the way, is an oil-primed polyester canvas.)

Brushing off the loose charcoal helps make way for the paint, or else the first half of all your strokes only serve to clear a path in the charcoal for future strokes of paint. As I go along with a small brush (this is always the brush I go to for outlining and small detail) I further refine the edge, showing the character of the contour.

Here it is with the outline complete and a few very small areas of shadow filled in.

Next, I fill in the shadow areas with thinned burnt umber using a coarse bristle brush. I've been wondering if I should've softened the edges on the shadows, but I do like how this way I see a simple pattern of light and shadow with no gray area between.

Finally, I add some middle gray mix to the background, mostly just because I want to cover the canvas and have something to judge the light areas of the figure against. Those light areas will be saved for another day, however.

Lust - Foot

I had a nice long day in the studio today, working on another painting and on the big one. Today I just painted on the feet, since I have the painting elevated and it's convenient to get to the lower end. Mostly I worked on the foot with the toes peeking out into the light, but I also worked a little on the foot that is totally in shadow. That one still needs some help.
If you compare this larger shot to a previous one, you will see that the value of the toes has been lowered a lot, showing that it is farthest away from the light source.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day Lilies - 10" x 8"

Today my morning schedule got messed up leaving me little studio time, so I decided to cut some lilies from the yard and paint them at home in the afternoon. Not totally happy nor completely disappointed! I've missed painting from life these past few months.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

What I'm Working On

Wow, it's been really difficult to get good quality images of "Lust" as I work on it! I suppose it's because of how large it is, so it's difficult to get even lighting across the entire canvas. In this image there is a lot of glare at the top because it's currently elevated off the ground quite a bit, and there's also some kind of funky blue spot towards the bottom. Regardless, hopefully you can see that I have worked a bit on the middle and left-most figures from the waist-up. They have a wider range of values than the other figures. This week I will work on the other figures and on the feet.

This morning I started the long awaited first male nude! I am leaving it in the rough drawing stage until I can check my measurements. Then I will start to add detail and then move in to an oil layer. I might not be able to get back to this for a while, though, as I plan to really push through on "Lust" this week.

Thanks to Jamie, I got out to Loose Park this afternoon for my first ever plein air painting session. I did this little 8" x 10" oil in about 3 hrs. It was a lot of fun and quite different painting foliage as compared to flesh. I have a lot to learn in this area.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Salmagundi, Group Show in Wichita, Figure Painting Classes

Salmagundi Art Club NYC Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition 06-29-09 through 07-10-09
Lacey's painting "Untitled Nude" (above) was accepted into the Salmagundi's annual juried exhibition.

"Testament and Transgression" 06-26-09 through 07-24-09
Special exhibit with painter Lacey Lewis, photographer Dan Coburn and sculptor Marc Berghaus at City Arts in Wichita, KS.

Figure Painting

Location: ARTichokes in Leawood, KS
Thursdays, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Class Dates: July 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th
Cost for 4 classes: $230.00, plus tax

This class will begin with a major focus on composition. Students will do charcoal composition sketches and then develop some small thumbnail paintings to figure out the overall color scheme. Then, students will pick one of these paintings to develop further, working with setting a palette and building from softer edges to selectively choosing where and why to add detail.

A live, clothed model will pose for portions of the class and student will also paint from photographs. Improve your artistic eye with helpful tips from one of Kansas City's best figure artists, Lacey Lewis. All art supplies are provided by ARTichokes & this cost is included in the enrollment fee.

Life Sessions at the Studio

Location: Lacey's Studio at the Pressroom, 750 Armstrong in KC, KS
Wednesdays, 6pm - 9pm
January 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th
Cost for 4 sessions: $140.00

This is a loose, unstructured class where Lacey will provide as much or as little instruction or guidance as you want or need. We paint for 3 hours from life, and use the same model in the same pose for 2 consecutive meetings so that we are able to spend 6 hours on each painting. This allows us to create a more finished piece than is possible with typical group life sessions. You are also welcome to draw or sculpt during class.

Please bring your own easel and painting/drawing materials. Contact Lacey if you would like a list of suggested materials for painting from life. All levels of experience are welcome.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I have quite a few events/announcements to mention here, but first thing's first: Tonight is not only the 2nd Friday Art Walk, but also KCK's First Annual Street Fest! For more details, visit Hope to see you all there tonight! I will be back soon to announce upcoming shows and classes. Cheers!