The Figure painting in Oils demonstration in July featured Southampton artist Stewart Beckett painting Gail Morris our Programme Coordinator. He used the traditional method taught by fine art ateliers.
The form of the figure was created with blocks of subtle colour applied with precise strokes without using detail. His colours had been premixed. They included cadmium red, quinacridone red, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, purple, yellow ochre and white. Gail's face and body appeared to gradually come into focus. Stewart compared the process to doing a jigsaw puzzle.
Sometimes he used a gloved finger to blend background and soften edges. He painted quickly and the canvas was mostly covered within half an hour.
The background colour was a light teal mix to compliment the warm colours of the skin and hair. Contours of the figure and features were created by setting warm colours against cool colours and saturated colours against de-saturated colours. For example a cooler de-saturated greenish colour against the warm skin colour on the arm created the impression that the arm was not flat.
Drawing a likeness is a skill that requires practice and Stewart told us that he trained himself to study faces by sitting in a cafe, looking at a face for a short time and then sketching it from memory. He teaches both outdoor landscape and studio portrait painting. For more information see https://www.stewartbeckett.com/.