Inside out

When painting a head and shoulders portrait I usually establish the rough proportions of the sitter by way of freehand line. I plan the future positions of the areas of maximum contrast and interest. Next I paint the eyes mouth and nose. In other words I work from inside the overal shapes. As I reach the boundaries I find they often suggest themselves. Some I might like to edge or define while others I let fade away. In general it is appropiate to paint inside out if the figure inhabits more than 50% of the canvas and outside in if it is less.

Outside in - in painting a 'genre' picture or mural (small figures in a large painting) I carefully draw the shapes and figures and fill them in rather like (cartooning) painting an ancient fresco. My drawing in such circumstances must establish a rhythm and place (reality).

STUDENT ACTIVITY: As I used the Mona Lisa to discuss the relationship between hands, mouth and eyes the student should find another example and do the same. Also find the derivation of the word 'cartoon'. Allow 40min.

GO TO ... Painting hair or back to main lesson list

GO TO ... Painting hair or back to main lesson list

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