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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bonaparte X3

Here are three wee studies, 10 minutes each, of a little white ceramic bust of Bonaparte.. 
Had to sacrifice accuracy to establish the values showing plane changes on the neck and face. This is really fun, the next best thing to sculpting with clay. 
When you paint only the shapes of the dark and light values, you can achieve an abstract likeness quickly, which looks sort of like a photo negative. I didn't have time to mix a light color paint, so I just left the white of the canvas for the light areas.

#1 – a five minute brush sketch in two values, dark and light.

#2 – three values - dark, light, and middle tone

#3 – three to five values

The next step would be to do this in color. Remember the statue is white!

By the way in case you are wondering, I painted these on canvas cloth taped to a drawing board. The blue tape separates the studies. When finished painting the series, I will remove the tape leaving a white gutter between the sketches. Then I will have a study of four Bonaparte busts to show the progression in painting a little series.

My goal: go out and do this with landscape features or any other subject.
I'll keep you posted. Why don't you fire some questions to me? You can use the Comments window below.

 Do you like seeing this mini-demonstration?
I want to thank Kelley MacDonald for her smart classroom approach!  Her  painting-a day class at our local art club is fun, challenging and helping me get back in the groove of daily painting after a few weeks off. Here's a link to Kelley's blog!


  1. Such a good exercise. Liking # 3.

    1. Thanks for checking in, Susan! Always love to hear what you have to say!

  2. I love this, starting with the two values is such a no nonsense simplifying approach!Well done Libby.


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