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  1. #1
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    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo

    Hi everyone,

    Just sharing two more recent images. The second has a demonstration. I have been meaning to put up something like this for a while.

    Also, for anyone interested I am teaching two workshops this summer. One in St. Simons Island, GA (Still-life-July) and one at the Grand Central Academy in New York (Figure-August).


    If you want more information you can get it here:
    http://www.douglasflynt.com/workshoppage.html

    Here are the picts. Hope you enjoy 'em. Of course C&C are welcome.

    Oil on Linen 36" x30"
    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo

    Oil on Linen 11" x14"
    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo

    For this particular piece I followed virtually the shortest process of the different procedures I use while painting.

    This procedure involved 3 basic steps:

    1. Preparatory Linear Drawing
    2. Monochrome Value Study
    3. Form Painting



    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Preparatory Linear Drawing (setting up and early block-in)

    Drawing with graphite on paper or charcoal on linen.


    For this piece I started on drawing paper using graphite and later transferred it to my linen. This is the way I usually start. Occasionally, I draw directly on the linen and when doing so I usually start with vine charcoal and then finish using charcoal pencils.


    Height Relationships to establish proportion.


    The first thing I do when starting a careful drawing is to set up a series of height relationships. Generally I place 8 or 9 carefully chosen tic marks. I derive these through a combination of subdivision (such as finding halfway points) and or establishing a unit of measure (similar to using a head length as a measuring unit). These marks are very important and I trust them to guide me through the rest of the drawing so they must be as accurate as possible. With them I can find widths and other parameters. These parameters establish proportion; a fundamental component in any accurate drawing.


    Blocking-in seeing for shapes and tilts.


    I then begin blocking in the objects using predominately straight lines (which are easier to relate and compare). I looked to see shapes and relate tilts. As I blocked-in these shapes I constantly took notice of how they aligned with one another both vertically and horizontally.



    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Preparatory Linear Drawing (refining and breaking down block-in)

    Refining the block-in.


    In continuing the block-in I shifted to breaking down the larger shapes into smaller shapes. I continued to look at both the shapes and the tilts. I worked to break down and refine my most central object. At this point I was mainly thinking in terms of two-dimensional shapes, concerning myself not with the object I see but with the shapes and patterns I see. Three-dimensional thinking will come later. While drawing I was cycling through multiple checking systems to find the placement of points, lines and shapes for each decision I made.

    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Preparatory Linear Drawing (mid-stage of finishing)

    Point to point along the contour.


    In this image I had begun to finish a section of my linear drawing. To finalize the contour I begin to move in a point to point way, looking to see the subtle shifts of the line. I was also moving my mind into a more three dimensional way of thinking. I was asking myself if the line made sense with the structure of the object


    Finding forms on the interior and separating light from shadow.


    On the interior I broke down the drawing finding as many different interior forms as I could. Although I was now thinking about the forms (three-dimensional thinking) I was still registering the shapes in a two-dimensional way. I then also lightly filled in the areas of shadow with a relatively flat tone. When separating "light" from "shadow" objects are seen in a more sculptural way. Additionally, it aids in making the image, with all of its linear shapes, less confusing to interpret

    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Preparatory Linear Drawing (mid-stage of finishing)

    Switching drawing tactics.


    In this image I had finished the linear drawing for all of the foreground objects and was midway through the background drapery. My tactics for drawing the background had shifted. I skipped the preliminary stages of blocking in shapes and then slowing breaking them down. I felt I had enough information to freehand the background, drawing the exact shapes that I saw. Because of this I begin to draw in the same way as when I finalized the contour of the foreground objects in a "point to point" fashion.


    Triangulating points and scanning plumb lines.


    While finalizing the contour I was largely triangulating points and scanning plumb lines. However, as shapes were formed I would take note if they matched the shapes I saw. This is a faster way to draw but it is easy to loose track of the larger shapes and patterns if one is not careful.


    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Preparatory Linear Drawing (finished drawing)

    Categories of lines to look for.


    This image is of the finished drawing. When teaching a question that often comes up is how much of a drawing is necessary. Although much of this comes down to experience, knowing how much information you personally need to carry on with the process, some guidelines are to look for lines that tell about structure, the light source and abrupt value or color changes. Keeping this in mind, three categories of lines I generally look for are: the contour, contours of overlapping forms, and the "Terminator*". Two secondary and more subjective categories are: abrupt plane changes and abrupt local value changes.

    *also known as "Apelles' Line," the "Bedbug Line," and the "Core Shadow"

    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Monochrome Value Study

    Function of the value study.


    Before moving on to the actual painting I did a small (approximately quarter scale) monochrome value study. The purpose of the study was to better understand the larger value relationships of the setup. It was referred to throughout the actual painting in helping to guess the value of any given area. It was also a chance to make some slight alterations to the actual values that existed in the setup with the intent of enhancing the feel of the painting or composition.


    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Painting (early stages and getting started)

    Transferring and toning the Linen.


    After transferring my drawing to the stretched linen using a charcoal transfer, I inked over the lines with "India" ink and then lightly toned the surface to achieve a fairly neutral, light in value, grey. Once this fully dried I moved on to the actual painting stage.


    Form Painting.


    This type of painting may be referred to as "Form Painting" where one moves very carefully over the forms of the objects. Form painting in this way is very challenging. It is a finish as you go way of working. The challenge is similar to that of executing a refined line drawing with no block-in. It requires a high degree of concentration to not loose track of larger color and value relationships. This is the main reason I executed the value study before moving on to this stage. It is not for all temperaments and is not the way I always precede in a painting but almost always the way I finish refined areas of my paintings.

    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    The setup.


    This is a picture of the setup. As you can see the value study was close at hand. The jar of medium on the right hand side of the easel was a mixture of 25% stand oil and 75% turpenoid. However, I didn't use very much medium while painting. I mainly used it for oiling out sunken in spots to match the paint after it dried out

    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Painting (continued)

    Painting the value key.


    This image shows the painting a bit further along. I picked this area to start because it had high contrast and a full range of values. This area (aided by the value study) would serve as the "key" to help me make decisions about values in other areas of the image.

    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Painting (continued-2)

    Interpreting values.


    Although I have been referring to "values" in this discussion so far, I should add that my decisions about value have not all been made by optical assessments alone. Even though I am aware of the values I see I also am guided by the direction of the light source to aid in understanding what I see and filter what I am seeing.

    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Painting (continued-3)

    Gradations understood in both two and three-dimensional ways.


    By knowing the direction of the light I can anticipate the orientation of the value gradations that I am seeing. In a purely optical and two-dimensional way these are the gradations that occur over a particular shape. In a conceptual and three-dimensional way these gradations explain the distribution of light over a form. This understanding of how the light works on different types of surfaces helps me in understanding what I see and aids in giving it organization and structure.


    Form light and highlight.


    As I worked I made mental notes about how the light behaved differently on different surfaces. I often had to decide if the particular form I was work on was dominated by form light or by highlight. For each I conceptualized the light direction differently.

    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Detail.

    Figure and Still-life paintings+demo
    Another detail.


    In the above I was only able to touch on some of the many ideas that concern me during the execution of a painting. Yet, I hope for those of you who have an interest in the practice and science of painting it gives some insight into my approach

    -Flynt

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    Last edited by Flynt; June 16th, 2007 at 08:54 PM. Reason: adjusted brightness of picture and grammar edit
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  4. #2
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    Amazing stuff man, thanks for providing the process and thoughts on how to go about it. Can't wait to see more from you!

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    Amazing amount of detail in those 2 paintings, and thanks for the detailed explanation. Helps me out alot
    One question: When you transfer the graphite drawing to linen do you use a projector to trace over the lines or.. ???

    Last edited by Know1; June 11th, 2007 at 06:38 PM.
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    jesus....um....um....dude...you rule.

    love 'em both. thanks for the tutorial.

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    Excellent insights into your process. it's interesting to see deliberate painting methods like yours, and how planned it is as opposed to just going at it. Great running commentary. Thanks!

    Andrew Murray
    Concept Artist, Tencent Boston
    www.theincredibleandy.com
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    thanks for the info, my painting instructors don't go into this kind of detail.

    the value key is a concept i haven't tried and is a great help. i'll try to keep these in mind when analyzing what i see... very very helpful.

    sorry if you've mentioned it and i missed it but about how long would each of these stages take you?

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    very crazy!
    beautifull paintings

    cheers


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    disclaimer

    First, Thank you for posting the images and the tutorial. Such things are invaluable to us as artists. You have my utmost respect for being open and giving with such things.

    Second, I will never be the painter that you are, so please forgive if my words and critique of the figure work are not able to be backed up in practice with oils. Easier said than done...and for me, the saying is the easy part. Doing is always the hard part.


    Here are my thoughts.

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    Last edited by Jason Manley; June 11th, 2007 at 11:02 PM.
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  14. #11
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    Always amazing to see your work. And the breakdown is more than anyone could ask for. Thanks for the effort.

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    Phwoar. I had to take a second look on that first painting. The fact that you've painted a second painting inside the painting is a testament to your dedication. I love the second painting for what it does to my eyes. Anyone who can paint like that on oil has my eternal adoration.

    In like Flynt

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    jesus your like a 3d rendering machine!!
    totally awed by your patience and precision.

    when your mixing your paints do you do it in large amounts so you don't have to find the right values are colours again?

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    Know1-
    I photocopied the drawing and then rubbed charcoal on the back. Putting this on the linen (charcoal side down) I traced the drawing and the pressure transferred the image. Glad it helped.

    Skvv-
    They take me longer than one would like. My ballpark guesses would be:
    The drawing about 15 hours.
    The study about 2 hours
    The painting about 40-50 hours

    Jason-
    Very useful criticism, with all points being quite valid. I will actively work to address each one in future pieces. I get a charge receiving good criticism—Thanks

    Evil Sloth-
    I mix out (value) strings before starting a session so I don’t have to mix as much while I work. I try finishing an area in a session, if I don’t finish I keep out the colors to match with fresh paint for the next time. I am fairly organized in my color mixing methods and can usually match a specific Hue/Value/Chroma from day to day.

    Thanks for the comments

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    I was going to say some of what jason said... I know someone has said it before too, that your flesh tends to be handled much like your still lives, and I think it holds them back from being what they really could be.

    Though, awesome work still.

    Hope you are well Doug!

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    Top notch! Makes me want to start getting serious! hahaa! Thanks for posting these tutorials! I really appreaciate reading them! I have a few questions I would like to ask you though. What main medium do you use while painting? I just started oil painting and it seems almost overwhelming with all the different mediums, alkyds, and mineral spirits that are used. Are there any particular mediums that you are most comfortable using? And what do you clean your brushes with?

    Last edited by stalsby; June 12th, 2007 at 01:18 AM.
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    Incredible as always! I'm already stunned just by seeing the process! Thanks for giving me some advice a while back.

    Anyway, the only thing bothering me about the figure painting is the light that is on her eye lashes. It seems to jump out too much, and seems out of place. Maybe toning down the value of the light on that area should help.

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  21. #18
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    jason read my mind with that crit... hope you can use it to strengthen your figure painting skills..

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    Beautiful work. My main crit: all edges are too sharp. I don't know what you are going for artistically. Personally, I would pull all of my sharp edges to one concentrated area. Or, to lead the eye to a focal point. I think this attributes to what Jason said about your figures looking like clay. If you look up close at a Rembrandt, there are virtually no sharp edges. You operate much like a scanner, in how you paint from object to object and area to area, instead of all over the canvas. I can tell that you are an extremely maticulous artist. I have no problem with this, and it is evident that it works very well for you. You have certainly mastered the art of direct analyzation, but the product is nothing more than that. I feel like I'm going to get creamed for this comment. Regardless, they are beautiful pieces of art. I would love to see a more painterly approach, that's all.

    Eric

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    Yeah thanks for sharing your process it was really insightful
    and your work is stunning. I enjoy all the detail you capture in each piece.

    -MO

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    every time i see someone posting oils, i regret for not working with it anymore..
    wonderfull looking paintings and truly mastered tecnique.
    bis respect,

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    Thanks for sharing the tutorial, the work looks great.

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    Honestly, I disagree with you entirely SprayNation. You need to see his works in person to understand the beauty of his shapes and edges...wonderful stuff. Some of my favorites in the galleries today are by Mr. Flynt here. If you are in San Francisco, go down to the John Pence Gallery and take a look at the surface quality and level of paint handling in Flynt's work...absolutely amazing and worthy of respect. Reproductions do no justice.

    His approach works just fine for him. Some artists use the "paint outward method" and others cover the whole canvas in block in fashion. One method is not superior to the other. It all comes down to what works for you. For example, I once watched marko djurdjevic draw a full character with zero block ins, zero thumbnails, and he started with the toe and bled around, everything that he would have been told NOT TO DO in art school, he used and worked just fine for him.

    Also your composition theory of "one focal point" is rudimentary and common in today's art schools...I used to call it "Ringling Composition" as so many artists out of Ringling used that theory. What they did not realize is that such theory was refined and common in advertising illustration (which explains why it was common at Ringling)...one focal equals boring composition as it does not hold the viewer very long...it is called "the quick read" (vacuum to the center to sell something for example)....there can be multiple focal areas in and out of space and across the page in order to lead the eye around and into the pictorial space. The latter leads to complex compositions.

    Also...edges and the range of soft to sharp are relative...rembrandt is one of the rougher painters...but if you compare him to someone like Eugene Carriere, Rembrandt can be considered sharp...it is all relative and all a matter of taste. Someone like Bouguereau has a range of edge qualities different than Sargent or Degas...it is up to the painter to decide the level of finish. No one finish is better than another. What you speak of has to do with your taste.

    If one is judging something based solely on taste, then one might as well say " I don't like the color red, and since that painting has cadmium red in it, I dont like it and you should use more blue"....though I know it can be tough to seperate taste from constructive criticism.


    Quote Originally Posted by SprayNation View Post
    Beautiful work. My main crit: all edges are too sharp. I don't know what you are going for artistically. Personally, I would pull all of my sharp edges to one concentrated area. Or, to lead the eye to a focal point. I think this attributes to what Jason said about your figures looking like clay. If you look up close at a Rembrandt, there are virtually no sharp edges. You operate much like a scanner, in how you paint from object to object and area to area, instead of all over the canvas. I can tell that you are an extremely maticulous artist. I have no problem with this, and it is evident that it works very well for you. You have certainly mastered the art of direct analyzation, but the product is nothing more than that. I feel like I'm going to get creamed for this comment. Regardless, they are beautiful pieces of art. I would love to see a more painterly approach, that's all.

    Eric


    Last edited by Jason Manley; June 12th, 2007 at 04:11 AM.
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  28. #24
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    these are tremendously fantastic.
    Kudos' for posting the tutorial, nice to have some extra knowledge!


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    IMHO that is masterful stuff. Hats off.

    Jose Pardo

    Portfolio: http://www.moonvisionstudio.com

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    phone: 407.963.2339
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    wow. outstanding thread here. besides the great artwork, the tutorial, and now the crits....this thread is just really inspirational.

    thanks guys

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    in my opinion, I think the figure could use overall less modeling with value and more modeling with color tempratures. But excellent draftsmanship in terms of drawing. What would you title it though im curious?

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    Below I have included a quote from:
    “THE PRACTICE OF OIL PAINTING AND OF DRAWING AS ASSOCIATED WITH IT”
    BY SOLOMON J. SOLOMON, R.A. written in 1914.


    In his text, Solomon outlines a process for working that works the whole of the painting together, painting the entire surface of the canvas at once. Laying in larger masses and breaking them down. A solid way of working in my opinion, but I thought I would include the passage below where he suggests a more finish as you go way of working where “completeness is attained.” It seemed like a relevant text in light of the conversation here.

    The entire book is online and if you haven’t read it I would suggest it as a good text—here is the link:http://www.painting-technique.com/

    And now Mr. Solomon:
    “…so on [97] another occasion try a different method. Take up the same group from the same view. Having done it as a whole, you will have learnt something of the relative value of the parts. Make your drawing, and on the bare white canvas complete absolutely each object separately, bearing in mind, while painting it, its relative value to the whole. This is excellent practice, and will best enable you to finish. Experience gained in this way is invaluable : you will see when the study is done whether you have over- or under-stated the value of the tone of any particular part. I should advise you to begin with the object strongest in light and shade, so as to set the key for the whole, and paint it up to full strength, or you will find most likely, when the surroundings and background are painted, that it may look weak.
    It is quite possible to complete a picture bit by bit in this way. Many of the students in the École des Beaux Arts in my time began their studies from the nude at the head and worked down to the feet without retouching; and such studies, when completed, were often perfect in the relative value of the parts to the whole.
    In this way freshness is preserved and completeness attained ; and for the student who is beginning, it is far less distracting than what I might call the driving of a whole team.”

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    Stalsby-

    There are a lot of mediums out there and I still haven’t settled on a perfect one. I generally don’t use much medium. For under-painting where I want it to dry fast I often use Liquin. For finishing (when I need it) I have been fairly happy with a mixture of High quality Odorless Mineral spirits (75&#37 and Stand Oil (25%). Every medium has drawbacks and advantages. You will likely just have to start trying mediums until you find one you like. For brushes I usually use sable rounds, but like mediums so much just depends on how you want to paint. Also I have been told time and time again by artists older than me, “you’re not old enough to know about good brushes, they don’t make them anymore.”

    Just keep plugging away at the ideas and you will find materials that will work for you. Good Luck.

    Stephen-

    Good ideas for consideration and for a title perhaps-“The Model Critic”

    Thanks all, for the comments.

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    Thanks! I will definitely be experimenting more with mediums! I have been using linseed oil a lot and I'm not very fond of it's glossiness and sheen it gives to the oil paints when dry. I think I'm gonna find something that gives more of a matte look!

    Thanks for your time and advice! I look foward to seeing more of your studies and process tutorials. I enjoy learning other painters methods! It is always refreshing, informative, and helps me with my knowledge and understanding of the very difficult study or "journey" rather of oil painting.

    Oh and by the way I think the form painting method is very practical and worth-while! I'm going to utilize this technique in one of my next attempts. ;] keep up the good work! It always pays off!

    My Sketchbook

    Life is a long lesson in humility.
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