Don’t pay any attention to the critics. Don’t even ignore them

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Section 22. Exercises in Black and White Oil Color

SCHEDULE 22

A B C D E
Half Hour Ex. 52: Gesture Drawing in Oil (5 drawings) Ex. 53: Half-Hour Study in Oil (one) Ex. 52: Gesture Drawing in Oil (5 drawings) Ex. 53: Half-Hour Study in Oil (one) Ex. 52: Gesture Drawing in Oil (5 drawings)
One Hour Ex. 51: Sustained Study in Oil Color, Nude (one study composed of three drawings) Ex. 33 and 50: Study of the Bones and Muscles (2 drawings)
Quarter Hour Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest
Quarter Hour Ex. 46: Straight and Curved Lines (15 drawings) Ex. 52: Gesture Drawing in Oil (3 drawings) Ex. 46: Straight and Curved Lines (3 drawings) * Ex. 52: Gesture Drawing in Oil (3 drawings) Ex. 46: Straight and Curved Lines (15 drawings)
One Hour Ex. 51: Sustained Study in Oil Color, Clothed (one drawing) Ex. 19 and 51: The Head in Oil (one drawing)

* Use group poses.

Homework:

Ex. 14 or 30: The Daily Composition.

Ex. 34: The Long Composition (fifteen minutes a day for one week).

Ex. 47: Composition from Reproductions (one hour a week).

Remember the Daily Composition (Ex. 14 or 30) every day.

EXERCISE 51: SUSTAINED STUDY IN OIL COLOR

Student Drawing: The Sustained Study in Oil

 

Student Drawing: The Sustained Study in Oil

 

Doge’s Palace, Venice
St. Christopher by Titian
The paint becomes the best medium for the study of drawing when used correctly


Materials: In addition to cream manila and tracing paper, you will need a sheet of dark brown manila wrapping paper (about fifteen by twenty); two tubes of oil color — zinc white or titanium white and any good black; two long-haired flat bristle brushes, about a quarter of an inch and three-quarters of an inch wide; a cheap palette; a palette knife; rectified turpentine, which you will put into an oil cup or small jar; a supply of clean rags about five inches square. (The brown paper is far cheaper than canvas or board and serves better for this exercise. Oil studies on brown paper will prove durable if mounted on prestwood or heavy cardboard.) Always wash the brushes thoroughly after use, first with turpentine or kerosene and then with soap and water.

Make an extended gesture study of the nude pose in pencil on cream manila paper and over it a contour study on tracing paper. Then transfer the contour to the brown paper just as you did previously to the gray paper. (The extended gesture study of the clothed pose may be made in pencil directly on the brown paper and then worked over with paint.) This study is like the sustained study in black and white crayon, the only new problem being the technical one involved in the use of the paint. The most important technical consideration has to do with getting rid of the excess oil in the paint. First squeeze a portion out of the tube on to a small piece of paper and spread it with a palette knife. As the paint rests there, the oil is absorbed by the paper. To what extent the paint should be dried in this manner is a matter of individual choice, but my advice is to err on the side of dryness. (You can always add linseed oil if it gets too dry.)

When the paint is in the right condition, you can work almost as if you were drawing with chalk. There are many artists who prefer working with a very oily medium and the experienced artist is, of course, quite capable of making a choice. But in every case that I have ever seen the wetness of oil paint has been the main technical handicap among students. The tendency of one color to spread into another, the tendency of the paint to run beyond the areas it was intended for, the difficulty of putting one color over another without having the two mix and become muddy are all due to the excessive amount of oil that is in the color as it comes from the tube.

Before the advent of commercial tube colors painters mixed their own powdered color and they mixed it according to taste. By drying out the color you can alter the consistency to that which gives you the best results. When the paint is dry enough to be moved on the drawing without sloshing around and getting out of control, proceed to draw with it in much the same manner that you drew with the black crayon and the white crayon (Exercise 35). Don’t try to mix the black and white on your palette or on one brush, but use one brush for white and the other for black, working first with one and then with the other as you did with the crayons. Don’t dig the brush down into the paint, but get a ‘gob’ of sticky paint on the end of it and paint almost with the paint rather than with the brush. Drag the paint along, feeling that it is actual substance (not tone or color) and applying it thickly. Use the turpentine to keep your brushes from getting gummed up, but don’t let it mix with the paint because it would then counteract the drying-out process.

Student Gesture Drawings

 

Feel that you touch every part of the form

Because the brush is broader than the crayon, you may feel that you are touching more of the surface at once. This is like the difference between the modelled drawing in lithograph, when you used the side of the crayon, and the modelled drawing in ink. The paint becomes the best medium for the study of drawing when used correctly. These directions are given only as a starting point to help you feel that you are really drawing, not with any idea of teaching you a way of ‘handling paint.’ If you painted steadily for eight months, I couldn’t keep you from learning to handle paint even if I tried. The secret, if it is one, is to be so completely interested in studying the model that the paint just follows. Forget that you are drawing or painting and feel that you are using this medium to reach out and touch the model.

EXERCISE 52: GESTURE DRAWING IN OIL

 Student Gesture Drawing

 

This is a five-minute study that is like the gesture study in black and white crayon (Exercise 36) except that you use black and white oil color on a large sheet of brown paper. Since you must work quickly, do not dry out the color before using it.

Student Gesture Drawing

 

EXERCISE 53: HALF-HOUR STUDY IN OIL

Start with a gesture study (Exercise 52) and proceed to work for a half hour with something of the feeling of the modelled drawing (Exercise 7) and the extended gesture study (Exercise 31).

Draw for fifteen hours as directed in Schedule 22.

praxis | Section 22. Exercises in Black and White Oil Color