More than Head and Shoulders: Week 2

April 13, 2021

Collecting for Great Ormond Street Hospital

Try a Different whole Figure:

This week try a different figure.  If you tried a standing figure this week try someone sitting and perhaps choose someone wearing different clothes; perhaps a more flowing dress or someone in uniform.  You may like to paint a child holding a doll or someone with a guitar. There are a few photo references here and ways in which other artists have painted similar figures can be found in the same Pinterest boards as last week.

For the seated figure:

and for the standing figure:

One little Butterfly
Water Seller in Taroudannt
If I were painting this subject I would include the whole of the foot by extending the space at the bottom of the photo, NOT by trying to cram the foot into the existing space!

After next week’s review session we’ll discuss composition choices when working from only part of the figure and how to crop references to provide an interesting picture. For week three we will choose to include the figure down to about the waist and look at the ways arms and hands may be arranged. For week 4 we’ll be considering the three quarter length portrait so you may like to start looking for suitable references for these weeks.

The Project for week 2:

So for the Week 2 challenge find a significantly different kind of whole figure reference to your choice for last week, possibly uniformed, sitting or standing, perhaps holding a doll or musical instrument. 

Check the overall height and width of your figure at the widest points. You may like to construct a rectangle around the figure so that you can transfer that rectangle to a space within your support. This will help you not only to get the proportions right but help you decide exactly how much of the total area you wish the figure to take up to make a pleasing composition. It will also help to avoid the situation of cropping an extremity at an unintended point or worse trying to shorten something artificially.

Placing the figure at the right scale on the support.
You will have to measure the height and width of your figure in the reference photo and then multiply each length by the same amount to transfer the figure to your support at the size you wish while maintaining the correct proportions. You may also use a grid as we did for the portrait heads. This method allows a good check for the proportions and is a good starting point if you would like to work with the negative spaces.

Also consider the negative spaces, for example between the legs if they are apart. Think hard about what items should be included in the background.  An artisan carpenter might have his tools or an academic his books for example.  Try to show the person’s character and age by the way they stand or sit and their interests by the surrounding props.

Your Paintings:

A Tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh
Watercolour by Sarah
Watercolour by Sarah
Finding the Way
Pastel by Heather
Watercolour by Ann
David with Dogs
Pastel by Liz
Acrylic by John
Regina Pyo
Acrylic by Elizabeth
Man with Camel
Pencil and coloured pencil by Mali
Mali’s Sister
Watercolour by Mali
La Bailaora
Acrylic by Malcolm
Waiting for the Bus
Watercolour and wax resist by Angela
Morris Dancer
Watercolour by Sarah
I included this one as it’s a good example of how the figure can be cropped successfully to give an exciting composition of less than the whole figure, which will be the challenge for next week.

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