Why I Love Realistic Figurative Paintings

Why I Love Realistic Figurative Paintings

  Why I Love Realistic Figurative Paintings by Damian Osborne   Realistic figurative painting has always fascinated me. When I look back through my old art history books and remember which artists and paintings were my favourites as a young, budding artist, figurative oil paintings felt especially vivacious, expressive, inspirational and powerful. And perhaps the genre of realistic figurative painting will always captivate me. For the language of the body speaks to us in an instinctive, primal way. As humans, we divine meanings and feelings through poses, postures and expressions that spoken words can not convey. Perhaps it’s because we…

Final Stages of a Portrait Painting

Final Stages of a Portrait Painting

Watch this video on YouTube   Final Stages of a Portrait Painting — Nigredo by Damian Osborne   1 | What pigments will I need for painting a portrait? 2 | Should you add chalk to your oil paint? 3 | How do you mix colours for the Verdaccio? 4 | How many stages do you need for a portrait painting in oils?   Here are the final stages of a self-portrait painting I called ‘Nigredo’ (or the crucifixion). Using my own oil paints, I show a quick summary of the various stages of the portrait, beginning with the Verdaccio.…

Underpainting Stage for a Self-Portrait

Underpainting Stage for a Self-Portrait

Watch this video on YouTube Underpainting Stage for a Self-Portrait — ‘Nigredo’  by Damian Osborne   1 | How do you begin the underpainting stage of a portrait painting? 2 | Can you oil paint directly over charcoal? 3 | Making my own oil paint from Bloodstone   In this self-portrait oil painting, I start with a charcoal drawing, then make my own oil paint from bloodstone for the underpainting stage of the painting. This is a self-portrait oil painting called ‘Nigredo’. It comes from a pretty dark place. Nigredo is the first stage of the alchemist’s journey. The putrification. Annihilation.…

The Siren Paintings

The Siren Paintings

  The Siren Paintings by Damian Osborne   “You will come to the Siren (paintings) first of all; they bewitch any mortal who approaches them.” —Homer, The Odyssey   Click on an image to view.   To view all figure painting archives, go to Figure Paintings.   Sirens You see, they sang to me in my own voice, how was I to know? They wove the gauze of waking sleep around my heart, I learnt to love the flightless yearning in their voices, carried on the wind from the island where they starve, for company, their wingfeathers lost to the Muses…

Best Ideas for Oil Painting Every Painter Should Try

Best Ideas for Oil Painting Every Painter Should Try

Watch this video on YouTube Best Ideas for Oil Painting Every Painter Should Try by Damian Osborne   So, you’re wondering what you should paint? Here are some of my personal favourite ideas for oil painting: 1 | Landscape painting 2 | Seascape painting 3 | Still life painting 4 | Figure painting 5 | Self-portrait painting 6 | Painting portraits of your friends and family 7 | Painting animals 8 | Dreams, fantasy, mythological, allegorical and imaginary painting Throughout the history of painting, artists have found inspiration for their art from these universal and personal subjects.     What were…

Final Stages of a Figurative Painting – Painting the Figure – Part 4

Final Stages of a Figurative Painting – Painting the Figure – Part 4

Watch this video on YouTube   Final Stages of a Figurative Painting Painting the Figure – Part 4 by Damian Osborne   Figurative painting has become the main ‘body’ of my work. This painting is part of my Siren Series, where I depict a female figure in isolation before the sea. If you missed the last blog, I started working on painting the skin tone. In this chapter, I complete this figurative painting with several stages of glazing.    What are two different techniques for figurative oil painting? Artists who paint the figure in oils can usually be divided into…

Painting the Skin Tone – Painting the Figure – Part 3

Painting the Skin Tone – Painting the Figure – Part 3

Watch this video on YouTube   Painting the Skin Tone Painting the Figure – Part 3 by Damian Osborne   There are many styles, colour palettes and methods artists present and past used for painting the skin tone, and of course it won’t do to just mix a universal ‘flesh colour’. Although I like to study as much of the old masters and their palettes as I can, as well as living artists’ methods, colour mixing is pretty intuitive for me; I’m thinking more in terms of colour temperature and value than following someone else’s method, rules, or anything else.…

Painting the Halftones – Painting the Figure – Part 2

Painting the Halftones – Painting the Figure – Part 2

Watch this video on YouTube   Painting the Halftones Painting the Figure – Part 2  by Damian Osborne   So, what are halftones in oil painting exactly? After I painted the grisaille (or ‘dead layer’) in the first chapter of this series, I was left with a cool grey, almost bluish skin tone because of the cooling effect white has over the raw umber imprimatura. So now I need to consider the values (light and dark), the colour hues (what actual local colours I need for the skin tones), and what colour temperatures I want to use for the skin,…

Painting the Figure – Part 1

Painting the Figure – Part 1

Watch this video on YouTube   Painting the Figure – Part 1 by Damian Osborne   This painting is actually part of my Siren Series. I have broken up this figure painting demo into 4 parts. So stay tuned for explanations of the various stages.    How do you start a figure painting with charcoal? Vine charcoal is the best medium for starting a figure painting because it’s easy to wipe away and make corrections to your drawing. It is also perfect for drawing on canvas. Unlike graphite, it is soft, and does not create the typical graphite sheen that…

Final Stages of a Figure Painting in Oils

Final Stages of a Figure Painting in Oils

Watch this video on YouTube   Final Stages of a Figure Painting in Oils by Damian Osborne   Usually when I’m working on a figure painting in oils, I write down ideas I have about the painting and the next steps I should follow. So once the painting is dry after a few days, I can pick up from where I left off. My journal becomes quite important near the final stages of the painting, because this is when things really start coming together, and I want to be sure I’m getting things right and not forgetting stuff. I also…

Glazing Skin Tones in Oil Painting

Glazing Skin Tones in Oil Painting

Watch this video on YouTube   Glazing Skin Tones in Oil Painting by Damian Osborne   Glazing skin tones creates a transparent and beautiful glow of realistic looking skin that is impossible to achieve simply by direct painting methods. Following the classical Flemish method of oil painting, I have thus so far painted the imprimatura, the verdaccio, gone over the figure with terra verte, and completed the first semi-opaque flesh tone layer. You can follow these previous steps on my blog or on Youtube if you’ve missed them. Now comes the first glazing layer. Oooohhh… Ahhhhh..   What is glazing…

Painting the Flesh Tone

Painting the Flesh Tone

Watch this video on YouTube   Painting the Flesh Tone by Damian Osborne   After the verdaccio and going over the figure with terre verte, it’s time to start painting the flesh tone. I guess this is where it starts feeling like the real painting business is beginning to happen, with the underpainting stage complete. Now we are starting to work with a bit more with local colour. But I try not to fall into the trap of thinking one layer is less or more important than another.   What is the best colour for painting the flesh in oils?…

Painting the Figure with Terre Verte

Painting the Figure with Terre Verte

Watch this video on YouTube   Painting the Figure with Terre Verte by Damian Osborne   What is Terre Verte? Terre Verte, or ‘Green Earth’, was commonly used from Medieval Times and through the Renaissance for the underpainting of flesh tones. The Romans used this pigment on their wall paintings even before then. The green is complimentary to the warm reds and pinks of the flesh and makes the skin appear more natural. The pigment is made from iron silicates and the most famous was mined in Verona, Italy. It’s a transparent, non-toxic pigment with a low-tinting strength and high…

Painting the Verdaccio

Painting the Verdaccio

Watch this video on YouTube   Painting the Verdaccio by Damian Osborne   What is the verdaccio? Verdaccio is an Italian term for the greenish-hued underpaintings common to Early Renaissance Italian art. The root word ‘verde’ means green. In English we would say ‘verdant’. Back in the Middle Ages, when religious frescos and egg tempera paintings were mainstream, artists commonly applied a verdaccio layer as an underpainting. After painting the imprimatura and brunaille as I mentioned before, they knew that a cool, greenish tone in the underpainting would cause the flesh in their subjects to appear more realistic in the…

Painting the Imprimatura

Painting the Imprimatura

Watch this video on YouTube   Painting the Imprimatura by Damian Osborne   Ok, so I’ve just completed the burnt umber imprimatura or brunaille. This is the second part of the figure painting I’m working on, called ‘Transformation’. If you missed the first part, go back and view the first video where I do the underdrawing. It shows how I begin the painting by toning the canvas and drawing the figure with charcoal.   What is the imprimatura in oil painting? Imprimatura means ‘First Painting Layer’ in Italian. Having a charcoal drawing on the canvas helps to get the design…

Charcoal Underdrawing for an Oil Painting

Charcoal Underdrawing for an Oil Painting

Watch this video on YouTube   Charcoal Underdrawing for an Oil Painting by Damian Osborne   What is a charcoal underdrawing? A charcoal underdrawing is the first stage in traditional oil painting. In the classical method, doing a charcoal underdrawing on the toned canvas helps to quickly visualize the placement, composition and proportions of the subject before starting the painting stage. Using vine charcoal, it’s easy to wipe off and rework sections of the underdrawing. I love the tactile feeling of working with charcoal; smudging and blending with my whole hand, erasing with a rag, drawing with my fingers. Stepping…

Painting the Traditional Way – Part 3 – The Dead Layer

Painting the Traditional Way – Part 3 – The Dead Layer

  Painting the Traditional Way – Part 3 – The Dead Layer by Damian Osborne   After completing the underdrawing in charcoal, and going over the lines with a burnt sienna imprimatura, it was time to refine the anatomy and work on the ‘dead layer’ or underpainting stage.   Refining the underpainting (the anatomy) In the next step, I started refining the underpainting a little more. Using burnt sienna, raw umber and some ultramarine blue, I refined the drawing of the woman’s anatomy, paying special attention to her spine and scapular, the trapezius muscle of the back, the buttocks and…

Painting the Traditional Way – Part 2 – The Underdrawing

Painting the Traditional Way – Part 2 – The Underdrawing

  Painting the Traditional Way – Part 2 – The Underdrawing by Damian Osborne   After sizing, priming and toning the canvas, it’s time to begin the underdrawing! If you missed the first part, just go back and check it out quickly. In the previous chapter, I show how I prepare the canvas for the underdrawing stage.  I was commissioned to create an oil painting of a woman bathing in a tropical mountain pool. A waterfall and lush green foliage add to the peaceful ambience. The painting was destined for Australia, to a natural health clinic. So I wanted to…