Last few figure paintings from Zhaoming Wu's class.
This one was actually done a few months ago, in the middle of the semester, from photo. It's much tighter than I usually like working but was pretty helpful for exploring form. The drapery didn't work at all, and some of the anatomy is wonky. Worst of all, it just doesn't add up into a unified image, it looks more like bits and pieces put together. During the final critique, Zhaoming said that this was the last time I worked in my older approach.
This was the final painting from life, done over 4 classes. Same great model as the previous in-class work. The pose was from a difficult angle, but it did have a great gesture and I loved the twist of her torso. The painting actually looked like a wreck after the first day- I had the drawing and gesture down fine, but the values were extremely muddy and the color was all off. At the beginning of the second day, Zhaoming pointed out that I could just focus on the drawing and edges and whatnot and let the color go, since it wasn't the focus of the painting. It went much more smoothly after that. On the whole he was really pleased with this one, one for the drawing, and two because I've started to get a little more expressive and push things in the painting that aren't necessarily there in the setup, but which I think will make a better painting.
This one was the final homework, done from photo. By the time I started this one, I was getting bored of doing all the tight, anal illustration work that I'd been doing, so I went nuts on the background with the palette knife. I wanted to give it an emerging from mist of chaos look (yeah, yeah, it's been done to death), it seemed natural given the reference pose. For painting the figure, I tried using William Whitaker's approach of building the form using broken strokes of color in layers, rather than the thicker, direct application that I normally do. I like how it worked out, it's a different look for sure but it helps me get away from the harsh look that many of my paintings still have. I feel like I was able to get a more delicate and graceful look that I wouldn't have achieved otherwise, especially in the halftones.
I really wish I could take this class again- I learned a lot from Zhaoming, and actually getting compliments from him almost makes me want to drop illustration and do figure paintings all the time :P. He said that from now on, I should start to focus on color, since the other stuff is starting to fall into place.