Scott Burdick 
Oil Painting Demonstration

For this painting I first put a brownish wash over the gessoed board to 
kill down the bright whiteness, which can sometimes make it difficult to judge
your values against. Next, I used a bristle brush to sketch out the general 
proportions of Susan's features. Once this is done, I start painting directly 
in the eye, which will be the center of interest.

As I move onto each new area, the key is to first start out with the larger
shapes and slowly move to smaller and smaller detail. If you are to put in the details
first (such as the nostril rather than the dark plane under the nose) you will be 
forced to paint around those details rather than getting those gutsy underlying brushstrokes
that will give the painting life.

As I move into the shadow areas of the face I constantly squint at the subject
and compare the dark tones to the light areas to make sure that I get the new
values in the proper relation to those that I've already put down.

With the face mostly finished, I now block in the shapes of the figure.
As my teacher Mr. Parks used to tell us constantly, "Don't go any faster
than you can with accuracy!" Because everything in a painting is cumulative and
interdependent, one mistake will lead to a whole series of later errors if not
corrected immediately.

Here's the finished painting.

And a close-up of the face.

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All material on this website, Copyright 2007 Scott Burdick and Susan Lyon