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The Sax Player, oil on canvas
The Sax Player, oil on canvas

How to Use Oils to Paint Groups of People

http://www.painters-online.co.uk/magazines/default.asp?magazine=13

Rob Wareing 


Body Music

Capturing the body language and light in group situations is an endless source of pleasure; the light that connects the figures is most important, and painting the figures as one, not as isolated portraits, will keep the viewer focused on the essence of the subject. The difficulty with people in a painting is that the smallest things can have a major negative impact. For example, a severely overworked mouth on a child might only occupy one cent of the entire canvas, yet it can ruin the whole painting. The same could apply to a hand that is too big or small. The only way I have found to deal with these problems is to be aware of them from the outset and tackle them earlycent of the entire canvas, yet it can ruin the whole painting. The same could apply to a hand that is too big or small. The only way I have found to deal with these problems is to be aware of them from the
outset and tackle them early cent of the entire canvas, yet it can ruin the whole painting. The same could apply to a hand that is too big or small. The only way I have found to deal with these problems is to be aware of them from the outset and tackle them early on in the painting process. Sometimes, in very loose suggestive pictures, everything seems to work, and although I start nearly all my paintings in a loose and suggestive way, there are very few that I can leave like that.


Paintin a musical trioSTAGE ONE
Using a large brush, I covered the white canvas with washes of acrylic,
which gave me a middle tone and an approximate design. I then
strengthened the design with a very loose charcoal drawing















STAGE TWO
Working directly from the model, I painted the cello player, taking her to
a point where I could work out the rest of the painting. After the sitting I
very loosely – almost haphazardly – indicated the other figures in oil
thinned down with lots of turpentinePaint musicians

















STAGE THREE
Working anticlockwise, I moved from the focal point and
completed the flautist, using the cellist as a reference for her
size and finish. I then moved on to the violinist. Most of my
energy was spent on the important areas: hands, faces and
instruments. I deliberately avoided overworking the clothingPaint girls playing musical instruments




















STAGE FOUR
I completed the focal point, the cello player, and corrected the alignment
of her features. Her mouth was fractionally over to the left, and the
correction softened her considerably. I made a list of negative feelings
and tackled those, resisting any temptation to fiddle on areas that were
complete. I had thought that I would not have to put the violinist's other
hand into the painting, but I realised that the inclusion of the bow hand
was inevitable. Also, I didn’t like the way the cello bow cut the cello in
half and decided that a different angle would be better. The flautist
needed a little more strength, so I subtly increased the contrast.
Although I wanted her to be softer than the other two figures I felt she
was becoming a bit disconnected, almost ghost-likeMusical rehersals


















THE FINISHED PAINTING
I was pleased that the figures did not become
too isolated and there is still a feeling of
movement in thepainting. On the wall
behind the figures is a portrait of my son
playing a guitar – it blends in well
with the colour and subject matter of the painting
The Rehearsal, oil on
canvas, 36 40in
(91.5 101.5cm).FINISHED PAINTING - The rehersal by Rob Wareing











This article was taken from the June 2009 issue of The Artist. If you would like to see further oil articles please click here


 


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