Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Form Painting with Steve Early and Darren Kingsley

In this workshop students learn the principles essential to transform abstract flat shapes into fully dimensional forms and create a sense of light on the figure. Students concentrate on painting the figure with a full range of values and on developing the ability to make accurate value calibrations. The focus is on structure, anatomy, proportion, light direction, edge conditions, abstract movements through the figure, composition and an understanding of form on the figure. These concepts are executed through an application of opaque and semi-opaque paint in the light and shadow areas. This also enables the student to develop painting skills such as scumbling, feathering, and texture. Control of the paint is a priority and is essential to achieving the required goals.

Steve and Darren demonstrate daily during the workshop. This is the beginning of their demo.

Paints used include burnt umber for the grisaille (initial monochromatic painting), and a mixture of cadmium red, cadmium yellow, titanium white and a small amount of ivory black for the light mixture (closed grisaille). The main color used for the lights is adjusted and varied to create value changes and to develop form.
Steve's demo in progress (above), and completed demo (below.)


  1. What a great workshop. Whether painting figurative or still life, form and light are essential to a piece. Thanks for including the palette used for the grisaille and light.

  2. I really like the mixture that Steve and Darren are using to build the form in the lights - cad red, cad yellow, ivory black and white. When we first started at Studio Incamminati, we did similar exercises and called them "duotone", a phrase coined by Debbie Shaffer, referring to the basic shadow color (burnt sienna and ultramarine blue) and light color. It really was a misnomer, because as one develops a "duotone" study, there are many more than two tones. We were using cadmium orange, Vasari cad green pale, and titanium white to build the form in the lights, and while this combination can work, students often ended up with weird looking color. We've played around with a variety of combinations to get a good mixture. It can be helpful to add a little yellow to the mix along with the white, especially if the model is posing under artificial light, to compensate for the cooling quality of the white. If the model has dark skin, this base mixture might not be a good starting place.

  3. What is the canvas brand that they use at this workshop? Does anyone know?