Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Friday, October 29, 2010

Brooke At Rest

This is from figure open session at the School of Light and Color in Fair Oaks, Ca. (if you are in the area, you must come join me. $10 / session, nice people, steal my techniques.)

I remembered to take some shots along the way for your viewing pleasure. Please keep in mind these shots are taken with my phone, so the colors aren't so great. But you can still see the thought process, and there's a lot to be learned from that. I'm not saying you should learn anything from these. I'm saying I have a lot I can learn from retracing my steps this way. One of the great benefits of seeing a progression like this is that I can see where I made dumb moves and where I made smart ones, on purpose or other wise. And the next time I paint, I might avoid making the dumb moves, and I might be able to do the good moves on purpose.


I started this one with a massing approach. (as opposed to drawing with line). I didn't tone the canvas, because I knew I wanted the background to be fairly light. As you can see, it's very loose and general. I'm looking for general proportion relationship and gesture.


 Here you can see the model seated on the stand.

Into this scrubbed-in mass, I drew in with a small brush, trying to find anatomy and smaller shapes. (relatively, that is. the shapes are still pretty big.)


 And then I washed in a tone around the figure, so now I have a better sense of the figure-ground value relationship. I pulled out a few lights using paper towel wrapped around my finger, and hit some darkest dark notes.

 Starting in with the colors. I began with the shadow side of the skin. I wanted to it be relatively high key. It's a mixture of blue, red, brown, and white.

Nearly all the shapes are blocked in with approximate colors, and the value structure is more or less working now.  Looking back, I like the roughness of this stage the best.

 After everything is blocked in and working in traditional representational sort of realm, I start messing around with abstraction for abstraction's sake. Softening some edges, sharpening others - not necessarily based on "rules of realism", but in less expected ways. I switch back and forth between representational thinking and pure abstract thinking. Often it's a big conflict between the two modes of thinking, but I've been putting more muscle behind the abstract side lately.

I had a momentary vision of Brooke sitting there in a leotard. So I altered her clothing. I can't make up clothes and render them convincingly if I were painting tighter, but a leotard is basically just a silhouette, so I can just suggest where the hems are. 

In the end it got pretty messy but I liked it that way. I'm such a left-brained person, that anything this abstract feels like magic to me. Even though I did it, I can't figure out how I did it. It feels... not exactly foreign, unfamiliar in some sense, yet I can see a lot of my personality in it. It's like my subconscious spilled out. OOOooohhh I don't know if I want to go there. Haha~



  1. I love this Terry! and I enjoy going through your "process"! thanks for sharing :)

  2. I have to get my butt in there! I'm going to a workshop next weekend though. Always something. Do you like Ovanes Berberian?
    Love the "messy" subconcious feel and I totally relate to that uncomfortable feeling. I want the messy feel too! I've been doing some figure studies and they are oh so left brained....!

  3. One of these fine Fridays, I will show up on your doorstep.

  4. thanks rita~ I like seeing my own process afterwards too. I learn a lot this way. (as you'll see in my next post!)

  5. Randy, yes you do have to get your butt in there! But a workshop with Ovanes is a viable excuse;-) I look forward to your report in your blog!

    The left brain is where it's at, in my biased not-so-humble opinion. The right brain makes it fun, but without the left, it's just going through the motions:-)

  6. David, you'd better! And before the beer gets warm, too.

  7. Hi Terry! I find this post fascinating. I'm eager to try this approach myself.
    I'll be reading more of your blog posts. I feel like I've dicovered gold! Thanks!

  8. I think your method is fascinating & I love the result. Thanks for sharing all these stages, and I am very glad to have found your blog.

  9. Thanks Bill and Dan, and welcome to my little corner of the blogsphere. Glad you found me~

  10. Great Blog as ever Terry. I love your looser left brain work, and the freedom of changes you choose to make - i.e. the clothing change or changing the sex of the nude study a few weeks back - great stuff! :-)

  11. Thanks Angus! I am an illustrator at heart~