Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Figure Sketch

click on the image to see the video a little bit larger.

During the figure session yesterday, I remembered (wow!) to take snapshots of the work in progress. I thought it would be neat to put it all together in a little slide show. It certainly does open my eyes when I see the sequence after the fact.

I haven't edited video in years, and it turns out the current version of iMovie is nothing like what I was using three years ago, and I couldn't make heads or tails out of it. My teenage son is the expert now, but being a teenager, he's got no time!

So I resorted to doing the dumbed down version in iPhoto, which is still pretty cool given the fact that my knowledge of technology is quickly becoming obsolete.

Anyway, a little bit about the painting; the sketch is done on a piece of linen taped to a board, and it's about 12 x 14 or thereabouts.

The painting took probably 1.5hrs or 2hrs at most, including the time I took to do thumbnails.

The photos were taken with my iPhone under classroom lighting conditions, which is my way of saying cut me some slack on the quality of the photos!

The method you see in this clip is what I call my "messy method", where I go in with very vague, abstract, loose washes and try to find shapes in them, gradually tightening up as I go. This is in contrast to my "orderly method", where I do a more careful drawing first.

I tend to go with the "messy method" when I want to focus on the abstract things like gesture, atmosphere, and mood. I use the "orderly method" when specific types of information has more importance. For example, the likeness of the model for a portrait treatment, or if I were painting a landscape feature that needs to be recognizable, or an identifiable architecture or a car model.

This painting was not about the identity of the model, so a tight drawing in the beginning wasn't necessary. I was more interested in the gesture and abstraction, so the "messy method" suited me well.

I hope you enjoy the little slide show!


  1. Thankyou for this. Its very interesting to see how you work.

  2. thanks for posting this Terry. I enjoyed it. congrats to you for being able to figure out making and posting a vid!

  3. Thanks Bridget!, Thanks painterchum!

  4. very nice! Your "messy method" is similar to the loose method employed by a teacher friend of mine, Ingrid Christensen. She's got a lovely, abstraction style too.

  5. Thanks Cheryl~ I followed your link and looked at Ingrid's paintings. Very nice!!