Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Monday, January 6, 2014

Seated Nude - Next Sesseion

This is where we left off last time. I came in to the studio today after several days of being sick. Starting the New Year on the wrong foot, so to speak.

But I feel fine today - at least in terms of physical health. My painting abilities… well, I will have to work a little harder to get the ball rolling.

OK, so again, the first thing I did was give it a fresh tape around the canvas, and oiling in to bring back lustre and the dark values.

Then I went back in with a fresh, lighter blue, and some more paint on the flesh. I started working on her lower leg first. I wasn't sure what I wanted exactly, except that it was getting a little skinny and the color too cool.  So I repainted it several times, each time wiping away and integrating with the background.

I didn't want it to lose it entirely because I wanted the rhythmic movement to continue from top to bottom. So I just kind of painted the leg with a few strokes, wiped it, painted it, wiped it, hoping for an accidental mark that looked like a leg but not painted by a brush.

I also wanted flat brushstrokes on the sofa. More an abstract treatment than rendering a sofa. I was thinking of marks made by plopping down a loaded watercolor mop, except opaque. I didn't want the bristle strokes. Rather, I wanted to emphasize flatness. A purely abstract esthetic. (that is to say, not bound by rules of representational realism)

I kept playing with the distribution of the blue shapes vs. the black, looking for interesting shape break up. The abstract shapes somehow needed to support the very light shapes of the figure and its rhythm, so I tried over and over, moving blue and black shapes around on the sofa. 

I was still having difficulty seeing the figure as just an abstract shape (couldn't get past the literal), so for a while, I turned the canvas upside down and painted with my left hand. I got some interesting shapes this way in the hair.

I decided to see what would happen if I separated the sofa from the floor. Shed some light on the floor so that the leg wasn't disappearing into blackness.

At the risk of being more representational, I put down a dark mauvey color. My idea was to connect the foot to the floor and lose edges entirely around the foot. I kept fighting between doing that, and putting a cast shadow under the foot so that it looks like only the toes are touching the floor. I haven't worked it out to my satisfaction so that'll be something to address during the next session.

I tried to play around with the flat, soft mop brush strokes I mentioned earlier (I don't know what else to call it?) on the figure, too. Some random, accidental looking notes to break up the more traditional modeling strokes. 

Toward the end of the day, I started messing around with the edge of the top of the leg. I wasn't happy with the countour, so I tried changing it. A little concave here… no, that doesn't work, more convex. No that doesn't work either. more hip, less thigh. No, now she's too fat. Take off a little. No, now it's too straight…   <-- This is the sort of internal dialogue that goes on. I haven't resolved this part yet either.

But all in all, I think she's starting to take on a life of her own. It'll be interesting to see what'll happen next time.


  1. Looking awesome. Reminds me of Alex Kanevsky's process, a little.

  2. Yeah, May be too much. Though I don't know how he works. I think I need to emphasize my handwriting more - I know that doesn't look like anyone else's (that I know of).