23 June 2009

Reilly Method Painting


I just finished an introductory oil painting class called "Reilly Method Painting from Life" taught by Erik Gist. The class introduces the novice to painting using a limited palette of 3 colors (cadmium red light, cadmium yellow deep, burnt umber) along with titanium white and ivory black. Ultramarine blue was also in this palette, but I never used it.

Before each session students pre-mix a series of 5 values for each color using black and white. The strategy is to combine pre-mixed hues of the same value to achieve new hues of that same value. These final hues are then applied using the corresponding values on an underpainting (below) and observation of the live model as guides. Flesh tones are burnt umber warmed with red and yellow or cooled with gray of the same value. Purples and greens come from mixing ivory black with red or yellow. A good reference on this general approach is The Fine Art of Portraiture: An Academic Approach by Frank Covino. He describes this method in great detail, but using a larger palette and 9 values instead of 5. I found a copy at the library, worth searching out.



Erik is a good teacher. He's very positive and supportive and talks about the process during most of each class, so you pick up a lot if you listen. He painted Vicky's nose. I learned a lot, especially about muddy and chalky color and the value of re-touch varnish. Also learned not to save the background for last. And that I better be determined, because I've got a lot of work ahead.

Vicky 2009, 16 x 12, oil on canvas board

11 comments:

  1. Great painting Candace. I remember the Reilly method from school. I still have some value charts from the day. I really enjoyed it. Again great painting.!

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  2. Thank you for sharing the method and congratulation for your skills in the portraiture.
    Best, Marco.

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  3. James, Wasn't sure how widely use this method was. Sort of like training wheels for oil painters. It is fun. Regards.

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  4. Grazie, Marco. It's a start. The portrait lacks emotion, but the basics of painting must come first. Thanks for your comment.

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  5. Great range of colors and values from the limited palette. I think it is a terrific way to learn color mixing. The rest is gravy.

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  6. Sounds intriguing and the results are fantastic...what a wonderful portrait! The model must have been a joy to paint with those cheekbones.

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  7. Lovely! Makes me want to do more oils, which I struggle with every time. Thanks for sharing Candace!

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  8. Wonderfull blog....from Spain....azpeitia

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  9. Gwen, Thanks for visiting. Vicky is an interesting model. Great features, unusual facial proportions, and she's very serene. Overall, fun to paint/draw. It's so helpful when you actually connect with the model.

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  10. Alice. I share your pain. :o) Seriously, the more I do it, the more daunting it seems. Looking forward to the day I feel more at ease with the brush. Practice, practice.

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  11. azpeitia, Gracias por visitarnos. Disfrutado de su blog. Intrigante entradas. Podría pasar un día entero allí. Recuerdos.

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