Oil Demo: Painting the Nude in Nature

In this oil demo, Gregg Kreutz returns to the site of the 2015 Nude in Nature Workshop and, with the same model, posing as she had during Kreutz’s class, he painted this study.

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1. Positioning: First Kreutz lays in a rough approximation of the general shape of the model. At issue isn’t accuracy or finesse but positioning the figure comfortably in the canvas: not too big, not too small. At this stage Kreutz finds that turning the visual information into simple, readable geometric shapes is helpful. In this case, he generalizes the figure’s shape into a triangle.

Stage 1

Stage 1

 2. Rough-In: Kreutz then gets a little more specific with the rendering and, after that, roughs in the background. Trying not to get too caught up in detail, he simplifies the complexity of the trees and terrain into simple, big shapes.

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Stage 2

3. Dark/light patterns: Moving on, Kreutz begins to lay in the shadows and then the lights. The light and shadow pattern is tricky because the model is lit by overcast light. This creates ambiguities about relative lights and darks. Top light is the key—Kreutz stresses planes that are facing upward.

oil demo

Stage 3

4. Tonal development: Kreutz pushes the drama even further by intensifying the light on the near knee. He also brightens the light on the model’s shoulders. He adds a bit more “tonal movement” into the backgroundin other words, more light turning into dark and dark evolving into light.

oil demo

Stage 4

5. Refinements: Back in the studio, Kreutz quiets some of the transitions and resolves more of the details.

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Final piece of Maria (oil on panel, 20×16)

 


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