Wyatt Painting Stages Video

by Lisa Larrabee

Wyatt was recently selected to be a finalist in the Richeson 75 International 2013 Small Works competition.  Although I have shared photos of the stages with descriptions of the technique used, I love watching one phase merge into the next.  I decided to play around with a little video editing.  I hope you enjoy it!

~ Lisa


Baby Wyatt Portrait in Oil

by Lisa Larrabee

oil  6" x 6"
Richeson 75 International
Small Works finalist

I was looking forward to working on this painting for several reasons.  First, I loved the picture and I was excited to create the painting for his parents. Second, I wanted to play with the process and try out some variations on a technique that is fairly new to me.  I thought I might try be able to use this technique on an upcoming painting on a much larger scale.  It was time to play!


Monochromatic Portrait Paintings

by Lisa Larrabee

I started these monochromatic studies of my boys with the intention of glazing color over them.  This whole process was very foreign to me.  I typically build both contrast and details gradually.  Beginning with strong darks, lights and details was completely the opposite of what I was used to, but it was also instantly rewarding.  So much so, that I didn't want to add color.

Starting on a solid background color, I painted directly with white oil paint.  I began with the lightest area in order to make value comparisons against it. 


Harvest: Portrait Painting Stages

by Lisa Larrabee

artist Lisa Larrabee
20" x 24"  Oil

There are many different ways to begin a painting.  One technique that I particularly enjoy involves "drawing in paint".  When I begin a portrait in this way, there is little to no preliminary drawing.  I begin my sketching of the features in paint.  I avoid creating too much contrast (lightest lights and darkest shadows) because it is much more forgiving when moving the paint around to make corrections.  This push and pull of shapes and shadows actually feels more to me like sculpting the features then drawing them.


Painting Negative Space: Part III

by Lisa Larrabee

The Spaces Between
Oil  24" x 24"
artist Lisa Larrabee

In the third, and final, post of this series I want to share the most  recent of my paintings that is built around negative space.  It is also the largest and most complex.  

I started with a detailed painting of the trees because the subject was so intricate.


Painting Negative Space: Part II

by Lisa Larrabee

16" x 20"
Richeson 75 International
Landscape finalist 

This tree is in my backyard, and I take a lot of satisfaction in watching the light and colors change as sun sets through it at the end of the day. Although the composition is the same as Fiery Pine, I had no intention of painting the same piece twice.  I want to include this process to show a different technique for approaching a painting through the negative spaces.


Painting Negative Space: Part I

by Lisa Larrabee

Fiery Pine
Oil  20" x 24"
artist Lisa Larrabee

In my art classes, I often encourage painting the negative spaces.  As a technique, it is incredibly useful. However, it can take some mental adjustments to be able to define an object, not by painting the object itself, but by painting, in essence, around the object.  I love to do this, and continue to experiment with variations of painting negative spaces.


Remembrance -Painting Stages

by Lisa Larrabee

Have you ever spent countless hours on a painting only to find yourself stuck?  I assume that every artist has been there.  At the stage below, I was at a loss as to how to proceed.  I liked how the light through the trees had greater intensity than on the figure.  I was also happy with how I painted the repeated figure's face in the negative spaces between the branches.  However, it didn't quite feel right, and I could not put my finger on it.  (Looking back, it seems quite clear!)


New Day -Painting Stages

by Lisa Larrabee

New Day  
Oil  9" x 9" 

artist Lisa Larrabee

Richerson 75 International
Figure/Portrait finalist

What is more tedious than painting baby blankets and caps with tiny pinstripes?  Painting the negative space around the pinstripes!  Once I had the idea, I just had to try it.  It presented a big risk, though.  If it came out too stylized and distracted from my babies, I would have to paint over it regardless of how long it took to create.



Welcome to my blog.  This is a new experience for me, but I am excited to share my thoughts, artistic suggestions, and painting process with you.  Those of you who are familiar with my website, Larrabee Art, will have noticed that it just underwent a major transformation.  One change is that I no longer have included a section for stages of my paintings.  That is where this blog comes in.  I will be including painting stages of a selection of pieces, share some of the process (sometimes the struggles), techniques, inspirations, etc.  Who knows exactly where this will go, but I hope that you will join me on this journey.

~ Lisa


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