Portrait Study on Mid Tone Grey

by Lisa Larrabee

This is a class demo that I did on a Richeson Mid Tone Grey Gessoed Hardboard.  I usually tone my panels warmer, but I found it very helpful with the skin tones to begin on a neutral tone.  I will definitely use these panels again.



Process Is Important!

by Lisa Larrabee

This picture shows a piece at the very early stages of my painting process with only one layer of color overall.  It was blocked in very easily for one important reason, I spent more time in the process stage.  
Process is important!  

After the photo-shoot, I began manipulating my images digitally in Photoshop (top left and the enlargement on the right).  This gave me a rough sense of the feel and the composition that I wanted, but it was very cluttered and disconnected.  

I drew a simplified contour drawing to scale.  I took a picture of my drawing and printed several thumbnail sized images to work on.  Using charcoal and a chalk pencil, I was able to group shapes and create a more interesting composition.

Again, I printed my drawing.  This time, I worked 8.5" x 11" to create a more nuanced value study based off of the thumbnails.

I printed my drawing one final time.  Using soft pastel I created a color study that took color information from the Photoshop study, but followed the simplified shapes and values of the charcoal study.

One last thing before painting.  I printed small images that serve as artistic inspiration for this piece.  They are masterful paintings that make me want to become a better artist (top left to right: Jeremy Mann, Michael Dudash, Odilon Redon).

Blocking in the first layer of color flowed easily because I already had a clear image of what I intended.  The next step is work over the entire painting while trying to capture some of the brushwork and color from my inspiration pieces.  It is going to be fun!

~ Lisa

Final Painting
Oil on Panel
18" x 24"
artist Lisa Larrabee


Tucson Open Studio Tour at SUVA


Southwest University of Visual Arts

Saturday, Nov. 8th & Sunday, Nov. 9th, 11 am - 5 pm

Come join me this weekend at the Southwest University of Visual Arts. We are opening our doors Saturday & Sunday from 11am - 5pm as part of the Tucson Open Studio Tour. There will be a wide range of art on display and the opportunity to speak with artists about their work. I have been creating studies (above) for a painting that I am excited to begin on Saturday. Come check out how my painting is developing, and get a sneak peak into other artist's creative processes as well. I will be painting Saturday 11-5 and at the end of the tour Sunday. 
Please come and support the arts.

I hope to see you there!


Gabriella: Sepia & White Pastel on Toned Paper

by Lisa Larrabee

I am really enjoying drawing on toned paper.  I begin with the darker values.  By the time the white is added it really feels like it's coming to life.  So much fun!

- Lisa


Sepia & White Pastel Portrait on Toned Paper

by Lisa Larrabee

I haven't had much experience drawing on toned paper.  However, I always begin my paintings on a toned surface, so this feels like a natural transition.  I chose the sepia pencil as an experiment because I usually work in graphite or charcoal.  I discovered that when I blended the sepia the color felt warmer - like a blush.  It makes sense that, if left more granular, it would appear darker and more brown (even when applied very lightly).  Also, it is very important when working with white pastel to take care not to blend the white with the other media.  The idea is to let the toned paper show through the mid-values.  Mixing the white and sepia creates an additional color.  The most important tip: just draw.  You will learn a lot as you go.  This piece was certainly a learning experience for me.  And, it was fun!

- Lisa


Richeson 75 International Competition: 2nd Place Winner

by Lisa Larrabee

Westward Moon was recently awarded 2nd Place for Oils & Acrylics in the 2014 Richeson 75 International Landscape, Seascape & Architecture competition.

"That beautiful moon looming over the last glow of the evening sun on the trees and soft light on the grasses is stunning. I felt a sense of serenity standing in front of it, dreaming of evenings chasing fireflies. Lisa has a gifted ability to capture the subtleties of nature and atmosphere making it easy for the viewer to enter her paintings with their own memories." 
~ Juror Molly Johnson, the Executive Director and owner of The Academy of Fine Art.

You can view painting stages of Westward Moon HERE.


Drawing General to Specific

by Lisa Larrabee

Starting with a paper toned with graphite, I took some preliminary measurements and then lifted out the highlight shapes with a kneaded eraser.  Several students were quite surprised when they approached and realized how little information was actually there.  It is important to establish light and shadow shape relationships before committing to detail.  It is a very quick way to check for accuracy.