Baby Aubrey -Portrait in Oil

by Lisa Larrabee


Oil  6"x6"
artist Lisa Larrabee

My first baby portraits were of my twin boys (New Day).  The painting was small because I wanted to portray them life-size.  I have since painted other tiny baby portraits and they give me such pleasure to try and capture their precious little faces.  These moments pass by so quickly, it is important to take the opportunity to hold onto them.

This painting of Aubrey was a commissioned baby portrait intended to pair with a previous piece created of her big brother, Wyatt.  I began by following the same process that I used for his painting.

After painting the light values in white on a warm background, I used transparent glazes to adjust the colors.

I went back and forth adding white, glazing colors and building shadows.  At this point, I followed the same process as I had with my painting of Wyatt, but I felt the features looked too harsh.

I chose a different technique to finish her painting.  Using opaque colors, I scumbled lightly over areas (shadows in particular) to soften transitions and adjust color.  Stylistically the painting works with her brother's even though I shifted course.  Having a wide range of techniques is helpful when you need to find a solution to a problem.  

In the end, I achieve what I intended ...a happy mama.

You can view a more in depth description of my painting process with Wyatt HERE


Changing Perspective

by Lisa Larrabee

Bull Skull study I

Bull Skull study II

I frequently take the opportunity to draw alongside my students.  It helps me practice my drawing skills as well as provide an "extended demo" that students can refer to as their drawings progress.  I first allow students to set up around the still-life and then I find a place for myself.  This usually provides me with a contrasting view of the subject.  In this case, I ended up with a very similar perspective.  Because I work on the drawings in each class, they develop simultaneously.  I found that it was very helpful to slightly shift positions.  As I worked on one drawing, I would recognize measurements and relationships that we inaccurate on the other drawing, which I could then fix the following day.  Considering a different perspective (even if only a little different) will give you a better understanding of the subject as a whole.  This is true of both drawing and of life.

~ Lisa


When It All Comes Together

by Lisa Larrabee

to Love

9" x 12"
Oil & Cold Wax on Panel
artist Lisa Larrabee

Over the years I have picked up a variety of techniques that I felt would help me visually manifest the ideas within my Figurative Landscape paintings.  This summer I created paintings where multiple techniques came together in a way that felt fluid and natural.  It has been a very energizing experience.

To Love was my first painting of this series.  I began with a thin cool wash in order to create vibrancy against the warmer layers of color that were to follow.

I mixed oil paint with Gamblin's cold wax medium.  I applied the color with a pallet knife and used a brayer roller to move the paint around and create layers and color harmony.  

Building additional texture with a pallet knife, I also scraped marks down to the original blue base.

I used an oil transfer technique and experimented with applying color deliberately to certain areas of the drawing (instead of one color overall).

Thinning transparent paint with Gamblin's Galkyd, I blocked in the major shadow shapes.

I softened again with my brayer and then painted the highlighted areas directly.

This was the first of several paintings in this series.  Each piece created a different challenge and required a different solution.  I found that my previous experiences with a variety of techniques provided me with the solutions that I needed.  It is an important reminder to always keep learning new skills because you never know when they may all come together.

See more at LarrabeeART.com

~ Lisa


Drawing General to Specific: Graphite vs Charcoal

by Lisa Larrabee

These are stages of a still life drawing that I did in graphite (pencil).  To begin, I lightly toned the entire drawing surface (white paper) with graphite.  Once basic shape relationships were in place I erased out the light shapes.  I built values using subtle hatch marks without blending.

This next drawing is of a similar still life using the other halves of each pair.  
The drawing was developed in charcoal and white chalk pencil on gray paper.

It is often less about what you draw than what you observe and share through the process of drawing.
~ Lisa


Draw What You See General to Specific

by Lisa Larrabee

It is easy to say that you should draw what you see when your goal is to draw with accuracy.  However, it takes practice to truly observe the shapes, values and relationships as they are and not how we perceive them to be.

During classes, I like to set up my easel and draw alongside my students.  This allows me to demonstrate how to build a drawing from start to finish beginning with general shapes, values and relationships.  Also, it's much more fun (and effective) than hovering.

This drawing is one from two semesters ago.  The following stages will show two drawings of a similar still life arrangement from two different perspectives.

The medium is charcoal and a white chalk pencil on mid-toned gray paper.

Draw from life and use a strong light source to create clear shapes.  Keep checking your shapes, values, angles and relationships as you go.  Drawing is a process.  Take your time and enjoy it!

~ Lisa