A Reductive Process In Layers

by Lisa Larrabee

One technique that I love to use while drawing or painting is a reductive process.  You begin by using your chosen medium to tone the surface.  You can use graphite, charcoal, soft pastel or oil paint.  This establishes a unifying value to work from.  The reductive aspect is that you remove the medium to reveal the lighter values underneath.  You can erase any of the dry mediums and wipe away the oil paint.  In this demo, I used both Q-tips and clean brushes to remove the pigment.  A little OMS (odorless mineral spirits) can remove the paint back to the surface.

I began toning with transparent earth red oil paint over a panel that already had a light pink layer that was dry.  This is why the lifted values only lift out to a light pink and not the original white panel.  Any added details were painted with the transparent earth red.  One thing that is freeing about this process is that you can wipe away any mistakes and try again.


Facial Features: Mouth Study

 by Lisa Larrabee

When developing portrait drawing skills, it is important to learn to see the facial features as objectively as possible.  It can be difficult to set aside the symbols we have learned, and the associations we make with certain features, in order to observe them accurately.  Drawing from a plaster cast can help you to see the form more objectively, but the symbols can still creep in.  


Experimental Color

by Lisa Larrabee

Pink & Green
color study (detail)
Pastel on toned paper
artist Lisa Larrabee

I recently taught a class for the Art Verve Academy about adding a touch of color to your drawings.  The idea was to make simple controlled changes to see how dramatic the affect was on the image as a whole. It was a lot of fun and and a huge learning experience.


The Freedom of Using an Opaque Medium

by Lisa Larrabee

Why are we so afraid of change? Wow, that’s a big question. Let’s reign it in a bit. Why are we so scared to make changes in our paintings?

Often, the biggest fear is that we won’t like the result. Maybe we are feeling pretty good about a painting and are afraid it won’t be as successful with the change. Sometimes the fear is that we won’t be able to disguise the change and that it will be visible in the final result. Whatever the reason, the fear is more of a mental obstacle than a physical one if you use an opaque medium.