Preparing Work For Assessment and The Exhibit

Three Paintings of Rhea on Canvas

When I started Unit 7, I had in mind ideas I wanted to develop to achieve the work for the end of year show. What I have ended up in doing is not actually what I had originally planned. This just shows you can’t plan everything and it is best to just develop ideas as you go along.
My Fine Art tutor Richard along with my other tutors were always very impressed with my paintings of Rhea.


I think the composition of Rhea in the paintings is what is most appealing about them. They are unconventional this is what I wanted to achieve when I did them. It is all about the body and the positioning. So it was not important to see Rhea’s face and I think it makes them more interesting that you actually can’t see her face.

I did have to tidy up the paintings slightly before they were ready for hanging in the studio. Small areas of the background just needed editing as it looked a little bit untidy. The outsides of the canvas which would be seen when hung needed covering too. Initially I wanted to paint them black. I thought this would make the stand out more as the colours on the canvas’ are very light. Both Sally and Richard advised me to paint them white as it is a cleaner more professional finish. Also, because everything is hung on white walls it would also compliment the canvas’ to have a white edge. This made a lot of sense and the white did look more effective.

When I started the paintings of Rhea I had never planned for them to be displayed as part of the end of year show. So when it was decided that they would go in the exhibit I was really pleased.

Three Linear Drawings

When I had completed my paintings of Rhea I started to imagine what I could do to compliment them more.
I had done a lot of painting and was keen to do some sketches and drawing. One of my tutors Steve was able to get me some really good quality paper called ‘Fabriano’
It is really think paper and ideal for what I wanted to achieve.
I had decided to do some linear drawings of Rhea as a contrast to the paintings I had done. I also really wanted to do one of Yvette too as I was disappointed with the sketch of her I had done so wanted to try a different approach.

I was so happy with the work when I had completed the drawings.
I got great, positive feedback from my tutors about them and was so pleased when I was able to include them in my collection of work in the exhibit.


Large Oil Painting of Yvette

When I started my oil painting of Yvette I had planned to do three of her all together. I had pictured it in my head of how I wanted them to look and I was fully prepared to have three large oil paintings complete in time for the end of term. I anticipated each one would take about a week each which would take me up to half term.
I was really disappointed at first when I realised that it just wasn’t going to happen. I think because I was not familiar with oil paint the painting took so much longer. I was quite frustrated at one point because in my mind I had planned to produce more work. So in a way I felt like I wasn’t achieving what I originally thought I could. So to me this was a big disappointment.
When I was in to the second week and still doing my first canvas of Yvette I knew there was not enough time to complete three. This was down to my job outside of college which only allowed me to come in to college three days instead of five and also because of the oil paints which were more challenging than I had thought they would be.
I spoke to Richard about my concerns and he assured me that doing one quality painting is so much better than rushing trying to get more done.
I did feel better after speaking to Richard and accepted that realistically I would only be doing one large oil painting for my FMP work.
In all it took me 9 colleges days to complete the painting.

IMG_1759 I am really pleased with how it looks and feel like I really did put a lot of effort in to it.
My tutors advised me, even though this was a good piece of work, it didn’t quite fit with my three paintings of Rhea and the linear drawings.
I completely agreed and knew exactly where my tutors were coming from. I understood that the exhibit had to look as impactful and impressive as possible.
I was really keen to keep my painting of Yvette in the exhibit because I felt that the work and time which I put in was important and this would show this by it being displayed. I was more than happy for it to be hung away from the other  pieces of my work which was being displayed elsewhere. And I was really relieved and grateful that I was able to keep it in the end of year show.


Problems I met and resolved whilst painting Yvette

Using oil itself can be quite a battle, especially when you are not used to them. So throughout the process I found it a constant challenge as the colors are mixing all the time even when you don’t want them to.


Because the tone of skin was a complete contrast to the color of Yvette’s clothing, it was noticeable when the colors mixed together so I found myself correcting this constantly. It was making a brown-grey sort of colour along the edges of the top where it met the skin,
To get the most accurate an clean effect i made sure that the colors hadn’t mixed when I was finished and just touched it up where it was needed.

IMG_1448  IMG_1621Yvette has her left, blue trainer showing on the photo. Because the photo was just a standard 4×6 size, it was very difficult to see any detail or tone in the image. So I decided to fashion my own shoe instead. I am glad I did because I was able to give it more tone and shape.


From my final outcome to how it would have looked had Richard not given his input, the painting would not have looked any where near as good. The colors of the skin are so much more accurate and professional looking. Yvette looked more like a cartoon before.
The color needed building up more just like when I have worked in acrylic.
IMG_1448IMG_1621 When you compare the photo to the painting you can see how they compare much more accurately. Yvette’s skin tone is more olive looking. Before I had made the improvements it was more red and peachy looking.

I am really happy with how it looks thanks to the advise I was given and followed through with.

Finally, the background was the main issue that really changed the way my painting looked.

IMG_1601 When I look at how the background effects the way the overall image looks, it really makes you think of how you can improve it.
The pink along with the black and the yellow tiles just take over the main focus and drown out Yvette. I panicked thinking that I had ruined the whole painting and was running out of time to correct it. Sally had so much confidence in me and reassured me that I would be able to change I plenty of time and make it so much better.

I decided that I wanted a much more toned down and subtle background. Something similar to that of Rhea’s.

IMG_1192 The background, even though colorful, does take away from the main focal point which is Rhea. I wanted to achieve this with Yvette also.

So I decided that a simple grey tone would compliment Yvette the most and that I would try and fade out the bold tiles.
IMG_1618IMG_1619IMG_1620IMG_1621 I just mixed a light grey using acrylic and washed over the pink and then worked back through with darker grey tones so that it didn’t look like one flat color. I darkened the edges slightly and also put a very light grey over the tiles to create a more subtle color.
I am so pleased with the outcome and that I followed Sally’s advise.

Oil Painting

Oil Painting of Yvette for FMP

I stretched a large canvas which is 24 Inches across by 36.8 Inches. Once I had primed it and it was dry I penciled in a faint outline of Yvette to help me get the correct proportions when I began painting.
I chose an image of Yvette which I found the most interesting. It wasn’t a pose which particularly showed of her muscular physique but which I found would be more interesting to look at and not a classical looking pose.

I found the oil paints took a while to get used to as you have to use turps with them instead of water for acrylic paints which is what I am more adapted to. Considering the outcome I wanted, which was a more visually realistic look to my painting, oil was the best option as they are extremely good for blending as it takes a long time to dry, whereas acrylic dries very quickly and you can not get the same effect. I had planned to get the flesh painted in first. This was because of the contrast in colors with her body and her clothing and hair. I didn’t want to risk the colors mixing as I was working.

  Something which I should have done form the start was to match up the colors I was mixing directly with the photo I was looking at instead a matching it just visually without comparing.
I was really happy with how far I had come considering I had not used oils before. Her face was the part I found the hardest because I wanted it to be accurate and for Yvette to be recognizable in the image. I thought this was very important.
I began putting some colour in the background as I was working.

  The background in the photo was more of a grey-white color and I wanted something a bit more livelier. I started off with a light blue colour but thought straight away that it didn’t look roght. So then started putting a more pinky coloured tone into the background.

Yvette’s hair is black and shines when the light hits it. To give the effect that this was so in my painting I added blue tones which I think worked really well and I was happy with this. Towards the end when I was almost complete I also added white in certain areas to give the hair more tone and the idea of slight movement in it too.

 I wanted to see wha it looked like without any of the black and white tiles, but I was advised by Richard it would look better if ther floor was in so that it grounded Yvette instead  of her looking like a floating image in the middle of the canvas.

I had a talk with Richard about where I was up to and he gave me some useful advice.

He wasn’t too happy with the tones in the painting and I agreed after we had spoke. This is why it would have been important for me to match up the colors correctly as I was working to get a more accurately corresponding tone.
So Richard worked back into my painting to show me how I could improve it.

   I was slightly apprehensive at first as I thought my painting would look more like Richard’s work than my own. But Richard reassured me that once I worked back into it would look like my work. I was grateful for his input as it did improve my work and the outcome.

              I had a vision in my mind of what it would look like when I had finished. the floor which Yvette was standing on was a black and white tiled floor. Richard suggested putting the floor in completely whereas I had only pictured a small area of floor where Yvette was crouching.
However, I did put all the floor in which I found difficult and messy because the black oil painting kept mixing in with the white.

Because there was quite a large area of background to fill I decided to use acrylic as well as oil. This was both to save time and also to conserve the oil paints. However I am glad I did this because both paints actually worked fine together and gave me the look I wanted.

When I had completed my painting and stepped back to look at how it felt visually, I just wasn’t happy. I knew straight away this was because of the background. It took away from my main focus which was Yvette. I found the colors garish and quite immature really. I didn’t like the final outcome at all.
I spoke to Sally about how I felt and she very confidently advised me to redo the background. I am so glad I did.
I decided to go for a grey background and fade out the black and white tiles.

It improved the painting straight away and made you focus on Yvette and not all the different colors that were going on in the background. Also, thanks to Richard’s help and input, the skin tone is was much more improved. Hone I first started the skin tone was too red and peachy, whereas now it matches more accurately and is more realistic.

Painting Yvette

I had planned to complete 3 large scale oil paintings for my FMP of Yvette. I wanted to take the best images from the photos I took and produce the paintings from those images.
Unfortunately I was only able to produce one. I had not used oil paints before and was not very familiar with them. I came across some issues whilst I was painting and it took a lot longer than I  had anticipated.
I spoke to Richard about my concerns as I was really keen to get more oil paintings done. He reassured me that it was all about the quality of the work I was producing and not necasserily about the quantity. Keeping this in mind I focused on the one painting of Yvette to make sure it was a s good a quality as I could possibly make it.
Part of me was a bit disappointed that I only produced one are painting by the end. However, it was all good experience and learning and from that I can take away what I have learned and use this in future work which I may produce.

Drawing Yvette – Problems I met

I wanted this particular piece to work as drawing is what I enjoy the most and feel really comfortable and more confident with above anything else. So when I began making errors it got quite frustrating.
As I got more into the drawing I noticed the paper which I was using really wasn’t suitable. I hadn’t realised cartridge paper was quite delicate, especially with the techniques that I was using.
Because I was doing a lot of shading and rubbing out to get the effect of light it was damaging the paper. After a while the paper just began looking dirty and grey and had a mottled effect from the paper being damaged. I tried to correct my mistakes but this was just damaging the paper even more. Even if I used my rubber to take away something I wasn’t happy with, the area would just go grey form the pencil and it was beyond correcting.

I spoke to Richard and told him about the problems I was experiencing. He said that because I was using my fingers to blend the pencil this would also be contributing to the damage on the paper. This is because of the natural oils that are on our skin and that it was effecting the paper when I used my fingers to blend. I did try and use my blending stick as much as I could instead of my fingers.

The blending stick is such a helpful tool and does give a really soft effect. Especially considering the effect I want which is that realistic look.


This is the final image of my sketch. Honestly, I am disappointed with the outcome of my sketch. This is mainly down to the paper which I used. I feel it just ruined the overall look of my drawing. It was quite frustrating as I really wanted it to look more photo realistic and I think that if I had used better quality paper instead I would have achieved this look.

Also, because Yvette’s top was black, I found it very difficult to give it tone and shape. I feel that when I look at the image, her top just looks flat and takes away any realism in the drawing. I had to look really closely at the photo to see any sort of tone and shadow that would allow me to make the top look more realistic. This is a problem I have found with black in the past.

arnie This is an acrylic painting I did of Arnold Schwarzenegger in units 5-6. In the photo which I used to produce my painting, Arnold’s pants had barely any tone and when I first painted them they looked flat and unrealistic. So I added grey to create more shape and tone because before, the black colour took away from the overall outcome of my painting.
From the paintings I have done already I have found that even a good quality photo which I am reproducing can pose problems. It is sometimes hard to see small details which, when doing a larger scale painting can be tricky to interpret. So using my own initiative and through skills I have learned, it is just sometimes best to render something how you think it should look, especially when needing to make improvement. For example Yvette’s top and Arnie’s shorts.

Tutorials – Steve and Richard

I have had really positive and helpful feedback from both Richard and Steve. Their input and professional opinions have helped me greatly and put me in the right direction when wanting to achieve the outcome I am hoping for in my work.

They have always had really positive feedback on the paintings which I have produced and encouraged me to continue to paint. Although they have also encouraged me to continue with sketching.
Richard has always been impressed with the drawings which I have done in my sketchbook. Even though my drawing of Yvette did turn out as I had planned I will continue to produce some drawings and hopefully use them as part of my Final Major Project.

Steve managed to get me some really good quality paper. It is a lot thicker and more durable than the cartridge paper I used. So whilst I produce my paintings in college time ready for FMP, I will continue to draw at home.

Mike Leonard Sketch


I find that I struggle mostly with rendering faces and hands. Because I wanted to get the detail as perfect as I could I found I was rubbing out a lot on the face of this drawing and starting again.  It eventually began lifting the paper slightly underneath. This causes an issue when trying to blend as the pencil begins gathering in one place where the paper has been damaged. The work begins looking untidy on close inspection and it stops you from getting the fine detail soft and blended.
So I will be cautious when sketching in future and make sure that with the areas I find more difficult I will make sure my sketches are outlined softly so that if I do have to rub out the pencil I don’t have to put on too much pressure and damage the paper.