Life paint­ing

Il­lus­tra­tor Anand Rad­hakr­ish­nan re­veals his process of paint­ing a live model in oil and also talks about his colour choices while de­pict­ing skin lit by sun­light

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Paint­ing or draw­ing from life reg­u­larly is an im­por­tant prac­tice be­cause of the many ben­e­fits of hav­ing the model present in front of you, in­stead of be­ing a two-di­men­sional pho­to­graph.

Do­ing so trains the eye to see how the form turns and how light af­fects the colours on the hu­man skin. It also en­cour­ages the artist to work faster and make colour choices on the go, be­cause in most cases the model is avail­able only for a lim­ited amount of time. An­other im­por­tant as­pect of paint­ing from life is that the hu­man eye is ca­pa­ble of see­ing more depth and colour on the live model as op­posed to a cam­era or mon­i­tor.

The term ‘alla prima’ is sim­ply the tech­nique of oil paint­ing where lay­ers of wet paint are ap­plied on wet paint, usu­ally in a short space of time. Oil can be a chal­leng­ing medium to use, es­pe­cially when work­ing fast from life, but it’s also a flex­i­ble medium in the sense that you can layer it end­lessly and sim­ply scrape off parts that you don’t par­tic­u­larly like, be­fore re­paint­ing. It’s one of the few medi­ums that give you large va­ri­ety of tex­tures and colours.

I usu­ally have a friend or ac­quain­tance sit for me in my stu­dio space, where I can use sun­light as my source and pose the model ac­cord­ingly. Anand is a free­lance il­lus­tra­tor who works in Mum­bai, In­dia. He takes his in­spi­ra­tion from masters such as Moe­bius, Alphonse Mucha and Jef­frey Jones.­­drk

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