The simple hoodie, once banned in shopping malls, its street cred derived from the hooded attire of prizefighters is now ubiquitous. Yet these half hidden faces could belong to the figures in a Bosch painting or a sixteen century cloaked Venetian courtesan escaping in the night.
These oil sketches were made alla prima on small canvas boards with a limited palette as studies for a larger painting. The finished painting will use a classical approach with a grisaille base and layered glazes.
I wanted to create several fast studies before I started the painting. Although I don’t always work this way, the advantage is that I can solve most of the problems in advance. Creating the illusion of three dimensions on a two dimensional surface is always an exercise in problem solving – particularly with a subject as complex as the human form. It can be very dispiriting to be halfway through a painting only to find a fundamental flaw that was impossible to see at the outset. Working quickly this way also means that I am not merely copying the subject but trying to understand the form. This makes it much easier to carry the same approach into the finished painting. I made four studies in total. They were made on Gesso primed watercolour paper taped to a board – very inexpensive compared to to the stretched linen canvas that I will work on for the finished piece. I used a limited palette of Light Red, Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White, Burnt Umber and Lemon Yellow.