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.