How did you do that amazing painting?

The more I practise life drawing, the more amazed I am by some of the artwork from more experienced artists around me. Although I’ve grown up surrounded by the paintings of my mum, Mayko, I feel like I’m now starting to truly understand just how brilliant they are. This one has been on our wall for many years, and I’ve always loved it, but only now do I see the colours that it’s comprised of.

She painted on wooden board. She started with an acrylic primer and then drew a pencil outline. During five 3-hour long sessions she painted with oils over the top.

The composition and figure are amazing, but it’s the colours that really take my breath away with this picture. Mayko explained that she had been inspired by her favourite ‘old masters’ like Lautrec and used a dark blue for the lines. The red in the cloth is comprised of a lighter colour as a base with a transparent red over the top to create a ‘glazed’ effect.

She told me about how she saw a variety of colours – blues and reds and all sorts – in the woman’s skin and tried to capture them. She used opaque lighter colours as the basis  of the flesh, like yellow and white, and then worked on controlling the ‘push and pull’ with bolder colours. The ‘push’ are the areas that should come in to the picture and have depth. The ‘pull’ are areas that should come out of the picture towards your eye.

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