Watching Jeremy Lipking paint was a surprise. He spent a considerable amount of time posing the model, looking for pleasing shapes, planes and shadows, not beginning his investment in paint haphazardly. Second he took careful measurements from his easle, making certain the figure fit well onto his canvas. He made some very subtle marks on the canvas Thus, he made no mistakes in draftsmanship and avoided the need to spend time scraping paint and painting over them later. Looking at the figure, he analyzed what was the most important part. Since the face was visible, it was the focal point. He began by painting her head, and developed it to a pretty high degree, painting wet into wet, before he moved on. In fact, being the most complicated portion of his figure, it was all he painted on the first day. He was careful in his color judgments. Again, painting deliberately and with due consideration, he didn’t have to correct anything later. Unlike other painters, he didn’t really draw the entire figure in ahead of time.
The model was lying on her side, facing him, her face slightly averted, bent at the pelvis and the knees, so the significant planes were her face, her neck, her chest, her upper waist, her lower waist, her thighs and knees and lower legs. Her upper arm lay behind her back, tilting her upper torso at an angle backward, and her lower arm was thrust forward, embracing the pillow upon which her head lay.
Jeremy kept in mind his tonal range from darkest to lightesas well as the temperature range of the skin tones and tried to nail the correct tone right from the start, making it darker, rather than lighter, if anything. One can always bring out the highlights later. Again, he finished a section before moving on because the next day it would be harder to blend the colors. He uses a palette of skin tones cooler than most other figure painters. He analyzed the light coming through the high windows behind them, identifying it as cool, even blue. I couldn’t see it myself. I can tell when light is warm, as it is in late afternoon, but I couldn’t really tell, and honestly, I thought her skin tones more creamy and warmer than he initially painted them. The end result of his color blending was gorgeous though. See below.
He said that at home, he paints with a mirror behind him, so that he can see the reflection of the painting backwards. It helps him to see whether there are any non-proportionalities (my word, not his). As it was, he took the canvas, turned it on it’s side or upside down to check his measurements.
The palette Jeremy used was:
A lavender mixture made up of Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson and White
Lemon Yellow (Rembrandt)
Cadmium Yellow, Deep or Medium
Pyro Ruby Red (from Studioproducts.org) or Alizarin Crimson
Transparent Oxide Brown
Burnt Sienna (Windsor Newton, because it is less opaque)
Golden Green (like Sap or Terra Verte, by Old Holland or Windsor Newton)
Medium Gray, made up of Viridian, White, touch of Cad Red and Yellow
His typical medium is 1 part Stand Oil, 1 part Damar Varnish, 5 parts distilled turpentine
He painted on L600 Traditions, linen covered panel (from newtraditionsartpanels.com)