Life studies and nude paintings may seem the same thing but they are different in form and in the purpose for which they are done. Nude paintings may aim to give off a sensual feeling as with other paintings even if they are not in nude. On the other hand, life studies aim to provide painting exercises to put hints of form with a few strokes, or to bring the body’s structure to a crisp collection of tones. This is a three-thousand-year-old tradition in which countless painters have practiced to be well versed in understanding the human form and transfer their vision into canvass.
Different media can be used; it can be water color or oil painting.
Doing a painting with a human subject, it is common to have a few practice sketches with only a few minutes each pose – this is then followed by longer sessions with one or two different poses.
The recommended steps are as follows:
- Get your supplies together.
- Pose the model. Choose one where the lighting clearly brings out the form. Keep in mind which parts of her body you would like to highlight.
- Work out proportions, use the thumb and pencil technique. This is where you stand ten feet from your model and hold your pencil in your outstretched hand, with your dominant eye line up the pencil at the top of her head. Then move your thumb down the pencil until her chin.
- Study your model; take in the measurement of her body and the proportions.
- Draw in fast lines, either in pencil or charcoal, or with a mixture of umber or sienna.
- Pay attention to the negative space, which is the space around your model. It will help in defining the outlines of the subject. So, it’s recommended to use a dark background. Use umber or sienna wash, and you can also add a touch of blue.
- Fill in the form with a light wash of ochre.
- Burnt umber with a dash of red can be used for those shadow areas.
- Paint highlights with titanium white.
- Blend in the colors, the shadows, and the highlights
- If using water color, leave to dry or blot with a paper towel.
- Repaint shadows with burnt umber mixed with red.
- Touch up highlights with titanium white.
- Leave to dry.
Most life studies and nude paintings are made with only a few varieties of pigments – just umbers, sienna’s, red and white, and their combinations and blends.
From Renaissance to Modern and Contemporary Art
Renaissance was considered to have started in Florence Italy in the 14th century. Scientific discovery, literature, and art were given very much importance in this period. Most nude paintings in this period are depictions of religious figures; Venus of Urbino by Titia and the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Among the famous painters in this period are Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Donatello and Michaelangelo.
Romanticism favored settings in faraway make-believe places. The artists went with their wild imagination and focused on their own personal ideas. Some famous painters from this period are Francis José de Goya and Eugène Delacroix.
When realism became popular, nude paintings were used to make a statement about the human condition. Here the artist is encouraged to be more adventurous and explore outside the confines of the standards set by the romantic artists before. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was one of the famous painters in this period.
In modern and contemporary art, the boundaries are being pushed back by artists aiming to evoke emotions through works displaying strength and intensity. The following artists made their names in modern art using different techniques during this period; Fauves, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, de Kooning, and many more.
The nude paintings in this period became more of a decorative device as what Matisse had done in one of his paintings called Bonheur de Vivre or Joy of Life. De Kooning’s Woman on The Beach, which is oil on paper mounted on canvas, looks nothing like the nude paintings from previous periods. The Bathers by Cezanne seem to blend into the background of rich and deep blue – gone were the perfect symmetry or softness characterized by nude paintings in the renaissance and romantic period.
Art continuously keeps in time with the world and what is happening in it. There was a reason why Romanticism expressed idealism of the painters in an era of industrial revolution. Art now comes in so much form it includes drawings done in laptops and other electronic devices – and as to be expected, nude paintings are made in a myriad of new ways.
If you’re in search of a model to pain nude check out the website Nude Girls Finder as it is #1 for nude girls and nude women. You’ll surely find nude teens to paint here right away! So don’t hesitate, enjoy your art and get to it.