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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > Summer 17 > Painting the figure

Painting the figure

There’s more than one way to paint the figure, as Phil Tyler points out. Here he shows you how to use the measured approach to make an alla-prima painting in oils

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It is true to say that there is no one way to paint the figure. There are infinite possibilities, but there are technical issues to consider. Are you going to attempt to paint the figure in one sitting, or are you going to return to the same model, same pose over a prolonged period of time?

If you are going to paint in a single session (premier coup) you will require some kind of technique. This of course will vary according to the choice of medium used. With the fast-drying nature of acrylic, different painting techniques can be used very quickly and combined, which cannot be replicated in oil paint. Dry brush and scumbling would be one example where you would need to leave an initial layer to dry before working the next layer on top. Watercolour and gouache have a physical dimension that limits the possibilities of what can be done with them, although they are incredibly powerful media in their own right.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our summer issue packed with ideas and tips for painting outside, including Paul Weaver's demonstration showing how to capture the spirit of the seaside in watercolour. Watercolourists will also love Paul Talbot-Greaves' focus on how to use neutral and dark colours to add impact to your paintings, Julie Collins' advice on using ultramarine blue, and our review of the fabulous exhibition of John Singer Sargent's watercolours at Dulwich Picture Gallery. There are inspirational features on mastering perspective, capturing a likeness of a family member in oils, painting the figure alla prima, how to create movement in wildlife paintings in acrylics, and why you should consider the use of digital technology to support your traditional painting methods. Our artists also share their views on the new Winsor & Newton professional canvases and Jaxell's extra fine pastels, while our cover artist, Eileen Cooper OBE, RA talks about her own work, as well as the organisation and decision making behind this year's Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. All this and much more to inspire a summer of successful drawing and painting!