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Painting a Nude

A few weeks ago, I painted a nude. I do not paint or draw the figure much as pictures of nudes are difficult to sell and can be quite expensive to produce (you have to pay for a model and heat the studio enough to keep the model from turning blue with cold).

Most of us are naked only either when we bathe or go to bed, so to my mind a reasonable and natural composition is limited to these two situations. Below is the Rokeby Venus by Velazquez which I used to find an acceptable composition (mirror, divan and back view)

Velázquez, The Toilet of Venus (‘The Rokeby Venus’), 1647-51 Oil on canvas, 122.5 x 177 cm, National Gallery, London

Velazquez here painted his Venus with very soft edges giving her a particularly feminine look

(La baigneuse, dite Baigneuse Valpinçon, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1808, 146cm x 97 cm, Musee du Louvre)

In his Valpinçon Bather on the right, Ingres paints his model sitting on a divan having had a bath or perhaps about to have one. As with all of Ingres’ work I find his rendering of the flesh tones very fine and delicate. I tried to emulate this effect but feel I still have plenty of work to do to produce as subtle a finish as Ingres’.

Anyway, here is my work below. It took six days of painting and weeks of thought and preparation. Many thanks to my model who was very patient.

Bella, 2016, oil on canvas , 101.5 x 132cm


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