This is a collection of studies from my last few painting classes with Studio Escalier. They are mostly unfinished but for the purposes of reflection and analysis that’s useful, as it allows me to notice particular sticking points and identify where I am consistently making errors.

Colour poster studies

I found the colour poster study to be an endlessly fascinating and challenging exercise and one which will never outlive its usefulness. Initially it appears simple but in execution, or indeed explanation, it is anything but; discussions of its nature range freely across material selection, paint chemistry, optical physics, emotion, quantum physics and metaphysics.

In class explanation, live demonstration and ocassional intervention by tutors directs the development of experience towards the desired result.

None of the examples below are entirely successful, but I think there are interesting parts to each of them:

I was especially drawn to questions like, how to paint airiness or resonance? As those become a question not only of which pigments to mix but of how to relate:


The studies below are ‘broken down’ into smaller forms. It is significant that as a whole there is less light in these than the smaller, simpler versions above.

Fullness and form

This is a radically different exercise with the focus on fullness. Painting one thing into another in such an ordered way really progressed my paint handling skills.

These examples are rather underlit.


Underpainting is a fairly new technique for me so it was really tricky to gauge the interactions between the layers. Leaving these unfinished, with the layer underneath visible in some areas is a useful reference for future work.

Studied Process

The sequence below shows colour poster studies a rounding study and an underpainting study ofthe same pose.

I found it really valuable making studies of specific aspects of a longer painting or study before beginning. Not only did it give a useful set of visual references in changing lighting conditions but more importantly it gave me the chance to resolve specific problems and identify the best idea or approach to use in various circumstances.


Written by Metadrawer

Metadrawer is me, Helen Frost: Artist/Architect/Fire dancer/Freelancer. Metadrawer is a blog of my reflections on drawing and my current studies at LARA. I draw to think, to explain, to communicate, to record, to understand and to express myself. I hope that you will find more questions here than answers and...
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