Sharp-Focus Realism in Oil: Painting Workshop by Nick Baxter

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Workshop Description:

This class will start with the most basic and fundamental skills used in the observation and
drawing of form, and then will progress through a completed alla-prima still-life painting. This
direct painting technique will serve as an introduction to the more complex process of indirect
painting and glazing techniques, which will be covered in subsequent class sessions. Students will
thus be able to work through a comprehensive still-life painting process in the classical realism
style: from drawing and all prima study, to finished multi-layer painting.

Why this benefits tattooers:

More so than perhaps any other artistic medium, tattooing puts us in pressure situations faced with
a wide variety of artistic requests, requiring from us versatility and the ability to problem-solve
efficiently across multiple artistic disciplines. Personal flair and stylization is highly prized
in the tattoo world, and all such stylization starts with, and evolves from, how things actually
appear in reality. Masters of unique style are in control of which attributes of reality to distort
and why, which requires a solid foundation of classical artistic knowledge and skills that are
often overlooked. Trying to troubleshoot artistic problems or weak spots in our personal skillset
becomes difficult when foundational artistic skills have been overlooked, forgotten, or fallen out
of practice. The skills taught in this workshop provide the structure that enables successful
troubleshooting or identification of struggle areas regardless of preferred artistic style.

Learning Objectives:

  • Achieve accurate rendering of form through careful observation and classical drawing method,
    including geometric shapes, foreshortening and ellipses
  • Recognize light source and subsequent equations of shadow
  • Recognize value of color by executing a tonal study (grisaille) from life
  • Achieve accurate color matching through careful observation and palette organization
  • Mastery of color theory basics and how they apply to oil pigments
  • Understand basic concepts of compositional theory
  • Alla-prima painting (direct technique)
  • Glazing and scumbling (indirect technique)
  • Realism special effects and tricks
  • Understand the paint layering process and strategic layering concepts
  • Understand archival techniques and best uses of painting materials
  • Schedule:

    Sunday July 30th
    Beginning at 10am, we will work for 4 hours, break for an hour, then work another 4 hours. Plan to stick around Monday also when we head out and practice what we’ve learned at a local outdoor spot.


    1-day seminar: $100


    Studio 688
    688 S. Cox
    Memphis, TN 38104

    Required Materials:

  • comfortable standing easel* (sit-down setups not preferred for this particular class)
  • 8 x 10 inch gessoed Masonite panel
  • graphite pencil
  • drawing paper
  • ruler
  • round/filbert/flat brushes of various sizes
  • rag or paper towels
  • palette
  • palette knife
  • oil medium (Natural pigments “oleogel”, or linseed oil)
  • oil colors (please use artist grade pigments only, not value brand or student grade):
  • Titanium white, ultramarine blue, burnt umber, raw umber, cadmium yellow medium,
    yellow ochre, cadmium red light, burnt sienna, alizarin permanent and viridian green. All
    other colors are optional.

    Mineral spirits and some still life items will be provided.

    *Links to suitable standing easels:

    (any kind of cheaper standing easel will technically work, but I’ve found that by far the
    least amount of inconvenience and hassle are Pochade Boxes that mount to camera

    Fireside Tattoo Network - Register Now!

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