Why Paint Figurative Work?

Wherever I want to improve any aspect of my painting abilities, I always turn to the human figure. The figure is useful in improving skills because mistakes are so easily seen. With a landscape a mistake in drawing can easily be accepted and taken as a natural anomaly built into the land. Here are more reasons I turn to the figure when I want to improve my paintings:

  • Figure drawing teaches you to draw better. As well as mistakes being more obvious in the figure, it also teaches you to relate each part to another. 
  • Figure drawing helps teach you to see relationships between shapes and distances.
  • Figure drawing helps you to see and represent gesture and emotion, which are always important to represent in the landscape.
  • The human body is complex. Learning to draw (or paint) it teaches patience and simplification.
Ballet Blanc 9×12” Charcoal on toned paper

Good drawing forms the ‘bones’ on which a strong painting hangs.
– (Chris Bingle)