Photo of Kristin Kunc

Painting the Nude

with Kristin Kunc
Painting the Nude
Translate the beauty of the human form into a realistic work of art with approachable oil painting techniques.

Explore the timeless techniques of Classical Realism as you learn to depict the nude figure in oil paint. Tone your canvas for a unifying glow, and find out how to simplify the complexities of the body into manageable planes and shapes. Delve into value, color and dimension with effective exercises in light and shadow, and create a tonal road map for your composition. Watch artist Kristin Kunc work off a live studio model as you join along, painting section by section to fill out the nude figure with beautifully blended skin tones. Create realistic contours and muscles using value shifts, and paint a dynamic, soft-focus background that illuminates your entire composition.

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Lesson plan


Lesson 1. Introduction

  • Meet Kunc and discover what you'll be learning in this class.


Lesson 2. From Drawing to Canvas

  • Learn considerations to make when working from a photo, then transfer an image to your canvas.


Lesson 3. Body Shape Exercise

  • Paint the form and transitional tones of an egg in this practice lesson.


Lesson 4. The Underpainting

  • Create a tonal structure with a raw umber wash using additive and subtractive painting techniques.


Lesson 5. Color Study

  • Examine Kunc's color palette and create a poster study of the model.


Lesson 6. The Value Scale

  • Learn to mix an 11-tone value scale and compare it to a grayscale image of your model.


Lesson 7. Value & Color Part 1

  • Mix paints to create a color value string, then apply the colors to your underpainting.


Lesson 8. Value & Color Part 2

  • Use your color value string to refine transitions between light and shadow.


Lesson 9. Finishing the Background

  • Paint the background and examine the finished painting.

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