Art Lesson 43, Part 8
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How to Paint Folds in Fabric in Oils
The dress has a lot of fashion features. There are many ways to deal with outfits that are rich in texture, from freely impressionistic brush experimentation to building the proper sculptural shape of the dress. We have chosen the sculptural approach – in the under-painting we have already accurately built the shape of model’s dress. Even at this stage the preparatory work is looking relatively finished – you can see the whole complex of multiple folds on sleeves; with a well-positioned system of lights and shades.
Now let’s add a fresh pinch of emotion with just a stroke of a brush to show the lightest places on the sleeve. Prepare an appropriate mix of colors such as irreplaceable French Ultramarine added to White to make the slightly blue dress colder in lights. These folds that we are painting now are placed closer to the viewer than others. You should take advantage of perspective and exploit it for creating 3-dimensional effects – fragments of dress that are further from view might be left untouched at the stage in which they are now painted; but folds in the foreground should be worked until more detailed and sharper.
To add vibrancy to the work of art, paint light places selectively; don’t simply fill in all lightened drapery evenly with a similar color.
The darkest drop shadows on the foreground’s folds emphasize the energetic nature of the dress. The shadows are painted on a touch-dry preparatory layer. You could easily spread the paint from thick dabs to very thin with an additional clean soft brush, which you use to spread paint in the right direction until it merges with the base color.