Katie Liddiard

Blocking In A Flower Still Life

Katie Liddiard
Duration:   40  mins

Blocking in is the foundational work of a painting. Join artist Katie Liddiard as she demonstrates how to block in a floral still life in a way that will free you to paint confidently. Katie begins with her still life arranged and envisions the final painting by squinting and looking at color and value relationships and atmosphere in the setup. Working on a toned canvas, Katie’s goal is to capture the overall sense and movement and not aim for an exact reproduction.

She begins with what she calls a “drawing brush” — a Trekell Legion 6100 series filbert, size 6, to build foundational lines, first stepping back to envision placement of her key shapes on the canvas. Dipping into a burgundy color she’s mixed to be both visible but to blend into the background, she begins establishing marks where her major shapes will go. For corrections, she erases with a clean brush dipped in mineral spirits. Katie continually steps back to keep the whole picture in view.

Katie fills in darker values with light washes of paint, creating movement and form. Next, with a palette knife, she begins mixing some of the light values in her flowers. She uses these light values to begin filling areas and pulling her initial washes in, creating dimension. Katie uses a Trekell Legion 6100 series filbert size 14 brush in this stage, of loosely adding information without details and controlling value relationships carefully. You’ll also see how she works across different areas of the painting, not concentrating on a small section. Next, mixing a light gray-green wash — and noting that a small amount of red can “calm down” an acidic green — Katie adds in general indicators of the leaves in her arrangement. With these foundational forms and values in place, the block-in is complete.