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Painting Oudry

"The first purpose of painting is to touch us"
—Abbé Dubos, 1719

Frightened Fox / Oudry  
Head of a Frightened Fox, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, pastel on faded blue paper, perhaps 1740s?
Staatliches Museum Schwerin
I have been studying Oudry's painting and drawing methods both for my own research as a painter and as part of the Artist-At-Work Demonstration series that I have had the opportunity to present at the Getty Museum this summer.

One drawing in particular pulls everyone in—the exquisite, flawless pastel study of a fox head. When I first saw the drawing, I wondered if it was intended as a finished work of art or whether it was a beautifully finished study for a painting. And I wondered what that painting would look like as an oil painting.

The language of drawing and painting are very different. With impasto textures and glazes of color, oil paint can vividly intensify space and the touch of the world in a way that has more form and space than drawing. My completed study, shown here, is 18 by 24 inches on linen with lead grounds and a raw umber imprimatura.

Frightened Fox / Luce

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