Painting Planes

Painting Planes

The purpose of this assignment is to encourage you to use efficient planar brushstrokes to define the shape of objects as well as mix colors to describe light and shadow.


  • Use a wide variety of complex colors (3 or more mixed together) to create visual interest and define light and shadow
  • Use brushstrokes to efficiently illustrate the different planes within your subject
  • Use color, value, and planes to create an illusion of space
  • The level of craftsmanship should be high, care should be taken with your composition
  • This work must be completed with only original reference photos

Keep in Mind:

  • Local color is the color of an object in normal light, use this as a jumping off point and see what other interesting colors you can create.
  • Choose an original photograph that has interesting light and shadows. If your lighting is flat it will be harder for you to push light and shadow in your painting
  • Use color to move the viewer’s eye around the piece.  If you have mixed a great color, remember the rule of 3’s. Move that color around your composition in at least three places

Some famous artists that used planar painting in their own work:

Paul Cezanne:



Lucien Freud:



Download the rubric here: PlanarPaintingRubric


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