Colour Tests for “Torso” Painting

Time for your opinion. I’ve been trying the Flemish painting technique recently, which involves using a greyscale layer to build values, then glazing colour over top. I’m working on this painting with oils.


Over the last month, I’ve collectively already spent about 14 hours on this image. I wanted to get things just right before moving onto colour. I had most of the idea and composition ready before I started, but now I’m at a crossroads and wondering what you think of the following:


Should there be more limbs added to fill out the background? Here’s a quick mock-up of that I did in Photoshop on top of a photo. Is it too busy with more limbs?


Please vote on this poll here!




What colour scheme works? I’m going for a somber mood, and originally I was going to go with warm greens. I think that still works, however purples also seem to look great. I’m worried it might make “cheer up” the painting too much to stick with greens, as the theme in this piece is about the toils of work and how replaceable we are. I specifically chose a male torso in the end, partly because the male body is associated with manual labour.


Please vote on this poll here based on the pics below.



It appears this painting is resonating with many people as well. Why is that? What about it is resonating with you? There’s no shame in saying it’s just because you enjoy the form… Some people have come up with their own sci-fi theories behind these paintings so far, and I find that really fun! If you have any kind of backstory or theory you’ve been tossing about while looking at these, I’d love to hear it.


More work-in-progress pics are available on my Instagram and of course you can stop in for a few minutes to see what I’m doing on Twitch.

2 thoughts on “Colour Tests for “Torso” Painting”

  1. Less limbs. Numbers 1 or 3 for colour scheme… Unless those are the same colours 😐 if that’s the case then obviously that one.
    The reason why I like this one the most: it’s solitary, clinical and sadly apocalyptic. It makes me think of a lab that was abandoned after trying to fit people with something beautiful. If we abandoned all efforts to better the lives of people who need help. I also like how cracked and imperfect the “perfect” body is.
    All of this wrapped in a beautiful encasing.

  2. Thanks for your input Leslie 🙂 It’s a little hard to see the difference between the two but it’s pretty much one has a brown base & the other a gray/blue base – the stone at the bottom.

    I like that thought. When people share their thoughts like this, it lets me know if what I’m thinking is actually translating through the painting, which is super helpful. One of the thoughts I have is just the brutality of trying to alter a body “for the better” but ultimately failing along the way because the process is so trail & error.

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