Study of Bouguereau’s “Day” (1881)


Study of “Day”, also known as “Hemera”. I chose to do a study of this because I wanted to improve my linework and I think Bouguereau is best for that. I also wanted to practice both the female nude and fabric folds. Further, I already had a poster of this painting which I stuck onto the wall behind my easel.


I tried out a new colour palette that I came up with (though I’m sure people have thought of it before me). I call it a Mars palette, where all colours except white are made from or include iron (Mars being patron god of iron). The colours used were Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, English Red, Prussian Blue, Burnt Umber, and Burnt Sienna. This palette did a decent job for the skin but the colours are not bright or bold enough to adequately depict the red fabric.

This is the largest painting I have ever done, the canvas being 60cm x 50cm. To use larger canvases I would need to buy a new easel. Despite being my largest painting it is 3.3x smaller than the original and the feet are missing because I miscalculated the proportions. I might do a feet study as penitence for the mistake.

Looking back at this I see that I need to tone down the contrast when painting skin.

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