Garin Baker

Garin Baker: Intuitive Figure Painting


Video Length: 5 Hours
Gift This Course

Here’s a bit of what to expect with Intuitive Figure Painting:

  • Learning to read the light in the moment (and using it to its fullest potential)
  • Gaining intuitive confidence (and learning to trust yourself to create something beautiful)
  • Painting as a poetic and musical form of creation (and being able to rediscover the joy and relaxation of painting that you might have lost along the way)
  • Using your palette as a playground of opportunity (and having the courage to try new approaches, techniques, and ideas)
  • Seeing beyond the literal (and being able to abstract and conceptualize what the majority of people see in a straightforward way) 
  • Understanding value and color scale (and utilizing dark and light to create more realistic paintings).


Garin will lead you beyond the surface, through the tactical skills, and even deeper into the mindset you must have in order to be successful.

Garin shares:

  • Nailing figure proportions so your paintings are the best possible
  • Constructing value transitions through color and value shifts
  • Understanding color harmony — this is what makes your artwork even more realistic!
  • Techniques for blending the figures into the background for more seamless work
  • Find a moment in everyday life that inspires you — that’s what will make people love your paintings!
  • And so much more!


After all is said and done, you’ll have the confidence to make art that truly goes beyond anything you’ve ever created before.

As you let go of your fears, you'll finally be able to express yourself. This will make your work more personal. Your paintings will reveal your growth, pride, personal experiences, and artistic breakthroughs … and isn’t that just what you’re looking for?

If you haven’t yet found your voice as an artist...

If you're ready to go beyond what you've learned in traditional education ...

You can easily be on your way to a whole new approach...

We want you to be confident in your abilities to paint complex figures and this is why we invited Garin Baker into our studio to record Intuitive Figure Painting. Garin is a master at this and we’re sure you’ll benefit from his teaching.

It’s true … your progression as an artist is wholly up to you…

You get to decide how far you want to go…

You get to say when you’ve achieved what you’ve set out to do…

It’s you who gets to “Discover the Moment” as Garin teaches in this video…

We want to help you get there.

It’s our goal to help you become the absolute best artist you WANT to be.


Chapter Breakdown for Intuitive Figure Paintingwith Garin Baker

CHAPTER 1: Preliminary Drawings

Goal for segment: Through a process multiple poses and breaks the correct pose will reveal itself and offer a natural, un posed and candid moment. 

Setup: Various locations with model sketching. Vine charcoal on newsprint


  • Take your time: we start with 3-minutes poses
  • Don’t force the issue
  • Pay close attention to the model during breaks. You might “Stumble into something that’s phenomenal!”
  • Listen to your inner voice and intuitive senses. Go with your gut!
  • Drawing from your model is like having a conversation between the model and the artwork
  • “Build from the inside out, rather than trying to copy … you’re not a camera, you can't copy as well as a camera can. You need to bring empathy, soul, and heart to the work. That’s what you’re going to find when you build from the inside out.”
  • The goal is not a finished drawing, or the drawing at all, the goal is To “feel the beautiful poetic movement of the model. Thru drawing this gesture, capturing this poetry we find great drawing, and drawing is the building block for all great art”
  • Move into 5-minute poses--to give tone and volume to form--capturing the core lines (rather than the outlines) will bring LIFE FORCE into your drawings.
  • The discovery process allows for you to make mistakes, and to correct things--”it’s liberating to fall down and pick yourself up!”
  • Includes helpful tips for holding and using vine charcoal to capture the flow of the figure
  • Move into 10-minute poses--to give light shadow and maybe a bit more accuracy to form 
  • Tips on how to find core shadow and how to describe different types of light on the model, how to use kneaded eraser as drawing tool, use of negative space to describe form


CHAPTER 2: Longer Drawing

Goal for segment: Use a longer pose (20 minute) of one you discovered to practice building out the form

Setup: Charcoal pencil on gray canson paper


  • Start with same idea--capture gesture and pose before getting into details
  • In this pose, Garin concentrates on understanding skull and placement of features, as well as the poetry and grace of the upper body, the arms
  • Longer pose Allows you time to reconstruct the pose so you can capture the core, the essence of why the pose stopped you in your tracks and fascinated you 
  • After using the charcoal pencil, Garin uses white pencil to “read the light” as it hits the hills and valleys, the topography, of the face


CHAPTER 3: Painting Studies

Goal for segment: Paint the model in oil in the studio to further understand her form and spirit


CHAPTER 4: Scouting Locations

Goal for segment: Review what it takes to discover a location for a painting, what to look for, and how to find it and know when it’s right 


CHAPTER 5: Painting the Figure Outdoors: Day 1

Goal for segment: Using what is learned from time spent with the model exploring possibilities thru preliminary drawings and painting studies, we’re now ready to complete a more finished painting, and will do so outdoors, from life

Setup: Canvas and oil paint outdoor easel


  • Capture proportion and placement with an abstract gesture drawing in big shapes with paint
  • Then mass in and allow the painting to appear . Massing in shapes allows the figure to almost “sneak up on you and appear on the canvas,” as you block in neutrals rather than a preliminary outline that is colored in. Sneak up on the realism and have it surprise you!
  • Lose it, find it--NO fear!, scrap down or wipe out and begin again.
  • Subtle temperature and color shifts--
  • establish what is cool and what’s warm.
  • Use of strong diagonals moving the eye across and around and in and out of the picture plane
  • Determining your light source and value keys.
  • Keeping your lights and shadows simple and unified.
  • Mass in with large brushes.
  • Keep you values under control
  • Simplify the details
  • Squint, Squint Squint!
  • Force your perceptions to concentrate on the large value and color relationships
  • Working to capture the “soul behind the eyes”
  • Garin’s use of a FAN BRUSH allows him to put down a more open stroke (versus tight and refined)
  • 5oclock sun spots coming out here and there on the figure amidst the halftones of the shady areas help capture the BAM-quality of this figure painting
  • Painting outdoors is staging a set and anticipating the light
  • Using the light/shadow on ivana and architecture to stage and set the painting for the next day


CHAPTER 6: Painting the Figure Outdoors: Day 2

Goal for segment: Has your initial vision been implemented; moderate critical analysis or courageous action. Bringing the painting closer towards where it wants to go. Concentrate on your focal point. 

Setup: Canvas and oil paint outdoor easel


  • Arrangement of the palette mimics how our eye responds to light
  • Hone the likeness and subtleties of the features
  • Focus on gradations and subtle transitions
  • Discussion throughout on warms/cools and values used--and WHY/how they develop the painting and make it faithful to what Garin is seeing
  • Information on how to use the background to direct your attention to the portrait/figure and how to relate it to the overall painting
  • So much of painting the figure outdoors is the constant interplay between sunlight and shadow--Push and pull things back or forward toward your initial vision and composition.
  • Garin recommends NOT chasing the light, but rather to use observation and memory to stay faithful to what drew you to to that moment of impact
  • Helpful brushwork tips to create a Painterly Impressionistic Feel--Decide where to push the literal and leave the ethereal.
  • Step back, and squint, squint, squint. Make changes.
  • Trust your vision, your intuition, and your gut.

Video Extras

  • High-Speed View (Fan Favorite!)
  • Exhibit of Works
  • Insights from the Artist


Studio Tour — Tour this amazing historical space turned into Garin’s studio,