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Transcript Irom a Iorum posted on .

draw-and-paint.com called Flemish and
Italian Renaissance technique discussion
as started on november 27th 2010 by
Please note that the following is a direct transcript from the forum Flemish
Technique. They are pasted here as they appeared on the post. Very few grammar
corrections have been made, only those which help in text comprehension.
I have always been mesmorized by the glow and light in the dutch masters particulaly
and would love to try my hand at painting this waywell
.to get that glow I assume you are talking about the light that looks like its coming Irom
within the painting it`s caused by an optical layering aIect that happens when light
penatrates the SurIace oI the painting then is reIracted and subsaquently bounced in and
out repetidetly through out the layers oI paint this isnt that hard to do in Ilemish tech iI
you understand this layering and how to keep your colors clean
I have some thoughts on how this is acheaved and not every ones going to agree with me
on this but i think its caused by separating each layer with a layer oI linseed oil and a
genarous top coat oI at least three layers oI linseed at the end oI the painting each layer oI
linseed provides a cristal clear layer alowing light to not only penatrate but to be bounced
around inside oI the painting making it look like its glowing Irom within
From what I've read, there is little or no evidence (as shown through chemical analysis oI
old paintings) that the Masters used clear oil layers between painted layers. The "glow"
was possibly created by painting many thin, transparent layers over an opaque neutral
(usually a grey shade) backgound...the "dead layer" which will be talked about
eventually. Light goes through the transparent colors, hits the opaque background and
bounces back to our eyes, so that what we see is basically like looking at an object
through colored glass. But I do believe they had a "secret" which we haven't discovered
.have heard about the 'dead' layer, the monochromic tonal layer the painting is Iirst put
down in isnt it? But I hadnt heard oI either the theory about the layers oI linseed oil (it
would have taken a looooooooong time to dry between layers wouldnt it?) or the opaque
layers oI paint
yes i agree with you the layers oI clear i use are just something i Iigured out on my own
sorry iI i gave the impression that that was a historical Iact its not i was just painting one
day and was at the end oI a painting and i did not have any picture varnish so i used the
linseed mixed with liquen during the summers here whith the ac runing it takes a month
or more Ior linseed to dry so i wanted to accelarate the drying any way long story short i
was impresed with the depth that it created and set out on an odicy to see what i could do
with that dicovery that when i started uesing it inbetwen layers and low and behold it
created this depth and light quality that was vary remanisent or rembrants work but with
out good clean colors dosint mater how many layers you paint it wont glow
this is a repost and oI course im sure some will disogree with this analisis but the point is
to give a starting point and this is based oI the Iew cemical and MRI analassises oI
Northern and well as Italin Paintings that have taken place
Here`s one possible reconstruction oI the painting sequence:
1.Make a detailed drawing on paper and transIer it to a gessoed panel. ReinIorce and
elaborate the drawing with ink or dark paint. Northern European artists usually made very
detailed underdrawings.
2.The initial layer oI paint, called the primuersel, is used to deIine the dark areas oI the
painting. The primuersel color is made by mixing black with earth tones such as red or
yellow ochre; it is thereIore similar to the verdaccio used Ior Ilesh tones in the traditional
Italian egg tempera method (but without a green earth underpainting and not just in Ilesh
tones). This layer was probably oIten done in egg tempera or tempera grassa. Either way,
this layer should be used to deIine Iorm, edges, shadows, and other darks throughout the
3.Now apply the basic colors to each area oI the painting, starting to work up modeling oI
Iorms with opaque colors but avoiding Iine detail. This stage is called 'dead coloring.
As with primuersel, some artists used egg tempera or tempera grassa Ior this layer. Flesh
tones can be begun with mixed tones using appropriate brown or pink mixtures oI white,
vermillion, and earth colors. In light areas, keep the paint as thin as you can; you want the
white oI the gesso to show through. X-ray scans show that lead white was oIten used only
to emphasize the brightest highlights oI Ilesh tones, with a very thin toning oI the gesso
used Ior most light areas oI Ilesh. This approach keeps light areas bright and avoids later
yellowing by minimizing the amount oI oil. In shadow areas, don`t worry so much about
paint thickness, but keep the surIace oI the paint smooth. In areas that will later be
glazed, keep light areas lighter than the intended Iinal eIIect, since glazes will darken
what they cover. When you have taken this stage as Iar as you can, let the paint dry once
4.II you began the painting in egg tempera or tempera grassa, you will switch to pure oil
paint no later than when dead coloring is completed. Use paints ground in linseed oil.
When switching Irom tempera to oil paint, you may choose to apply a very thin layer oI
oil to prevent excessive absorption by the tempera underlayers. From now on, you will let
each layer dry thoroughly beIore Iurther painting. II the layers are thin, this will take up
to several days each time, depending on the pigments you use and whether the paint con-
tains siccatives. It may be helpIul to wet sand in between layers as needed to maintain a
surIace that is thin and smooth.
5.You will now work each area oI the painting toward the intended Iinal Iinish. Where
desired, you can either thin the paint slightly with medium (oil mixed with a varnish or
balsam) or put a very thin layer oI medium onto the surIace and paint onto that. Apply
Iine detail to light areas. Areas oI dark or bright colors, especially those around the main
areas oI interest, can be glazed. So, Ior example, a red robe, aIter a primuersel oI black
mixed with red ochre and then initial opaque modeling with vermillion and white, could
then be glazed with a transparent red lake, using Iingers, a rag, or a soIt brush to make the
glaze very thin over the lights and thicker over the darks. A little ultramarine or indigo
could be glazed in to neutralize and reinIorce the darker shadows. Multiple glazes can be
applied (allow the paint to dry and wet sand in between layers) until a clear sense oI
three-dimensional depth has been achieved, generally with inky darks, intense midtones,
and bright lights. This process can be very time consuming, especially iI you are not
using siccatives, but it produces a striking eIIect that is immediately noticeable when
comparing Flemish oil paintings to other work oI the period.
6.The Iinal stages would be used primarily Ior detail work and to apply thin scumbles oI
opaque color mixed with white where needed over lighter areas oI glazed color. Again,
sand between coats. It is possible that some Iine details were applied with egg tempera,
worked into wet oil paint. This development oI detail would continue until a very high
degree oI Iinish was obtained.
.this guy leaves the gray layer or the Dead layer out conpleatly but thats ok we can do it
any way thers no hard and Iast rules on how you go about doing this so iI you want to do
the gray layer do it iI not drive right in to the colors its your alls call
.egg tempra is egg yoke with pigments added to it it was what the uesd beIor they had
oil paints i dont ues it and most modurn artist dont but there are a Iew out there you dont
have to Ialow that step
.you alwas paint Iat oIer lean in oils so the amout oI medeam you will ues increses with
each layer so that by the time you get to the color layer it sould be vary thin and inky
consisinces so how much you start with is your chouse
.i think the wet sanding is a vary anal retentive step ad you can Iorget that just try to
paint smothly iI you can no globs oI paint untill you get to the last layers then you can do
what is caled Inposto were the white Iinal tuches are mad thikly to add a dimetion but
Iorget the sanding unless you just have to do it and its invalvs the ues oI wet sanding
paper you get Irom a hard ware store you dip it in water and sand the serIace slitly to get
rid oI the high spots and i do mean just a Iew pases you dont want to sand threw the
layers oI paint just knock them back a bit
.siccatives are drying agents like Liquen ther are many just ues Liquen its modern and
saIe Ior oils its mad by winser and newton
.scumbaling is when you take a Iilbert or round brush and ues it on its side back and
Iorth in a scumbaling mostion that side to side not pushing and puling dose that make
o i Iorgot balsam is a type oI wax that comes Iorm balsam plants the commin name Ior
this plant is Stocks they are vary pretty Ilowers i grow them in the garden Ior there sent
vary powerIully sented iI you want to ues waxes in your paints go to your local quality
art store and ask them they will know what you can get by the way your art matiral dealer
can help you alot with the right stuII they have most stuII or can recomend were to get it i
dont start oII with on line ordering your not exspireanced enough to get the right stuII on
your own unless you get help and i havint Iound the on line stuII any cheeper ones you
pay shiping and the help you get at your local art store is worth the 10 or 20cents you are
going to pay to get the stuII in the Iirst place dont you all think
the picture you start with is up to you and your skill as well as tanasity at tacaling projects
i my selI some times Iind pictures i think i my not have the skill to paint but i oIten save
thouse Ior later i never discard an insparation and i dont recomend you do ether so as Ior
subjects paint somthing you are totaly in love with thats importent i think becaus you will
be working with this painting Ior an exstended amount oI time perticulerly on your Iirst
as you may Ieel like you are stugaling a bit and iI your not totaly in love with it you mite
be tempted to give up but dont let my warning scair you ones you really understand the
basicks oI this technique its aculy easer to paint then a convetional singal layer painting
as iv said beIor each layer builds on the last so that byt the time you get to colors the
pating is almost conpleat coloring is the last step more or less and its the lest importent
Irom my point oI vew as the value studdy you did in gray will be Iirst and Iormost in
your mind and will practicly tell you what to do nexst its an amzing way to paint its so
easy but it looks so hard and the results are so stuning that one thinks this pating must
have takes a year to paint when it dint my Iirst one Old Town Quebec took 5 months but
it was my Iirst and city scapes are diIacult becaus oI the presion painting technique that is
requerd your Iist may not take that long alsow i paint in vary larg scale that perticuler
painting was 30" x 40" thats pretty big Ior a Ilemish painting most oI the masters did vary
smale works but matireals were scars and hard to come by or vary costly in conparison
so just pick somthing really good and love it and nerture it and make it your own no
mater how it turns out thers somthing vary special about your Iirst Ilemish Painting and
you are probly going to want to keep it Ior your selI so again make it a good one
This is the way to go! And with a Iew new and modern materials, (Liquin and acrylic
gesso) we can speed up the process. I agree with Mad, there are things we just don't
know, especially with some oI the mediums. I think the oil paint (the grinding oI bugs etc
with an oil) were well documented in creating the colors. Most artist's oI the era leIt some
journals that explained their process. But I also think there was a mentality to protect
your money maker, and that, I believe, was in the mediums used. either mixed with the
paint, and in between layers. I have seen works that had lines oI white paint so thin,
thinner than a human hair, having been applied to the canvas on a dark background, and
the paint simply glowed! It appeared to have the actual texture oI the weave oI Iabric it
was depicting, or the Iine silk oI a carpet across the table top. I have yet to this day seen
these things duplicated by modern artists. anywhere.
thanks Ior that trick technique Mad Cap.! its really intresting you bring that up as i was
thinking oI uesing somthing like that in the tool oI my Ballarinas toto out on the ends
were thers just a singal layer oI Iabrick aganest that dark back ground i was going to do
tinny imposto lines to represent the net like quality oI the tool Iabric now i know thats
what i sould do then wipe some oI the back ground color in to it to make its net like
qualitys show up better
.I might mention that I Iound a tool at a hardware store that is a metal blade - 24 inches
wide - perIectly smooth that I plan on trying out. My canvases that I just ordered are linen
- 18"x24" - and my thinking is to quickly apply the gesso and modeling paste (50/50),
and then with one swipe take oII the excess Ior a totally smooth and Ilat canvas. This
should eliminate the need to sand oII ridges created by applying the mixture with small
tools. I will let you know iI this is successIul
. thats a great idea just make sure your canvas is drum tight beIor you start im sure the
others will back me up on this i have noted that when you put the geso on the canvas can
some times sagg a bit when its wet so its not perIictly smoth when you put the blade oI
your tool across edg to edg you can see it dips down in the center this subject oI gesoing
is in my opinon a conplexs one it looks all easy but it deIantly takes practis to get a
perIict cerIace this is one oI those time its really good to obsess a bit on perIection as it
only makes painting better in the long run personly iv given up on acrilic geso i resintly
read a actical that stated they think its only stabal Ior about 40 years then it starts to crack
so iv gon to uesing hide glue and gipsum you can get both oI thouse at Home depo make
sure your gipsum is pure and dose not have any polimer addativs they like to add that Ior
Ielxsability maybe it wont hurt but its better iI your going to go to all tha trubal that you
get pure stuII alsow the hide glue mixster is way easer to smoth as it dosint dry at the
speed oI light like acrilics do hope that helps i resintly Iound a preprpard canvas that is
ultra smooth and its Iairly cheep the brand name is MASTERPIECE and the line is
CEZANNE how ever they are cotton they are intierly hand built and streched vary tight
amzing heres ther link masterpiecearts.com
1) Is it important that the drawing i put on the canvas has to be Iine detailed with all
the lights and the darks? Can I do that as I move ahead with the diIIerent layers?
I am asking this because I just make a rough sketch on the canvas not a Iiine
detailed. The detailing happens with the paint as i proceed with the painting.
2) I am starting oI with a ver small size A4.
3) In case i can start with the rough sketch, does that also has to be marked by ink
. I would like to get cleared up on this. I spent a lot oI time on Delmus's site in the Iree
reading, and I never could exactly understand about the transIer AND THEN THE INK. I
saw a pic showing the ink (?) but he did not really discuss it. So my question is
this..........(I have graphite paper (dark and white))........aIter I transIer my DETAILED
drawing to the canvas, then do I TRACE THE DRAWING WITH THE INK? /// (2) Has
anyone ever just used the projector (I bought one) to shine right on the prepared canvas
and did the drawing with graphite pencil right on the canvas? Can I create problems
trying to do this? Is there something better to use than a graphite pencil on the canas?(3)
the point is to just get your drawing on the canvas any way you want to i do all sorts oI
methouds Ior exsample the work im doing now is 46" by 46" thats vary larg the chanses
oI geting out oI perspective is much grater so i drew my work out on a vary smale 6" by
6" pice oI paper then i uesd a projector to put it on to the canvas iv alsow ues graIite
transerIer paper and the grid methoud so its not that inportent and then you trace over it
with the ink then take an eraser i ues the kind Ior erasing charcoal pencel as they remove
graIite vary cleanly thnd dont levea any oils thats the erasers that are black you get them
at any art store i dont like to ues Kneded as they leave oils behind
you can do any leveal oI detail you want to the masters did vary detaild work and i really
think thats best as the point is to know exsactly were you are going but alsow the larger
your work the more inportent i think it is but a basick drawing is ok too thers vary Iew
rules that you must Ialow we are trying to present a genral gide lighe thers lots oI room
Ior deveation and exsparamintation iI it dosint work out you wont do that again right
Another advantage oI inking over your tracing, whether its carbon paper pencil, etc. when
you apply the 1st layer oI paint (the primuersel, which used pigment with a mixture oI
linseed oil and turpentine. You guys will learn that later) the ink remains while all the
other crud "disappears". You are leIt with basically a clean canvas with a clear outline to
begin painting. NO ERASING,
,,, I suppose this technique might work on certain textures oI hair. For example, I
wouldn't try it on my young blond girl since her straight, rather thin hair doesnt really
allow or need much depth. That can/was achieved by a Iew thin dark glazes and
highlighting. Now iI I was doing a portrait oI Jimi Hendrix during his early bad hair
period, I think this would be great!
the drawing can indeed be as detailed as you like. II using the projector, skip the pencil
and go directly to ink iI you can. Until I Iound a Ielt tip that had permenant india ink
watersoluable, I used the pencil Ior Iear oI knocking over the ink well in the dark. I did
this once, and they don't call it permanent ink Ior nothing! I looked like I had a really bad
abstract tattoo on my leg Ior weeks!
Shadows can be traced or drawn at their most prominent transition point. a place where
you Ieel comIortable to remember once painting begins. I then hatch mark a Iew lines
within the shadowed area to remind me this is a shadow or darker area. The ink drawing
can be a very complete image suitable Ior Iraming, and like any great painting, it will
begin here as a strong underlying structure to be Iollowed with each layer. Even in parts
oI your Iinal layers, you will be able to see some oI your underlying drawing.
hat link is dead heres the Iinished umber layer link
i think we all coverd it pretty well but i wanted to aIerm what Delmus said about the
drawing Iaze and i have coverd this in some oI my painting blogs too you cant make a
great painting Irom a bad drawing i was mostly reIering to perspective in the Iirst case
but i think what Delmus said is true a really good drawing is the Ioundation oI any great
painting and no mater how great you are its vary easy to Iorget things as you go along the
drwing has a two Iould perps not only is it a pointer taking you in the reight direction but
it helps Iamiluerise you with the subject mater in a vary intamit way iv Iound that as i
draw perticulerly complicated detaild works that my understanding oI the subject mater
grows exsponetaly it seems so i dont want to harp on the drawing thing as it were but i do
recomend that you stope take a big look at your subject mater and give it the attsion it
deservs i think it comes down to what is your leveal oI comitment are you going to do it
right Irom the vary Iist thought Iowerd or are you just in a hery to get your pating
Iinished no mater what the out come i think a comitment to Ialowing the steps in as
detaild and exsacting way as you can will lead the advrige persone to new leveals oI selI
exspretion and ya Greatness! ok thats me the states man radaling on like i aculy know
what im talking about but im vary pasionat about geting thengs oII to a great start its how
iv advansed so quicky in just a year aIter all beIor Ieb oI 2010 i had never painted an oil
in my entier liIe and im not braging i know thers problims in all my patings more or less
but i think there pretty good considering all this so take it Irom me do a Good drawing
I bought your Eboook and Iollowed the instructions to a T and turned out a Iew good
practice rounds. One problem I now have with a portrait oI my daughter I made using this
technique is that 2 oI my ink lines still show in parts oI the Iace that should be Iinished.
Any suggestions on how to make them go away. I would post a picture but since I like to
photograph my paintings outside and today it's been raining all day well.... maybe
. II the line is in an area that needs to be covered at this point, you may have to back
track just a bit. For me, the dead layer takes care oI most any line that is visible within a
well lite area, as apposed to a dark shadow area. The opacity oI titanium white in my gray
mixture gives me good coverage. I've tried other whites, and each has there strengths and
weakness's, but the titanium will cover anything underneath it. HopeIully you are not at
the color layers, but iI you are, adding the white, then coming back in with the color
could be a solution.
Any other Iolks have ideas? This is always a tough problem in going back to redo a
I would like to know iI I am using a primed masonite and it is very smooth, does that
eliminate using modeling paste and gesso.
I really dont understand about masonite. LIKE, I go to the lumber company and say I
want "MASONITE". Is there diIIerent kinds - primed or not primed??? How many coats
oI gesso do I need to apply beIore I can make this an ACCEPTABLE painting surIace? I
just ordered (regualr price) $175 Ior 3 18x24 inch linen canvas-gallery wrapped. I got
them on sale Ior much less but still pricy! Would masonite be AS ACCEPTABLE as
linen? II so, and it is much cheaper I will be interested. Ro
Masonite is a hardboard that has many uses. At lumber supply houses or places like
Home Depot you can buy 1/8 th or 1/4 by 8 Ioot pieces. They will cut it in whatever sizes
you wish. Then you use like Gesso to prime it. Usually about 3 coats. However you can
purchase already primed Masonite boards at an art supply. I do both. AIter painting they
are easily Iramed.
no no modaling past thats just to Iill the texstur oI the weav oI canvas sins you at home
depo getting your masonite you could pick up some hide gue and gypsom and make real
geso which is Iar supier to acrilic geso and last Ior 4 to 5 hundrad years and is easer to
work with and sand smoth iI your uesing that you only need to prim with strate hide glue
Hi everyone, I have a book, The Artist's Handbook oI Materials and Techniques, 1982
Edition by Ralph Mayer (big and thick). It mentioned (page 159) under Repellent
SurIaces: ...to rub gently between coats to apply a tooth using a mild abrasive (Iinely
powdered pumice, bread, a rubber eraser, or Artgum:---care to not remove more paint
than intended. /// Then it mentioned -- Freshly dried surIaces that have become SOILED
BY HANDLING are best cleaned with balls oI SOFT BREAD. /// NOW THE
QUESTION - Have you noticed any issues with the paintings getting "dirty" Irom just
being touched with your hands when painting so as to cause a problem Irom the oils on
your hands keeping the paint Irom sticking? When I draw with graphite I wear thin
plastic gloves with the Iingers cut out so the palm-side oI my hand can not touch the
paper. Is this something to be concerned about?
. Personally, I dont see how an oil painting could become "soiled by handling". Dusty,
deIinitly, but dirty? Not unless its dropped in a mud puddle on the way to the museum.
BeIore I apply my Iinal varnish, I give it a wipe with glass cleaner. That takes oII any
dust beIore the varnishing process. In any case, as you will learn here, between each paint
coat (when they are dry) you will oil your canvas, which will clean oII any oily Iinger
goop that might be on the canvas. II you can resist touching your painting between coats
because it looks so damn realistic, and you work and set it in a dust Iree as much as
possible place to let it dry (I use a clothes closet which is great 'cause I always have my
own seat on the tram), than dont worry about the dirt too much. Hope that helped.
good advice Alan iI you are uesint a raw onion on your canvas beIor you oil it out that
takes any dirt or oils that mite have inadvertinly acumulated on the cerIace away it also
soIens the paint alowing the new paint to stick this is perticulerly inportent over Titaneam
white as its vary slick and shinny and reasist linseed oil i Iound that out on my
Commuion painting as the white up in the corner would not take any linseed no mater
how many times i brushed it on the onion trick really works and its cheep and vary
inviormentaly saIe
Umber layer
Gray layer
Color layer
Detail layer
and iI you are doing the clear glazing methoud mabe you could show what a layer looks
like both ways glazed and unglazed any takers?
Here is a list oI your steps Paul.
I want to add my understanding oI this process.
Prepair smooth canvas
Underdrawing - black ink
toning - very thin umber layer (let dry, wet sand, onion, oil out)
Umber layer (let dry, wet sand, onion, oil out)
Deepen colors in umber layers iI necessary (let dry, wet sand, onion, oil out)
Gray layer (let dry, wet sand, onion, oil out)
Color layer (let dry, wet sand, onion, oil out)
Detail layer (let dry, wet sand, onion, oil out)
THEN aIter weeks to months oI drying iI you still have it in your posession - varnish it.
you dont have to wet sand iI you dont want to its totaly up to you i dont do it becaus i
dont mind some texsture to my work i kind oI like it and deIantly no wetsanding on the
detail layer that kinda deIeats the perpos as the detail is ment to have texsture to it
whats to rip in to it looks great Ior an umber layer then never have the depth oI a color
layer any way its looking vary goo thoe want to see the philosIer hes the one that
exsitsites me! ok going to post pictures oI Pensive Beaty
I wonder iI I could use an Ultra Fine Sharpie to trace the drawing instead oI ink.
i ues an untra Iine pen that contains water prooI inck you can get them at the art store
Arno, I have the Ultra Fine Sharpie perm. marker also. II you try it beIore I do, let me
know how it worked. // My 3 18"x24" gallery wrapped linen canvas came today (Iinally).
The weave oI the canvas is really small. It should not take much to smooth it out. Still
waiting Ior the gesso and modeling paste though. // Thanks Paul. I will try the process
without the wet sanding at Iirst.
.you said you did NOT wet sand, so I am wondering iI you do the razor blade scraping
that Delmus suggest? I don't have a grinder to round oII the edges oI a razor blade. //
.II you cant grind the ends oII oI your razor blades, dont use 'em. Its too easy to rip
through the canvas...thats experience speaking! Sanding is just as good and less
dangerous Ior your board, just a bit slower maybe. Did you see my post about painting
"The Girl with the Pearl"? I think that was meant Ior you. Good luck!
. painting shouldn't be a struggle, it should be Iun, or a therapy, or a tension release.
And this process is really not so diIIicult. Find yourselI a subject and give it a go. You'll
always Iind help here.
.. Did you gesso your canvas Iirst? Seems a bit rough. II you look very closely at works
Irom the Renaissance period, you will see the canvases, and the wooden planks that were
used beIore canvas, were VERY smooth. Since alot oI glazing was used during that time,
the painting suIaces had to be smooth in order to get the "glass" eIIect. Your next step
will be the umber layer. Your medium should be linseed oil, terp, and Damar varnish (it
protects the painted surIace), 50:25:25
.Seeing your post has brought some questions to my mind since your umber layer is
"solid-one color". On page 1 oI this discussion (11/27/10) Paul (Damaclese) posted a
overview Irom some other artist. In that, #2 states that the umber layer was to "deIine
dark areas in the painting". Again, I looked at Paul's dancer's umber layer.......
http://community.how-to-draw-and-paint.com/photo/pensive-beauty-wip.... It would
appear that the lightest lights oI the painting were still leIt and that you could already start
to see Iorm by lights and darks. QUESTION: Is it best, even on the Iirst layer, to leave
lights - because - you can not get them back, and the glazes can reIlect oII oI the light
areas oI the canvas through the paint?
.umber layer you can paint it as realistic as you would like some oI the modern
patingers do a photo perIict umber layer i just try to represent the highst mid tone and
lowest values the perpes oI the umber is as a cemical stabalizer you see umber never
changes colore not over 100's oI years as its the product oI burning earths in a kiln so its
cemicly inert the other reson we ues it is becaus its been Iierd it's poris and absorbs
mosture out oI the top coats oI painting making them dry at an excelarated pace Delmus
thoe i dont want to speek Ior him dose a Iarly rudamentory umber layer he just hits the
darkest darks mainly and Alan dose like me he hits the three diIing leveals oI value its
more to set up up to start thinking about what the value ranges are going to be in other
words how darks is your darkest light and how light is your highest value do you
umnderstand now personly i wouldint swet the umber it sould be quick and done with
Iast i dont think i ever spent more then one painting sesion on an umber layer were you
need to do the vary best you can is in the gray layer thats going to be the sutaltys oI your
painting the road mape Ior your colors and value
. Thin layers oI oil (linseed) do dry Iast, especially iI you have added a bit oI Liquin
(speeds up drying) and turpentine. Its quite possible that your imprimatura is dry, but iI
you have ANY doubts, wait another day. BeIore you begin your next layer, you should
oil your canvas...smear linseed oil on your canvas with your Iingers so its covered in a
thin coating, wait a minute or two, than wipe it oII. I use Iirst gauze (doesnt leave
Iibers)to get most oI the oil oII, than tissue to Iinish it. You should have a very thin layer,
actually just a shine, oI oil on your canvas. You should do this between each layer, plus
wet sanding or scraping to get rid oI any "aliens" that have landed in the wet paint. II
your paint isn't completely dry, you'll end up with paint on your Iingers and thats BAD. I
know its tough to be patient sometimes, but better to stay away Irom the brushes a little
longer than mess up a nice painting. Why not start another one so you always have
something to work on? Good Luck!
. You should indeed let the imprimatura represent the lightest part oI your painting,
than work darker Irom that. Thats one oI the ways you get depth to your painting. Just
make sure your imprimatura is light...just a shade darker than your gesso (you can mix in
a touch oI acrylic umber to break the pure white).
....Do I sand with any Iine tooth sand paper (iI needed) or need it be the wet sand paper
600 grit? (I dont have that yet). What kind oI sandpaper are you using (the # oI the grit)?
.you sould ues 400 grit not any thing Iiner you be sanding your liIe away with 600 or
even 900 yes they make it Ior automotiv aplacations i think they even make up to 1400 i
know iv seen 1200 some where in my liIe time
.you just want to get the bumps oII a Iew pases untill thers no gloss leIt on the canvas
any more and your just sanding away good matireal even iI you Ieel a Iew soIt bumps
thats ok as they will go when you do the nexst coat so its coat and sand coat and sand
coat and sand the last layer sould besanded beIor you do your drawing and aply the
toning color o i almost Iorgot yes it needs to be wet sanding paper its every were so dont
worry its not uncomen all guys can tell you were to get it iI your local hard ware dosint
have it but iI they dont you sould Iind a new store LOL
Ok lets try this. I've completed the grey layer (doodwerI dead paint as we say in
Flemish) and I'm started to add layers oI opaque color. These wont be terribly detailed,
they are only a "springboard" Ior the transparent glazes that will Iollow later. By
springboard, I mean that light will pass through the transparent glazes and bounce back to
our eyes Irom the opaque background. lue over it, For example, iI I paint an opaque red
background (vermillion, say) and paint transparent layers oI acquamarine blue over it, I
should get a really pretty glass-like purple. Most shadows and dark colors are generally
glazes in Renaissance art, bright colors are generally opaque lights (these bounce the light
directly back to our eyes). So iI everything works out right, I should get a window that
looks like glass, a curtain that has Iolds that look like Iolds, and all sorts oI neat things.
Mad Cap. I understand what you are saying......now.........I have to think and see iI I can
apply the color changes to what I really want the color to be in my painting. You said
paint red curtains and blue glazes to produce purple. /// I am very happy to report that
aIter 2-3 weeks oI stressing on what to paint, I have spent the last 2 days photographing
diIIerent compositions and Iinally have a "winner" that I have selected to paint. /// I am
nearing completion oI the WORK it takes to prep the canvas (lol).
sotto l'illustrazione
tonalita dello strato la tonalita/stemmende laag/toneing layer
now Ior my Iirst clear glaze and this is not part oI the tradtional Flemish technicqu but i
have discoverd that adding a clear glaze betwen all layers ads an incredibal amount oI
depth but i can't garintly the longevity oI the pating i simply do not know how this aIects
it over all liIe span and i cover my but on this by saying that Ilemish technique is not a
hard sience we dont know 100 Ior sure what every artist did at that time the tech we are
presenting was somthing that has been hypothisesd Ior quite some time thers is evadence
to suport most oI it but many artist did things that were there perticuler trad secret so im
including the Clear Glazing as one oI my trad secrets that iv chosen to share with you all
"By springboard, I mean that light will pass through the transparent glazes and bounce
back to our eyes Irom the opaque background. lue over it, For example, iI I paint an
opaque red background (vermillion, say) and paint transparent layers oI acquamarine blue
over it, I should get a really pretty glass-like purple. Most shadows and dark colors are
generally glazes in Renaissance art, bright colors are generally opaque lights (these
bounce the light directly back to our eyes). So iI everything works out right, I should get
a window that looks like glass, a curtain that has Iolds that look like Iolds, and all sorts oI
neat things."
For those Iollowing, there are "pearls" within the discussion. This was one oI them in my
view! Cut and paste these into your Iavorite document program, print them out, and hang
them in your studio somewhere near your easel Ior Iuture reIerence!
. what is your "clear glaze" made oI? I'm enjoying the progression oI your portrait! can't
wait to see the colors oI the tat!
.the clear glaze is mad oI 30 Liquen and 60 linssed thats the exstra light kind that
has ben bleached by exsposure to lquen nothing more nothing less iI you do two coats
betwen each layer its F*&`ing intens the depth you get but as i said thats a lot oI layers
on a canvas i dont think it will Iail i talked to my paint cemist guroo and he thought it
sould be Iine as linseed is a good sturctural reinIorser and dose sill out air i thought it
mite slow the drying to maybe 100 years rather then the normal 60 to 80 years but he said
that was a gues at best
To all who may need an editing photo program.. Search the internet Ior "GIMP" without
the quotes. It is Iree and almost the same as the expensive Photoshop program.
.........was it you that was thinking oI using a Sharpie pen along with me? I got this note
Irom a Iriend who is a proIessional artist about the Sharpie pens.............(((((.....I saw that
you were asking about the sharpie pen. I understand that aIter years the ink will bleed
through the paint. Not a good idea I think to use it. I've actually used it to sign my
paintings, but since it's on the surIace I don't care iI it bleeds through to the back, but it
would ruin your painting using it beIore you paint eventually.......))))). SO......guess we
better go with the better artist quality ink.
.I've given a link to a painting in which I did try the sharpie thing. It did not turn out
well! When you look at this Iirst image, you will see the ink marks bleeding through the
umber underlayer. It wasn't until I washed and scrubbed the painting with turps to pull
oIIending substance out. I then went back with a coat oI liquin to seal it. You can see the
bleeding does not come through the dead layer, however, in 50 years, the customer may
be bringing this one back Ior a redo! only time will tell, don't make my mistake. There
are Ielt tip pens that utilize the recommended waterprooI indian (sometimes spelled
"india") ink that is just like that which comes in the little ink wells.
.i had an art teacher in high school ues a sharpy under a acrilic and it bled threw beIor
she even Iinshed the parinting bad sutII im sorta that one that starte this pen stuII i think
sevral pages ago i do youes a pen but its Iilled with water prooI ink Prismacolor makes a
viriaty oI pen sizes with this inck and so Iare its vary stabeal iv not had any migrations
even when its ben wiped with turps
.i was wrong i said prismacolor but i ment Fibercastel PITT ink pen thats the one that is
water prooI pluss i ues the Iinest point its only .5 mil wide even iI it came threw it
wouldint be vary notisebal and some times i let a Iew oI the lins stay in strategic spots to
help reinIorce the compostions any way
.this is the drawing stage oI a portrait oI my grandson, the brother oI Sweet Pea. I want
to get portraits oI my 3 grandchildren done Ior my daughter Ior Christmas. I'm going to
use the Ilemish technique Ior this one, though I'm doing it on Iine oil pastel canvas as I
dont have time to prep all the canvases. So it will be interesting to see how they look on
this canvas.
I will start my painting on my prepared canvas as soon as I've Iinished these. I still have
the minitures oI 'pears' and 'rose' on prepared canvases that I'm working on as they
become ready Ior the next stage. So by the time I get around to the prepared canvas
painting I will have, hopeIully, ironed out my mistakes! :)
This is the photo oI 'Jack' that I'm working Irom.
no issues later on so I was releaved and happy. // I do have a question about
MICHELLE's DRAWING in INK. The child's hair is blond, but she drew in very detailed
black lines in that area. Is that going to cover up in the gray layer so she ends up with a
blond haired kid? Should she "tone it down" by putting some gesso back over the dark in
the hair? /// I am intrested in this because, iI you remember, my pots sit on a white rabbit
Iur. Any hints on how I should draw this Iur - details or no? I am putting the photo back
in here so you can see without having to hunt on earlier post. Ro
Michelle: I DO think the lines in the boys hair are a too dark, and his eyebrows deIinitely
so. You want to keep your light areas light in every layer oI your painting to the end. The
lines in the drawing are only guide lines, and iI you have really dark areas, you can
"crosshatch", not to speciIically make them black, but as a reminder..."this area will be
deep purple"...Ior example. This is gonna be a hard one to Iix, because every Iollowing
layer will make everything darker that shouldn't be. My advice...try it again. Believe me,
Ior every canvas oI mine that comes out good, another 3 or 4 get tossed. Its part oI the
game, no big deal. And dont you DARE get discouraged! This is how we learn.
Ro: you must paint every hair in your Iur thing EXACTLY as it really is. *PANIC!* Nah,
just kidding. Notice how many diIIerent shades oI bluish-grey there are. Those shades are
going to determine how real your rabbit Iur looks. Also on the wine jug on the right.
Make a VERY light blue or umber undercoat, it should be just a tiny bit darker than pure
white. In your Iollowing layers...umber and grey...leaves those areas white as in the
undercoat. Later, this should give your painting depth. Than when you are ready Ior
color, add a touch oI ultramarine blue to your white. Use raw umber, light greys, and
ultramarine blue glazes Ior your shadows When you are satisIied with your shadowing,
use pure titanium white Ior your whitest areas. Add a bit oI "Iuzziness" on the edges.
BUT....save all oI this Ior LAST. It will be really Irustrating to get color in your whiter
than white rabbit Iu
Oh my goodness............Let me understand - Michelle drew the lines in the hair and
eyebrows too dark and CAN NOT BE REPAIRED even on the drawing layer????? The
reason I am Ireeking out is because I was planning on copying my photo directly to the
canvas (skip the drawing and then transIering) BUT iI I mess up and I can not Iix a
gooIed line I am not sure I want to be that brave. QUESTION: As a repair, could the
canvas not just be repaint with the gesso/modeling paste mixture and sand again? OR put
a Iew coats oI white acrylic Iirst over the hair and eyebrows area, and then the
gesso/modeling paste. // My linen canvas cost me almost $60 each. I can not throw that
out and say whoops I gooIed. I would have to Iigure out a way to repair black ink lines on
a canvas. DOES ANYONE KNOW or at least lets try to come up with ideas that might
work to resolve this issue. ////// II I was Michelle I would be willing to TRY
ANYTHING. What does she have to loose iI the canvas is ruined anyway? I would try
something iI it were me. What iI I had to put 5 more layers on the canvas and that saved
it. I just spent some time but saved $60. (((((Mad Capt said to Michelle -- This is gonna
be a hard one to Iix, because every Iollowing layer will make everything darker that
shouldn't be. My advice...try it again. Believe me, Ior every canvas oI mine that comes
out good, another 3 or 4 get tossed. Its part oI the game, no big deal. And dont you
DARE get discouraged! This is how we learn.)))))
I sent an e-mail to my Iriend who is a proIessional artist and ask iI she had any ideas.
Here is her reply........."As Ior the disaster in black, she can paint or even gesso the entire
canvas iI she wants. There's always a way to save a canvas. We're talking about oils here.
They cover anything eventually. I would paint over it until it's covered and then seal it. It
might take some time to dry, but it will work.".........
.So that is another thought.
I want to know how to repair gooIs like.......what iI you accidently draw out oI the line or
your hand slips and you now have a line going way out in the background area where you
had not wanted it.
// I accidently bought some Tit. White Underpainting White. Never even knew that
existed, and sure did not like it as it was diIIerent than what I was used to. I decided to
just start painting all my canvases with a Tit.White base, let dry and paint on top. It is
opaque but very slow drying.
This is the umber layer oI Jack. I did it last night beIore reading the posts on how dark his
hair and eyebrows are this morning.....oh well, back to plan B! :)
.and way been doing the colors layer oI my curint work pensive Beauty and was
Ireeking out today as i was so pleased with this work that now im geting nervous to
Iinishe it im so aIrad i will mess it up in the last 5 brush strokes you know what they say
patings are rowind in the end not the begining heres a picture i sent an email but iI you
see this Iirst just agnor that andy way here ya all go tell me what you think honistly
Michelle, I think the (his) rt eyebrow is much lighter. Why not just hit the other eyebrow
again to lighten it also-- as well as the hair (much lighter) and let it dry. You may be on
your way to success with a solution! Good Job! Ro
Paul, some oI the areas look almost Iinished to perIection. Looks good.........just keep on
with the details and tweeking. I know you will pull this oII to perIection. Ro
Ro how i Iixs a drawing aror beIor i put any paint on the canvas is to take a bright brush
with a vary Iine sinthetic hair and paint some wary think layers oI geso over them you
mite have to do it a cupel oI times just do it thin and dont use a cours brush it comes out
vary smoth take your time
ooking good i dont think the dark lines on the eye brow are a problem most oI that is
coverd byt the opake layers i gues one could sermise that as some point light dose get all
the way down to the cerIace and bouncese back out but i dont think you are going to get
any notisibal lines iI you cover aIectivly in the gray layer
OK, (thanks Mary Ior the inIormation) I had to look up Grisaille that MaryS
mentioned. Here is a site that tells all about it
http://atlantis.mendocino.edu/lbradyar/Painting20Lesson20Ior20Oi... but
basicly it is the gray layer where values are determined. There are other links
below on that page that were good. One that I had already run across was the
GAMBLIN Oil Colors site where they listed several palettes, and one was a old
masters palette. Good site to just explore color.
I also looked up verdaccio and this site showed a great picture oI the detail the
person did on a portrait that he was working on.
http://oilstrokes.com/techniques/verdaccio/ I Iound it helpIul.
Now the question is...what to believe and what not to believe. According to artpapa.com:
For example Iantastic colors in the paintings oI Rubens and Snyders are made with only 3
basic colors: Flake Yellow, Vermilion and Prussian Blue.
However, iI you read "Pigments Throughout the Ages":
The Iirst modern, artiIicially manuIactured color was Prussian blue. It was made by the
colormaker Diesbach oI Berlin in about 1704. Diesbach accidentally Iormed the blue
pigment when experimenting with the oxidation oI iron. The pigment was available to
artists by 1724 and was extremely popular throghout the three centuries since its
Rubens died in 1640, beIore Prussian Blue was even invented. Conclusion? Dont believe
everything you read about the Flemish or Venetian methods.I
I started the Iollowing portrait using the Ilemish technique beIore this Iorum started,
., The only trick I know to help you here is in the way I do my blending. I put in the
colors and then using a redsable Iilbert I pat moving across the colors I want to blend.
For instance, iI I wanted to have a dark color and a light color next to each other and
wanted the light color to move towards the dark. I would start patting in the light color
going to the dark, then wipe the brush very good beIore I started another area. When I
did the Iace on my Indian Holding a Pot that is how I made the colors soItly blend
together. (The way MaryS cheek looked). MARYS would you share how you blend
your colors to be so smooth? Oh, I was not doing the Flemish Tech so that may be
entirely diIIerent and the patting is not needed. (??)
Heres a trick Ior making nice blends. The equipment is Iree and very eIIective...Iingers!
Get a little bit oI linseed oil on the smear Iinger and start blending. You can pull your
paint in any direction; When you are satisIied with the blend, use a soIt badger brush to
smooth out all oI the "Iingerprints". But be careIul with paint containing lead, which are
most whites. Lead is VERY poisonous, iI you have cuts on your Iingers, wear thin rubber
I usually advise learning to draw accurately beIore turning straight to color, because I
believe in the process one acquires the skill that counts the most: the skill oI observation.
One not only learns to "see" values, but also see color correctly - bearing in mind
that color is never what it seems to be. But with that said, I realize that paint is a lot more
Iun, so it's a choice one needs to make Ior him or herselI!
The colors I've used Ior the boy's skintones were burnt umber, burnt sienna, ultramarine
blue, indian red, raw ochre, cad. red light, cad. orange, naples yellow, titanium white.
.i love the dark back ground and the strong light contrast oI her Iare skin in relationship
to its deep value good instincts i wish i could geive you advice on blinding but tend to
over blend my work and loos alot oI details makeing me have to paint more layers then i
sould but as i said im new to Iigurative and portraiture work one oI the things i do to keep
my selI going is to look at the works oI Rembrant he had such a beautiIull style oI both
highly blended areas and then obvous but persily layed brush work i dont think you can
go wrong emulating his work style and i could see this technique working well in the
contexst oI your portrait i would and again im horibal at eyes but i think you should
recheck her eye shapes a bit they seem a tinny bit smal Ior her Iace but i could be wrong
on that i dont know what the origan looks like and perhaps spend some time bring out the
brideg oI her nows as it sinks in a bit visouly nowses speak valums about the power oI a
Iace thats just my opinoun take it Ior what its worth
. your painting is coming on nicely, you've done a wonderIul job on her lower lip and
the darks in the background are really eIIective. Do you have the original photo you
could upload so we can see what you are painting Irom? I think it's useIul Ior giving
Ieedback iI we can see the original reIerence photoes and the style you're trying to
I was just commenting on your photo Claude. I think you've captured the 'glow' in her
skin really well, it's not the skin tone I think just that you havnt blended the colours
together. Maybe you could go over it again and blend? I think with her eyes it's that they
look a bit 'Ilat'. II you remember that eyes are 'balls' (our eyeballs) in 'holders' (the
sockets) and that you can see the shadows where the 'ball' recedes into the socket and the
highlights where the 'ball' is closest to the light. Also there is always a shadow under the
top eyelid where the eylid overhangs the eye.
First oI all, you've picked a very beautiIul reIerence and your painting is not too Iar oII!
What I will try to do is pull your attention to a Iew key elements. The easiest way to
check Ior drawing mistakes is what's called "sight-sizing". What it means is simply
putting your reIerence against your paintingto at approx. the same size and comparing
them area by area, ie jaw lines, nose lines, hair lines, mouth lines, etc. etc. Hope you don't
mind me showing what I mean by using your own images.
Next we're comparing the values (darks against lights). In this context it's important to
note that values mean the degree oI illumination oI any given tone on its own merit,
regardless its own color or surrounding tones.
Last we're comparing posterized images to Iind where our darks, midtones and highlights
should really be.
Let's see the next pairs and I hope that this time the images will actually show on screen.
This procedure is designed to help Iinding and Iixing errors (drawing and value). The
color is secondary and we need to disregard it Ior now.
The thing that stands out is the misplacement oI values. There's an entire range missing
on the viewer's leIt side, Please note the dark on her nose, right cheek, neck and shoulder.
With some practice you'll be able to evaluate the "level" oI shadow darks, since they
should not be too dark.
thats a awesome technique Mary ive never ues that exsact type oI photo reIrince what i
tipicly do is i print out and 8.5x11 colore photo then i print an 8.5x11 gray scale i do my
dead layer oI the gray then swich to my color in the nexst layer but im going to try your
set up nexst painting wow this is just awsome and sins im waiting Ior Pensive Beautys
therd glazing layer to dry alll be working on Intimacy all week end iv got the perIict
opertonity to ues it as im in the midal oI the umber layer so its not to late
., I'm glad you Iind this useIul! Personally I don't print out the reIerence, but paint
directly Irom the monitor - it's very convenient because I can zoom the reIerence in or
zoom out, desaturate Ior grisaille or adjust a desaturated image to any monochromatic
tone - Ior instance, the umber underlayer or dead layer. From what I understand
about Flemish Technique, the closer we get the drawing and values at early stages, the
easier to apply subsequent layers. I think it's a wonderIul technique and your
painting "Pensive Beauty" is looking gorgeous already!
Sight sizing makes easier to detect mistakes in color too, not just grayscale - but Ior some
reason the Iirst photos I've posted didn't show up. I'll try again.
. the dramatic eIIect you get with this technique is absolutely stunning and I never tire
oI looking at works done in this technique.
I've Iound a nice image oI a rose on morgueIile.com and thought I would give it a try.
So here we go - 30x40cm canvas, an imprimatura, a roughly laid out drawing with a
brush (accuracy is not a priority yet) and the beginning oI a block-in with very thinly
mixed paint.
Mary: What is your grey mix and medium? Tell us all this stuII too please, its importan
Oh sorry MadCapt, good point. The medium I've used Ior this underlayer is W&N's
Sansodor (it's basically odorless mineral spirits), no oil so Iar. The colors: burnt umber,
raw sienna, ivory black, titanium white. From now on I'll be Iollowing the tips you guys
have provided.
This little rose is an experiment towards something more signiIicant I hope to start (one
oI Bouguereau's selI portraits - not sure which yet).
Paul and MadCapt, have you guys heard oI Olga Rybakova? She's a russian artist who
paints exclusively in this technique. Here's a link detailing her procedure, that I think is
worth checking - http://www.wetcanvas.com/Iorums/showthread.php?t511308
What do you guys think oI her methods?
hey they looks pretty good but iI you dont do the dead layer or some other kind oI opace
layer under you glazig its Iarly hard to get the depth oI Iield as the light gets obsorbed by
the underlayer oI Umber its vary hard to see this aIect on a modern Digital camra
perticulerly posted on line but as good as jack looks his skin would glow more iI he had
the under layer please dont think im critasisng you just trying to exsplain why its
importint is all
see even thoue we advacate the gray layer you can do all sorts oI dead layers Ior
exsample you can do them in green or red or yellow there are exsamples with all oI these
kinds oI underlayes yeach one brings a diIrent kind oI light to your work Ior exsample it
hard to see in my newist painting but the under color allthoe predomintly gray it had a
havy 2 part quanity oI yellow Oker add to the mixe and thoue not really aprint this will
inIlowins my Iinished painting by brining a warm under glow to the Iinished painting i do
recomend uesing a under colore added to the gray perticulerly in portrature where the
light is not only direct but indirect it gives them such liIe
looking good so Ia keep going be caIul how dark you tone the canvas it makes you wourk
harder in the end but having to bring your lights up more then you would normaly have to
and there Ior absorbing to much light im notoriasly gilty oI making my dead layers to
dark then i have to ues alot oI white which is super opace and dosint do a good job oI
letting light boince in an out the point is to acheave are gole with as litil paint as posibal
the less the more light will penatrait and there Ior be bounced back to are eyes giving are
work and inturnal glow
what about Leanardo and his smoky aIect? what's that called Iumascuro?
Ok, here's the Iinish oI my underpainting - that means a more detailed drawing and closer
Usually, the closer is our underpainting, the easier it gets to handle the Iollowing stages.
The umber layer next.
.....letting light boince in an out the point is to acheave are gole with as litil paint as
posibal the less the more light will penatrait and there Ior be bounced back to are eyes
giving are work and inturnal glow
So we are to paint as thin as possible...........correct?
And aIter 2 more hours oI work: right eye and nose still need 2 more hours.
Ok Claude thats looking better the nowes still needs to come Iorwerd rember lighter color
make things look closer and darker maks things recied in the case oI a Iace we are talking
some vary sutal diIrencese in value just keep playing with it took me a Iull 6 days to get
my ballarinas eyes shaped enough to move on to the colore layer and another Iew days
more im still not sure im done with them as yet
i Iorgot to show you all my photo so i included it at the botem
yes its better to do more layers then just a Iew thick one this is the most critical with your
transparint glazes your gray layer it isint as inportent but no thick globs oI paint you need
to take a blending brush and pat out your brush strokes so thers as litle texstre as is
posibal but rember this is a painting so lets not get OCD on it just lay your colors down to
what ever thickness dose the job i my selI tend to cover my canvas prity well in the gray
layer but then in the color i do lots oI thin coats that have a prity Iair amount oI mdeam in
them i like my colors to go on smothly we arnt talking inky but sorta like Butter that has
sat out on the counter Ior a wile its not runing all over the place but its soIt still holding
its shape
thats what i do im not saying this is the way you have to do it you all have painted many
times beIor iI thers a certain way you like to paint then do it thats what makes it uniquly
your own work besids we all are going to do many more works God willing and you are
going to get your own tchnique in the long run so dont swet the smal stuII just get in
there an paint or im going to get my gigantic 46 " x 46" done Iirst and i exspect to be the
last by at least a month
Ps i Iorgot when every one has there color layer down we will talk about the Iinishing
layer this is really cool were you will get to put texstres in you painting
Claude, I so wish there was an easy way around drawing! But unIortunately in portraits
it's particularly crucial to keep track oI angles, basic measurements between the
Ieatures and value relationships, - or else we're risking to lose the likeness. I guarantee
you, with time and practice, you will get much better.
Also, it's extremely important to understand what the term "value" means in art glossary.
When we look at any given object, what we actually see is determined by the light -
as Iorm turns away Irom the source oI light, it will always get increasingly darker. II you
take another look at your reIerence (by the way, who is the gorgeous lady?), you'll notice
that the light is coming Irom the vewer's right and below, hence the shadow on her right
and the nose bridge.
I've made a quick sketch which I hope will help you see what is happening with parts oI
her Iace that are less lit.
Mary your rose is spectacular the way it is...you're an amazing artist! Do you paint your
underdrawing? I am having problems with the pen marks on my underdrawings. I'm
using a soluble india ink pen but it's still leaving marks I cant seem to cover...HELP!
Michelle, we learn as we go and what's more eIIective than learning Irom our own
mistakes :) First oI all, there is no question that those marks should have been covered
completely by layers oI paint. II it hasn't happened, then either the marks
were excessively thick or the paint was excessively thin. In either case, additional layers
should Iix the problem.
OK, I've started my painting on the prepared canvas. I'm going to have a go at 'Gypsy
Girl' by Boccaccino. Here's the drawing. I decided to paint my drawing in this time as
I've had so much trouble with the ink showing through in my 'practice runs'. I think her
mouth isn't right.
Michelle, the mouth is placed correctly but there should be a lost edge on the right oI her
lower lip and the shadow underneath her mouth should be slightly pushed to her
leIt. Also take a note oI the dark shadow across her leIt cheek. The lit part oI that cheek
should be considerably narrower. (Excellent choice oI a reIerence, good luck!)
AIter Mary's comment I wanted to see what the posterize - value 9 - in Photoshop would
show up. Here is the image. The original photo has such a smooth color change I was
having a hard time seeing the diIIerence in values (lack oI portrait experience on my end
I am sure). I hope my contribution is helpIul.
QUESTION...........does anyone know oI a problem using "graphite transIer paper" to
transIer the drawing to the canvas? That is what I have on hand
Anyone, I had trouble with the oil layer. The linseed oil was so thick I could
hardly spread it. Actually the bottle says "Linseed Stand Oil". Did I get the
wrong oil or maybe it sat on the shelI too long? I saw Delmus pour a little on his
hand and easily spread it on the canvas.
Ro, I use graphite paper with no trouble. I don't know iI that is a no no Ior this
style oI painting. I have used it Ior years in many oI my other paintings.
.i ues graIite transIer paper as long as you ink over it as graIite washes away with the
linseed and turps
stand oil is supposed to be thick its the slowest drying oI all the linseed oils i would
recomend just useing raguler old light natural linseed its much thiner the stand oil will
take a month or more to dry raguler only takes a week iI you use some Liquen in it to
help excelarat the drying
Ro: no problem at all, I use it all the time. However, try not to lean your hand on
the picture your copying or you'll smudge up your canvas. And that will make
Paul VERY angry! In any case, once you've strengthened your drawing with ink,
almost all the carbon will come out in the turp/varnish medium oI the impremutra
layer. I build these little "bridges" out oI junk wood that span the canvas so that
when I trace, my hand rests on the little bridge instead oI the canvas. Hardly any
smudges, which makes Paul very happy!
Arno: Yep dude, wrong oil. Cold pressed linseed oil is probably the most popular
oI oils and is used as the base Ior most medium mixes, stand oil is linseed oil that
has been heated and thickened. Wouldn't recommend using it on its own unless
thinned with turps...than you might as well use linseed oil. However, added to
certain mediums, it does thicken the mix which could come in useIul when using
the Flemish method.
Okay Paul, I guess I will have to put it aside and start another. How about using an onion
to oil out between layers? Or is the linseed oil best?
Thanks I am headed Ior the art supply store to get the cold pressed linseed oil. How long
does it take to dry iI used by it selI?
yes i dont think we coverd this but every one sould be uesing a raw onone to wipe ther
canvases down beIor you put the linseed oil on this dose two things it slitly de glazes the
cerIace oI the paint layer and soIins it in a vary controld way it will help you top layers to
stick to older ones and iI your are uesing titanium white then you better do it as T White
dose not take new paint and certinly resist linseed oil i learnd this the hard way on my
canvas oI my dream painting Communoin
Dude i only get mad at my smuges and besids i ues an awesome tool caled a mallbridg it
has clamps on its ends that slide to acomadate diIering sizes oI canvas and you can clamp
it on any spot keeps the hands and arms oII your work excelarats painting 100 Iaster
and no acsadental leaning and Ialing in to your canvas with the Ior arm
I did actually mess around on the GYMP program to try to Iind those lost edges on the
right oI the painting, though I think they are meant to be really indistinct. the images are
what I came up with. I'm going to Iinish the drawing to get it accurate tonight, then its
the impremetura layer right? And I just barely tint the canvas and picture in this layer
with what? Yellow ochre and a mix oI demara varnish and what? and do I add liquin to
this layer at all. and what percentages oI liquin do you add to your layers
Wow, I had no idea oI the properties oI onion, thank you guys!
I'm done with the Iirst umber layer, so here's how I did it: cut a Iresh onion in two
and careIully rubbed it all over the dry underpainting; on top oI that rubbed
in linseed oil. Then took a paper towel and wiped it all out oI the canvas in
circular movements. The colors I've used: burnt umber, naples yellow, a tiny bit
oI yellow ochre and titanium white (I can only hope that it's ok to use this set oI
colors Ior the umber layer - please let me know iI it was wrong!).
II I understood correctly, the purpose oI the second umber layer is to reinIorce
the darkest darks and highlights. Or perhaps there's no need Ior that? What do you
guys think.
you use umber to tint your canvas its a drying agent in an oI it selI so no liquen it sould
be dry in a day or so not that big a deal you want to tone your canvas to the mid toneal
value you Iind this by looking at your photo and squinting your eyes the blury color you
see will be the mid tone but its not that critical it more to take the glare oI a white canvas
away so you dont hurt your eyes staring at a white canvas alot over the years can aculy
damige your eyes alow we want to be abal to consintrait on are subject and color chouses
no be distracted visouly but a bright white wich is destracting even iI you are not aware
that you are bing inIluinsed
the damar gose in your medeam on this layer your mideam sould be aproxsmatly 50
linseed and 50 turps take and eye drper and add 1 or 2 drops oI damar in to it thats how
litile you need then on each layer you add 1 or 2 max to the mdeam so that add when you
do the umber layer add in the gray layer then add Ior the color layer Iinaly in the detail
layer hope thats clear
there are no hard and Iast rules on this i ues strate umber but looking at what you did it
looks like all be trying it Delmus ueses T white in his iI you go to his web site he
exsplains its ok to Iind short cuts as long as they dont interIer with other proceses i dont
really paint as complex on my umber layer as you do i just block out the darks really
quickly and move on its not wrong what you have done in the slitest just nexst time i
think iI i where you id be more judsous about it as its all going to be coverd up any way
and you mite whant to reinIours the darks a bit deeper this is so over the centurys as your
colors Iade the darks underneath will still be there umber never shiIt color no mater how
old it is as its a burnt earth and is at its max oxsidation Irom the Iirst day you put it one
dose that make sens
Mad Capt gave a recipe oI 50 Linseed oil, 25 Damar Varnish, 25 Turp
Paul just gave his recipe oI 50 L.Oil & 50 Turp with 1-2 drops oI Damar Varnish.
How about Mad Capt and Paul give a discussion oI the diIIerence in the recipes. I was it
settled so I have just one that I am going to go with. Wonder what Delmus uses?
Have a question about my drawing and the technique. Seems to me it would be better Ior
me to draw the entire pot's decoration and then AFTER I paint the pot I would add the
glare spots during one oI the Iinal glaze layers? Is that correct? I noticed on Paul's
dancer he leIt out the hightlight areas, but that is diIIerent than a decorated pot. What do
you think? Thanks always Ior the help. Roena PS the pot is hand painted and the
decorations are not "machine" perIect.
Mary: I think iI I was you, I would stop where I was, sell this Ior a Iew hundred euros, or
.shekels (Iew thousand than)...and start another one. I couldn't imagine it being any
better, its blooming out oI my screen! Anyway, Ior your grey layer, I'd just touch up a
Iew spots, maybe not do anything at all and go right to color. How are you planning your
color? SoIt values or bright chromas? Interesting to see what you do with this.
Ro: Well at least we both agree on 50 linseed oil, right? Thats whats nice about this
method, regarding mediums, they are all general suggestions because there is absolutly
NO agreement as to what mediums Rubens, Vermeer , Van Eyck, Michaelangelo,
etc...used. They simply didn't write things down. Some things you can count on...The
Venetian method used soIter edges and thereIore probably an "oilier" medium, possibly
with the addition oI venetian turpentine, which is actually a resin that, when mixed with
your oil, causes the paint to spread a bit. Flemish paintings had sharper edges, so these
artists might have used more oI a stiII, gel type medium...beeswax, stand oil,
mastics...any number oI things could oI been used. The thing to remember with mediums
is that a little goes a long way, its like mortar holding bricks together, too much and the
structure is weak. How much medium do you use? Your choice, isn't that nice? But
remember Iat over lean...the Iurther you go with your painting, the more medium ( drops
at a time depending on how much paint you are using) you will be adding.
iI i rembered it right i think i was giving the recipy that i got Irom Delums Mdeams are
vary personal i like to keep things simple iI you want to ues Alans Recpie then by all
means do so i dont like ues alot oI Damar its a vary powerIul binder and even minut
amounts work just Iine iI i were to go with Alans perpotion i would worry that the damar
mite make Ior a vary slick and shinny cerIace not a bad thing to have on your Iinal coat
as it seals dust out but when i want to continue painting more layers i dont want to riske
that my new paint will not properly adhere to the old layers i try to paint as iII my work
will servive Ior 400 years or more so its just a mater oI opinon many sources tha i have
read sujested a Iew drops oI damar increasing it by the drop in each susaquent layer sorry
iI Alan and i conIsed you but more oIten then not this is the kind oI thing thats going to
come up over and over as we both said thers not alot oI eveadence around as to what the
masters did im uesing the techniquse that have been around the longest as Iar as modurn
patings go but sins nun are 400 years old whos to say what is best so again i deIer to your
comIort leveal and preIorencese Ior mdeams you can buy pre made mdeams many are
vary Iine quality its up to you all conIess some times i only ues Linseed and nothing ells
that works too just what ever you do keep it simple you want to be abal to rember Irom
one painting to the nexst whats you have done in the past keep notes iI your going to
A drawing oI some kind that will resist turps and linseed
toning your canvas
creating the darkest parts in som earthy tone like burnt umber but any dark tone will work
a gray or colore laer that is monocrom in nature it can be Gray Red Yelow Grean Blue or
any shad or colore you want
i tend to pick colors that suport my Iinished works color goles
then a colore layer oI your opaces
then your glazing to reinIors depth oI value shadows deep colore
then your detail layer were you add texstures imposto high lights and any thing elss that
mite requier a high leveal oI detail
then drying time
and Iinly some nice ceats oI linseed or demar to deal out dirt and grime and give your
wok that proIestional Iinish
and Iinly Iraming to make it all raped up like a pretty window
im not sure i understand not only your question on your drawing all dteals oI inportens
are added to the drawing but not conpleated untill the colore layers but you can do them
Irom the Iirst time on iI you want its not that inportent as Iar as i know the brightest spots
are going to have an underpining Irom the umber layers on but not Iinal whites are added
untill the detail layers dose that make sens
you noted that on my ballarina thers a lack oI high lights except the most promint ones on
here Iace thats becas i will not add them untill almost the end oI the painting there are the
quickest oI all the dteals some times its just a dab here and there did that answer you
some oI theas pertain to an indavisouls style oI painting some people like to be vary
detaild right oII and some like to wait untill the end i gues it depends on how much you
like to paint around things iI that dosint bother you then paint the decorations in as early
on as you want
Ior an exsample on my latist work Intimicy all be painting in the tatoo on my body
builders arm Irom the gray layer on its just to magure a Iocal point not to give alot oI
depth and atention to
i want that tatoo to have many layers oI colore and value to it so i think it needs the gray
layer Ior me to work out and understand what it needs
paintings will tell you what they need iI you live in the spirit oI being there and geting
real with your work i Iall in to a trance like state when i paint i become one with the work
i look and lisin to its values its rithems i develop a mental dialog with my selI as iI i am
the painting and it is me i hope thats not to metaphisical Ior every one but i want to
reinIors that its vary importent Ior ever one to relaxe and not get to bent out over details i
really just want you to get in there and be like 5 year olds they see paint and the squel
with dalight they grab and they smire and they creat and then live what they do and thats
how i want you to Paint
Carpa Deum "Sees the Day!
Question: AIter oiling out, do you let the oil dry or paint immediatly?
Arno you paint directly over the linseed when its wet Iirst put the linseed in the palm oI
your hand to warm it up then just take your Iingers or a brush and put it on the canvas not
to heavy as you will let it sit Ior 2 or 3 mints then take a lint Iree cloth and wipe oII most
oI it you whant it prity thin the idea is that it acks as a lubracent Ior your bushes and helps
you spred your paint it alsow acks as a primer helping the new paint to bond with the old
dont Iorget beIor you oil out to rub the hole canvas with a raw onion this acts on the old
paint as a vary controld soIaning agent and is perticulerly inportent when you are painting
over Titaneaum white which drys vary slick and shinny and resist new paint
all i can say is WOW ! its so cool to see how you all interprit what it means to do
an umber layer i never take hardly any time on them insted chosing to Iocus on
the gray laer as my primary guid but you all got me thinking mabe iv been going
about this rong that umber layer is so beatiIull i almost wept with emostion
sirously good job Michelle
do you Ieel are have you noted how doing this umber layer is like practising your
Iinal work and how it takes the strees out oI painting becuas you get to see
exsactly how the Iinal work will come together thers nothing leIt to chans in this
procese and even iI you have no idea where you are going by the time you get to
the color layer i can asure you that you will know
Michelle.........really good job. I actually like your background better than the "Ilat"
background on the original painting. Could you discribe your process as that is very
much like what I want Ior the background on the pots I am doing. You might know a
trick to share, please. Also, the color oI the material on the lower part oI the girl is pretty
much the color oI my pot. What color did you use. Even her Iace - a bit more dull -
would be similar to the color in a diIIerent spot on the pot. What color was that? Thanks
Ior your help on background technique ideas and colors.
Hi Ro, the colour on her Iace is a mix oI burnt umber, yellow ochre and alizarian
crimson, the bottom halI oI the robe is burnt seinna, alizarian crimson and prussian blue.
the background is a mix oI black, burnt umber and prussian blue. I actually put this on
roughly with a large brush then used a 'chux' to dab it oII again and blend in around the
'lost edges.
Michelle, .........(you said........used a 'chux' to dab it oII again..(I just love these around
the entire globe oI the world converstation because we learn so much.) What is a
Sorry Ro, a 'chux' is one oI those stripey paper towel things you use in the house Ior
cleaning etc. I expect paper towel would do the same thing. I just keep a roll oI these
chux towels in my art room to clean my brushes etc. I didnt use the india ink on the gypsy
girl, just carbon to trace then painted the lines back in very careIully. I think I've given up
on using ink. I must be heavy handed with it or something because I cant seem to cover
the ink in the painting process.
I Iigured the Flemish method wouldn't work without the dead layer, so here it is:
doing great Marry thats just how it sould look with bits oI the umber coming threw here
and there you can leave some oI that all the way to the end i oIten do its looks vary artsy
On Delmus's site this is what I Iound. He gave 3 recipes depending on "which layer you
were on".
IMPRIMATUR LAYER approx 3T turp and 1 eye dropper oI Damar varnish. You dip
your brush into the mixture and then into the paint. Paint thin, brush-blend all brush
marks away.
OTHER LAYERS approx 3T turp, 3 eye droppers oI Damar varnish, and 3 eye
droppers oI Linseed oil.
COLOR LAYER approx 3T turp, 3 eye droppers oI Damar varnish, and 5 eye droppers
oI Linseed oil
((Later layers more oil Ior the Iat over lean rule).
Ro, yeah I've mentioned the size - it's 30x40cm - in inches it should be something like
What do you mean "comparing the steps", whose steps? Also not sure what you meant by
"I might try that again iI you "dont" put it on your site so I can easily go look" - try what
again? lol, sorry, I might be having a dense moment!
Yea....I got some paint on the canvas. Seems like a Iew were concerned that the
1st layer on some were too dark, so I went way light. I used only Bt Umber. My
medium was Delmus's recipe oI 3 T Turp and 1 dropper Iull oI Damar Varnish.
AIter I put it on and it started to dry some - me using the soIt mop brush to erase
brush strokes, it Iinally started to "do something" and give me some texture. I
think I will do many layers oI this process so that I get something dark, but not
Ilat paint. Worth a try. I did Mad Capt suggestion to hit the Iur and pots with
just enough Bt Umber color to "kill the white". Now, I am going to onion and
then oil out and apply more Bt Umber to the pots and another layer on the
background. /// I also played guinnie-pig and had my Iur sketched in in ink, got
out some wet sandpaper and using turp I wet-sanded over some oI the lines just to
see what it would do. I wiped that part down with a paper towel and turp aIter. It
soItened it just a little, but not much. I thought that might have been an option.
/// Does any one have an opinion about putting a drop or two of Cobalt Dryer
in the turp mixtures once I get to the Dead Layer? 1ust wondering as I have
some. Ro
QUESTION. What iI I only want to paint on a small area oI my painting -- like I am
going to be working on one oI the pots and that is all the time I will have today. Can I
just oil out the area where I am going to be working OR is it really good to have as many
"oil out" layers as you can get on a painting and I should oil out the entire painting even
though I know I will only be working on a small pot area? I hate to ask silly questions,
but who else am I going to ask? he he
yes you can oil out in just the area you want to work in its probly a good idea when you
get down to the detail layers that you only oil out in that spot no need to smear linseed
were its not nedded you know iI you are working with alot oI mdeam in your paint as i
oIten do you dont have to oil out at all the oiling out procese is to lubracat your canvas so
that your paint and bushes glide smothly and some aIects are easer like sucmbing but
say i wanted to do a dry bush technique it would be vary hard to do on an oild canvas as
in this case you would want your paint to brake acrossed the serIace so you have to ues
your judgment on when to do a perticuler technique and the only way to really know is to
try it and see iI it works Ior you genraly speaking its a good idea to oil out so i would say
do it as oIten as you can but iI its going to complcat things dont do it in that perticuler
spot but then go back to it as soon as posibal
Meanwhile I laid in a quick portrait drawing and began blocking in with a thin mixture
oI burnt umber, yellow ochre, prussian blue and titanium white (oil paints), aIter toning
the canvas with an acrylic wash oI naples yellow mixed with a small bit oI prussian blue.
The medium consists oI 4/5 Sansodor and 1/5 liquin. Size: 40x50cm
Most oI my commissions are posthumous portraits, so painting studies is not only great
practice, but also a nice break Irom a work routine. I honestly believe that I've learned the
most by doing mastercopies and recommend everyone to do the same!
I will approach the color layer pretty much the same as any other grisaille - which means
trying to avoid mixing complementary colors because oI the grays underneath. As I'm
sure you know, mixing complementaries will result in more grays that will make the
color looks muddy. To know which colors to mix is probably a Iunction oI experience
and iI you do it right, there shouldn't be a need in many color glazes.
've touched the canvas again. In two mintues I learned that wet sanding can remover
some oI the background color!, and that ONION juice will remove a whole lot oI the
Indian ink. Problem solved Ior those who wish the drawings were not so dark. It did
smear the ink ever so slightly around a bit, but since my pots are susposed to be old, I
think it did not cause me any problems. I did put some oI the glaze used Ior the very Iirst
layer and a tiny bit oI color on the pots, but apparently not enough to "seal" the ink. I
was trying hard to retain that white. So- Wet sand with NO pressure and rub onion
careIully in the direction oI the line to soIten that ink to almost gone. My painting is not
ruined, but a good lesson learned. Whew.
I've spent a Iew hours today on the Iirst color layer oI my rose painting and as
promised, I'm attaching a Iew progress shots.
I've used diIIerent colors on each segment:
The rose: cadmium red deep hue, alizarin crimson, titanium white
Background: coeruleum blue, ultramarine blue, prussian blue, burnt umber, raw
sienna, titanium white.
Mary: Were you born in 17th century Holland or something? Your rose is amazing. How
long did you work on the colors
PAUL, could you please take a really close up pic oI the outer edge where there is just
one layer oI material thickness so that we can see how you did that? (on your dancer)
yes thats awsome and my sujesten dont ues turps i just use my mdeam to thin and to clean
up I ues Old Master Brush Sope it comes in cakes and big tubs by the tubs its cheaper
then you hous will never smell besides Turps slow down drying i hardely ever geat any
comment Irom visaters that they can smel paint mainly they ask what the oily oder is and
thats linseed but its vary miled
Paul, I do use a paint brush soap cleaner, and I use linseed to clean my brushes aIter the
soap. I use so called 'oderless thinners' but my art supply shop says that still give some
people headaches. What thinning medium do you use? Does anyone else have any
suggestions Ior using a thinning solution that is not toxic? My only other option is to
paint outside and hope that works, not very practical in our summer heat though. Would
welcome some help on this one iI you can guys.
As oIten happens when Ilittin through cyberspace, I Iound some rubbish, and
some gems. This is one oI them, great inIormation on critiquing, both your own
work and that oI others.
Interesting article on mediums in old masters
well, Irom all I can Iind it seems Walnut oil is the thing to use Ior thinning and as
a painting medium Ior its non-toxicity. Well I guess I'll have to just try a painting
using walnut oil only in this technique to see what results I get.
I also Iound an inIormation sheet on the toxicity oI certain paints I though
everyone might be interested in. I think I'll have to start wearing thin latex gloves
when I paint in oils Ior health saIety too. it might be easier to paint with, but it
sure isnt the saIest oI mediums is it!?
Graham-OilColorsAndMediums.pdI, 36 KB
Michelle, I see you have already Iound out about Walnut Oil that I was going to suggest.
An oil painter who paints on Ustream uses Walnut Oil. He even drinks some to prove it
is no problem. He calls himselI "Dave The Painting Guy".
Mechelle be carIull with oderless thiner thats a huIamisum Ior Minral spirits which is not
conpatibal with Damar varnish i learnd this the hard way your pating will develop bumps
thats the damar converting back to cristals inside the paint Iilme and soon you will get an
oily resado on the serIace oI your pating thats the Minral spirits leaching to the tope oI
the paint layers takes a long time to dry and your pating could Iail in less then a cuple oI
years iI not sooner
i dont ues any volital thiners at all just linseed and Liquen the old masters did not have
much in the way oI thiners the italians uesd reseins they colected Irom trees and certin
i wouldint recomend walnut oil it yelows pretty badly and in just a cuple oI decades
Linseed is the best its non toxic tho i wouldint drink it as the light stuII has ben exsposed
to liquen to bleach it that alsow gos Ior saIlower popy seed and just about any other oils
they all yellow Iast and deeply
dont all the 'recipes' Ior the medium used in this method call Ior linseed oil,
mineral turps and damar varnish in some proportion at each stage? Thats' what
I've been using and it's been a lethal mix Ior me with the headaches. So Paul, are
you saying I dont need to use this recipe? That I can just use linseed at each stage
Can you give the recipe you use at each stage please? Maybe I'll try that.
Michelle: Your nun, I mean gypsy (laugh...) looks great! Very Flemish primitive.
Thats not an insult, it was simply the style oI painting used even earlier than the
Flemish masters, around the 14th- 15th century. Jan Van Eyck was one Iamous
example, in Iact he was Ialsely credited with "inventing" oil painting. CareIul
with the pupils in her eyes, they are diIIerent sizes. Please keep posting.
Sugestion: keep her skin tones very light with very little shading, but make her
clothes bright colors, accenting Iolds and stuII. That will REALLY be Flemish
primitive...and very cool!
Michelle: Your nun, I mean gypsy (laugh...) looks great! Very Flemish primitive.
Thats not an insult, it was simply the style oI painting used even earlier than the
Flemish masters, around the 14th- 15th century. Jan Van Eyck was one Iamous
example, in Iact he was Ialsely credited with "inventing" oil painting. CareIul
with the pupils in her eyes, they are diIIerent sizes. Please keep posting.
Sugestion: keep her skin tones very light with very little shading, but make her
clothes bright colors, accenting Iolds and stuII. That will REALLY be Flemish
primitive...and very cool!
Well, miraculously my Bouguereau underpainting was dry today and I thought it would
be a good idea to analyze the reIerence closer beIore doing any more work on the
painting. Eventually I got convinced that he had painted his selI portrait in a classical
verdaccio style - a Iull color layout on a soIt gray greenish ground. Then he proceeded
with his regular scumbling (slightly rubbing in the paint without a medium).
So here goes - the painting aIter more work today and a closeup to show how rough it
still is.
Mary: How do you do that so Iast?? Is scumbling how he got his soIt edges?
MadCapt, I've done tens oI drawing, value and color studies during the past year -
on top oI commissioned portraits, so it's probably a matter oI practice.
Great point about the edges - yep I think his Iabulous edgework is mostly due to
Mary: Interesting point about the scumbling. Even though Bou (I'm too lazy to
spell out his name but I lover his art, especially "The Broken Jar"...poor girl!)
lived quite a bit later, his style is very Venetian, which I THINK developed into
the "French school", which was the style he actually used. II I want to use his
technique in my portrait oI the girl, what tips could you give regarding medium,
progression (dark to light, glazed darks and opaque lights?), etc. I love the
soItness oI his works.
Ro, gosh speed is such a non-issue! I don't believe that any great art has been created Iast
and sincerely hope that it'll never be used as a criteria.
With that said, there is no other way oI gaining skills but to practice a lot. Once you learn
to draw well and read values accurately you simply start to get things "right" sooner
and then it won't matter what style you choose Ior yourselI - palette-kniIe loose or photo-
realism tight - you will struggle less.
MadCapt, I think Bouguereau's grandeur lies in his modeling technique and it
would be impossible to explain it without breaking the color up by value, hue and
chroma. As Iar as I know, he's never used glazing and his use oI medium was
minimal. As Ior your portrait - look careIully Ior values at your reIerence and iI
you keep track, then in my humble opinion it shouldn't matter whether you start
with the lights or with the darks.
Mary, I just saw your completed rose in your album, WOW! Could you write down what
colors you used Ior the color layers? You wrote down the colors Ior the Iirst layer in one
oI your previous comments. Any others Ior the other color layer? How did you achieve
that magniIicent, velvet-like color (and texture) Ior the inside oI the rose (and the same oI
some petals)? Any details oI your method you care to share?
With regard to the rose painting, I've added two more colors Ior the Iinal layer: scarlet
lake and cadmium red light. Otherwise it's the same process as described in earlier posts
(onion and oiling out beIore each layer). The texture is achieved by the layering method
itselI - earlier layers will shine through.
You'll learn best by trying this method Ior yourselI - hope you'll share your work!
Mary, thanks Ior the answer. I will have to get scarlet lake. - I just looked up the
diIIerence between alizarin crimson and scarlet lake (I have al crimson at home). The
latter (sc lake) has an orange-ish tint rather than a blue undertone per what I read
Here's the Iirst layer oI Bouguereau scumbling - no medium, just paint applied with a
Thanks Mary,
I am too inspired.I even started but am still in the middle. Will deIinitely complete
and upload it.
Had a question. When you say, its just paint and no medium.Isnt medium
important.I have heard oil paint without medium tends to crack.. Is that true??
Geetika, it shouldn't crack because there is oil on oil point. The only diIIerence
between scumbling and glazing is that glazing as a rule is more transparent, and
both are thin layers.
http://www.jessbates.com/pagestutorials/glazingscumble.htm I Iound this article
discussing glazing and scumbling and the colors to use and all. It was very imIormative I
In my thinking glazing is very "watery" and thiner pigment and transparent. Scumble is
almost like a dry brush with only a small amount oI paint on your brush where you just
hit and miss across the canvas. Is this a correct thinking
Ro did you get that part right at the end when he talks about uesing a patroliem
based varnish isnted oI a turps base to Iasilatate removal by restorers so that it
dosint disturb the paint layers underneeth? makes perIict sens to me and to think i
mostly ues turps Based stuII its a good thing Liquen isint turps based but patrolim
based but its conpatibal with turps Irom what i understand its the only pertoliem
bass that is
iv seen sevral underlayers on patings Irom the 14 ceture that were not conpleat
and they all looked blended to me but you could try it undbelded and see how it
turns out i ues a blending brush it looks like a blush brush that people ues to put
makup on with they come in many sizes you can genttly pat the earea to be
blended or you can do back and Iorth like a scumble or you can do swarls i do all
oI the obove just depends on were i want to move the paitn you can alow ues
those to make a line look strate by moving it in the direction oI the line a Iew
times cleans it right up i like to do a vary conpleat loking under pating its my
thing dont Ieel you have to Ialow my lead on this thers a lot oI room Ior diIrent
tchniques let your artistic instinks be your giude or Ialow mine its up to you
what is the diIIerence between the imprimatura, the toning oI the canvas and the
umber layer?
Toning is when we tint the entier canvas the mid value oI are copastions it gives a
starting point Ior value in are umber layer its ok iI you didnt do it its better iI you do but
as iv said beIor there are many ways to do this the basic steps are a giude only but i want
every one to stick to it as much as you can untill you get comIterbal then let insparaition
be your lead this toning layer and umber layer act as a Ioundation and also a cemical
stabalising layer a Burnt Umber never changes colore no mater how old it is its enert and
it sucks in oil Irom the uper layers and disperses it making them dry Iaster
what you really get out oI this technique altamatly is a total emursion in value reality
thats why aIter you have been doing it Ior a wile even iI you deside to do a sigal layer
painting you will Iind that your abilitys to creat Light and dark values has increast
exsponesualy pluss it really inhanses are undersanding oI the cemistry oI painting along
with glazing tech which is starting to becaum a dieing art in the Iields oI Painting with
Damaclese, thanks, so this means that aIter the gesso and getting he canvas
straight, Iirst you tone the whole canvas, then you do the drawing part? Then
comes the umber layer with the darks and the lights, then the dead layer, then 2
color layers - am I correct?
you do the drawing Iirst then the toning the rest oI your list is corect
Oh, and with the toning oI the canvas. My reading on this lately has said to leave
this as light as you can, and to leave your highlight areas bare canvas so they
show lighter in the Iinal painting. I guess youre right, everyone seems to have a
diIIerent method in this process and experimentation is the only thing that will in
the end analysis show what works Ior you and what doesnt. I'm a bit like the
American painter who said, "let the next generation get their own art!" I dont
really care iI it lasts as long as 500 years :)
Ro said "SHOULD I try to Iix it on this layer, or can things like that be Iixed on
the gray layer better?"
Hi Roena! Yes, Iix it now. Otherwise in years to come, as the paint layers on top
begin to Iade, this line will begin to show through. I can't remember the name oI
the work, or even the artist, Mad may know, it is oI a horse with 5 legs. The artist
moved the position oI one leg later in the painting, and as the years went by, the
old leg began to show through and now appears as a 5th leg.
A couple oI methods can be used. Scraping careIully with a rounded razor, or
using 800 grit wet sand paper keeping the paper wet with turps or oil to remove
this layer at this spot. I had a similar repair but on a larger scale recently oI an
extra petal on a Lily. The work had been completed, so all layers were present.
Scraping and Iinally sanding to Ieather the edges helped. AIter the repair
however, the paint Iilm is intact, but viewing the painting Irom an extreme angle
shows a slight ghosting oI the repaired area.
Any major changes I think are best done in the early stages oI a work. Later
changes just become more diIIicult.
Hope this helps!
Paul, how do you get your image onto your canvasas as they are so large? Do you have a
projector? I'm thinking oI rising to the challange oI a larger canvas but all the work oI
enlarging the picture by hand onto butchers paper then getting it onto the canvas
accuratley is detering me a little. I've thought oI buying a projector, does anyone use
them? And any hints on what to look Ior when purchasing one?
well this is what i think iI you are a vary competend artist and can honistly say that you
can draw any thing then i say Ior the sake oI time ues a projector but iI you arnt so good
then you sould do it by hand as you need to develope your skills that being said
iI your going to do it on a grand scale then projecting has its draw backs the larger you go
the more dispered the light becomes the harder it is to see the details and its inportent that
you understand what you are drawing down to a vary sharp edge so do the grid systome
that what i do Ior vary larg works like my 46x46 theres almost no one no mater how grate
that can do an acurity reproduction on that size you loos perspective so draw out a sireas
oI lins on your picture by stating in the mideal bothe ways and keep subdeviding your
picture till you have a grid that covers the entier thing then do the exsact same thing on
your canvase just make sure that both the picture and the canvas have exsactly the same
number oI lins all draws in exsactly the same places then start your drawing by picking
threw each sector 1 by 1 untill its conpleat dont Iorget to stand back and look oIIten you
want to make sure you are staing IathIull then when you Iinish pick threw the drawing
and remove the grid line they can becaome conIusing at times iI they dont bother you the
dont then draw the hold thing over with waterprooI ink
thats what i do on the larger ones say 30x40 or bigure thers a picture oI me standing in
Iront oI Hungry Koi that showes my grid all post it just so you can see Iorgive the quality
oI my photo
I decided I would add some bt.sienna Ior some color still in a glaze. I leIt out a stupid
line! II you draw something with lots oI lines like the pots and they have
colors...draw/shade in the colors. Had I have done that then I would have realized I
leIt one out. Ok, so I just smear the color all over the area. Take a deep breath and, later
aIter supper, I am looking at the photo again, I think I can Iix the line and still be able to
paint the design.
I remember when I was drawing in that area, that, I was thinking I understood the
Indian`s design and just started drawing it. Wrong!
What is going on? Am I the only one having stupid things happen?
I cannot do the onion (it erases my ink lines) and oil out, so I am just doing the oil. I let it
set a moment and take a tissue and start to wipe it oII. Well..shoot...it is taking
oII the glaze I did yesterday. Ok, so on Indian pots, that might add interest or
texture...but on someone`s Iace it would be a disaster.
I think I am adding to much medium trying to thin Ior lighter values the Bt Umber
instead oI putting on regular paint and just spreading it thinly. ANY IDEAS OR
Did you have any oI this problems?
Without realizing I missed something I needed to do, I did not do the imprumpra (sp) or
the under drawing. Maybe that is the problem?
just a thought, maybe you're not giving your painting time to dry between the layers?
This is a very slow process Ior me, my gypsy is still tacky Irom the grey layer and will
probably be another week I think beIore I'll be game to touch her again. It's hot and
humid here so that is probaby aIIecting the drying times (no aircon). I'm not overly
worried about it, I can wait.
you know you guys and gals can add Liquen or any other alked based agent to exselarat
the drying normaly when i add liquen i can paint the nexst day or at the lastes two days
except when im doing glazing were thers a high oI linssed then it takes about a week to
dry just a thought
Paul, I was trying Delmus's recipe Ior the Iirst layer, and now moved on to the "2nd or
other" layers oI 3T turps, 3 Droppers oI Damar varnish and 3 droppers oI Linseed oil.
///// I Iind it interesting that I can wipe it oII (when I dont want to).
.........................So............iI noone else is having this problem...........what am I doing
wrong? R U adding medium to your paint at the umber layer?
what liquin do you add to the linseed? You know...1 part to 2 parts etc?
Ro, my unber layer was painted in very leanly just using linseed. I havnt used anything
else on the gypsy because the turps, damar, linseed mix just gave me shocking headaches
Ro, I used turp, linseed and a little Dammar - just as I read it, well, the ratio is about that,
I did not exacly measure it. I also messed up some lines and had to go and make them
again, But I always tried to use the existing shadows, the lights etc. so I don't have to
scrape. Can you show where you missed the line? I think you will be able to solve the
problem - some eggnog might help in getting ideas. :-) (kidding... or not?)
Michelle: I copied the main lines oI the rose but what happened is that when I was done, I
could not Iind what was the line oI the petal and what was the shadow in my drawing, so
I had to go petal Irom petal and try to Iind the actual Iorms - I must admit sometimes I
was swearing Irom Irustration I could not Iind where petals met, that matched my petal
with the one on the photo... so it was not easy Ior me. But then when I started to put the
shadows in section by section, that helped and started to shape up. It is not perIect but
most iI them match, more or less...I could not have done the whole thing Ireehand - I
might try later on just wanted to speed it up. When Mary said that she just sketched the
thing - it already looked like a perIect drawing, not a sketch! I cannot do that yet.
Ro, I'm so impressed with the work you've done on the patterns - I too recommend to Iix
any drawing issues you've noticed now, and not later. In the next phase keep an eye
on subtle value shiIts to give your pots some volume.
Ah Bernadette, wonderIul diligence - just the way I like it - keep it up! There's
absolutely no reason to rush a beautiIul painting, especially when the goal is learning. On
the dead layer it's particularly important to mark values as accurately as you can, and then
the color layer will be a piece oI cake to handle.
Paul, your painting will be amazing, I can tell! Thank you Ior posting updates!
i cant paint with turps it makes me sick to my stomic and gives me headacks so this is my
recipy iI you decid to ues this do not add any thing ells i ues linsseed 2 parts and 1 part
Liquen has almost no smell just that oily oder that linseed has vary light dont ever mix in
any damar in iI your uesing Liquen or any other alkad base alked/Liquen/Glyked are
all patroleam based and damar is reson based they are not conpatibal with Patroleam sins
you all started with damar i think you mite be stuck untill you get done with this painting
you could try it but im not sure i have a Iriend that is a cemist in the art matireals industry
and all check with him but being that it is christmas Eve i may not be abal to get back to
you on that untill nexst week it will brobably be ok to paint on top iI your layer iI it is
vary dry so as not to remelt it with this liquen linseed mixsture iv seen a cuple oI Iilmes
on YouTube were this artist wipes Lquin on here canvas then paints directly in to that but
on the side oI the botel it says not to ues more thena 50 liquen ever so i stick to the 1/3
but i Liv in the mohovi desert and things dry here vary Iast even with out it 10
humidinty most oI the time it makes a big diIerince what the atmosphire in your home is
like cold long slow drying times warm and dry short Iast drying times how ever dont
put you work near a heat sors like a vent or Ior hevens sake never get it any were near a
space heater or an open Ilame you will burn you house done
i just wanted to claraIy a cuple oI points
the Iirst thing is glazes take along time to dry becaus they are mostly mdeam this
is where the Liquen realy helps a glaze needs to be more then dry to the tuch it
nedds to be dry enough to be hard so the you new layers dont melt it there just
deleced that way
you can tell a glaze is dry enough when it dosint Ieel cool or have that Ieeling oI
dampness that dry paint will have Ior quite a long time i Iind even with liquen it
takes at least a week in wet weather it can take up to a month some times iI your
not uesing a sicicant ( Thats a drying agent like liquen)
the onon trick neds to be the Iirst thing you do beIor you oil out
so its onon wait a Iew mints then wipe it oII then oil out your canvase alwas when
you are wiping the cerIace ues a clean dry lint Iree cloth do not ues paper towls
they leave behind Iiyber or tolet tisue
Ro the reson the onon smeard your work was that 24 hr is never enough time Ior a
glaze to dry the only soIens pain thats why you have to waite sorry i know its hard
to waite when your excited and want to get on with it
this bring up a good point about having at least 3 paintings going at one time so
you can alwas paint when you want to
so aIter you lay down your toning on the Iirst you start the second drawing then
by the time you get the toning dont on that you start the umber layer oI your Iist
then wiale thats drying you do the umber on the second and then the drawing and
toning on the therd then you go back and check you Iorst and iI its dry and doint
have that damp Ieel you start your gray layer i Iind the gray layer to be a kind oI
stop and start aspect oI this tehch becaus i oIten have to let it dry at point so i dont
put my hand or arm in wet paint so when you get to one oI thos spots were you
ned to lay your havd or arm gently aganced the canvas but its wet go to the nexst
canvas and start that gray layer and so on and so Iorthen sorry Ior spelling that out
but i thought that mabe i hadent been clear so i wanted to make sure every one
was up to speed on this drying and how you work Iorwerd thing
i know we were just talking about painting and drying times but i wanted to jump
backwords Ior a second and retuch on this drawing aspect i cant stress enough
how inportent the drawing stage is many artits aproch painting as "Lets get this
drawing down Iast and Iureas and move on acting as iI its relativly uniportent that
you wil Iorm the more conpleat concept oI the painting as you go along STOP!
this is bull how can you know where you are going iI you dont have an idea in the
Iirst place oI were you are starting
the singal bigest reson paintings Iail is that there artist had no clue as to what he
or she was doing and why is that becaus they dint do the preplaning necasary to
get a clear concept going Irom day one so again this is were looking at your suject
really comes in to play by taking this time to really look closly at are subject and
to clearly draw out its Iorm we begain a prosses oI acquainting are selvs what the
subject as we draw are understanding oI the subject grows many times i Iind that
what i thought a subject was about in the Iirst place was conpleatly wrong and i
dicoverd this by looking at it and drawing it out thers a process oI dicovory that
one gose threw it can be exstrdanary it can reveal to us a chang in are aproch oI a
suject in other words well have theas begining pitures in are heads oI a painting
but as good as some oI us are at vioulising are suject its never a conpleat picture
its a piece here and thers so again by taking the time to really look at your suject
that concept in are head becaome ever more real
and on a more practical leveal there are alwas things perticulerly in photos that
are exstreamly hard to interpret so as we go and look this updats this picture in are
head and gives us time to think lagicaly about what we are seeing and there in is
the opertonity to discard certin vioul aspects oI a photo that are tricks oI the
camra and then we can aply are logic to corecting theas tricks oI the eye on the
canvas and in doing so you are creating super realsiem aprt Irom the camra and
more in the vin oI real liIe theres going to be more on this at a later time
Paul ok heres what i did today im not all that happy i had to mix up more colors
as it takes a bunch to do a pating this size and i got this idea to add a bit oI blue
but Iorgot how strong Ultra B is so my colors are a bit oII but im thinking it want
mater in the Iinal pating aslow this guy on the leIt isisnt as musculer as the on the
right so it looks a bit diIrent to me but hay it is what it is
I think I'm Iinally done with the grey layer - it was a bit easier than the umber due to the
Iamiliarity with the petals :-) but I still took my sweet time. It look most blueish in
reality. I let it dry now. I must admit that when I was ready Ior the layer, I didn't have any
onion as I used all oI it Ior the Xmas cooking and the shops were closed! So I just did the
oiling out part and will do the onion next.
How is everyone doing? Did you all gain a Iew pounds/kilos and ate yourselI to bits (as I
Detti, The small rose bud on the bottom right (((ha ha- that would be my other
right)))) ON THE LEFT. - I can not tell what it is doing. When I checked the
original reIerence photo I see it is a smaller bud with some individual petals
showing some edge-Ilip. I really think you need to identiIy each petal in the gray
layer on that one as well as you did on the big rose and the bud on the right. I
know you said you had a little trouble with it, but you have had a rest now so look
at it again. I actaull went, "Oh, WOW" when the pic opened up. Very nice job
you have going on here. The sky looks just perIect! P.S. One oI the tricks I
learned in the RT Brain book was to lay a glass on top oI the photo and trace it
with a Iine line perm.Ielt tip pen. Now lay the glass on white paper to show up
the drawing. You have turned the image into a 1D pic instead oI a 3D. Now just
draw the lines as they appear on the glass. Works great.