Sunday, 30 November 2008
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Gloria should be making a return appearance soon with the addition of pinks and browns to the colour scheme.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Work on " Gloria" should resume next week.
I'm looking forward to the finishing layers because I have decided that I want to look at
Sfumato drawing skills next and I can't wait.
Monday, 10 November 2008
Saturday, 8 November 2008
There are also little flashes of all of the main colours in each of the shadows. It all helps to create a unified finished picture. The pencil I have used here is prismacolour Sunburst Yellow.
I think " Gloria" is finally starting to have a little life about her!
Now onwards and upwards with the orange and green.
Here we have the start of the second Dead Layer. The Terra cotta pencil has been covered with
a fine cross hatch of indigo blue. Don't be distracted by the texture of the background eventually this will be black and completely smooth because I am going to use mineral spirits and a brush to complete the effect I am after.
Why cover the Terra Cotta completely ?
Well the reference has an almost photographic black background. If I had simply used a black pencil...the result would have had a tinge of grey to it and no colour depth at all. By layering the pencils I am going to give a jewel like depth to the background that will set off the detail of the portrait.
The observant among you will have noticed that I haven't added many further shadows to the cloak or face. This is because the shadows on the figure are a very subtle green ( not an official D Layer colour ) and many of the highlights on both the face and clothing are orange.
This will be my next step.
I have started to deepen the shadows on the head dress with Slate blue.
Friday, 7 November 2008
feeling my way with the appropriate colours and partly because I am going to build up the background in three clear layers and this provides a natural break.
So..what have we added to this picture. If you remember the Penumbra colours ( white,black,red,blue) you will see that we have moved some way towards completion of the dead layer.
To the background I have added Terra cotta. I chose this rather than prismacolour crimson because I judged the pencil to be too bright.The prismacolour ochre pencils were a little too yellow for my purpose.
To the head and shadow areas I have added slate blue and periwinkle blue and to the collar,eyes and pearl I have added white.
It may seem a little strange to be adding white pencil to white paper. I could leave the highlights blank and they would perform just as well however I am using a lot of heavier colours and there will be pencil dust. This naturally will stain any areas of paper that it comes into contact with.
The white pencil will create a barrier between paper and dust and will make it much easier for me to remove any staining that occurs further down the line.
Any erasing that occurs is done with white tac...which is cheaper and more effective than putty rubber. Always remembering to press and lift rather than smooth.
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
The Flemish method is widely regarded as consisting of seven steps, working from dark to light and focusing on translucent shadows. It is the building up of the colours in many layers that gives each picture its depth.
The artist would complete a pencil drawing often on paper of the finished composition
This drawing would be transferred to the canvas...small pin pricks could be put through the lines of the drawing to create a dot to dot effect.
The punctured drawing was laid over the canvas and dusted with chalk in a
"pounce bag". This would leave a marked outline on the canvas.
The canvas would be inked. The outlines would be marked with a dark ink so that the composition could still be seen. Pencil marks would be washed away by the oils and so were useless.
Imprimatura...this is just the first oil layer. A light wash in a neutral olive/umber hue was laid over the composition. The darkness of this wash could reflect the darkness of the following picture. For lighter swathes of canvas it was kept light but Flemish painters did not reserve highlights. These are all added in the final layers.
The Umber under layer... A tonal painting of the composition is completed. This gives you the basis for all your lights and darks throughout the process.
The Dead Under layer...The aim of this layer is Penumbra. The picture should look as though it is lit by moonlight. To this end the colours used are white,light ochre,red ochre,burnt umber,blue and black. You have already chosen the tonality in the umber layer and you rely on it for the dead layer only pushing the darks and lights slightly.
First Colour Layer...Finally you get to add the colour.The idea here is to make the shadows more colourful with washes and to build up the highlights with a pastier mix of light colour( Impasto )
Finishing layer...At this stage the objects are given their final colour and shape.
Working mostly on the highest of highlights and of course the signature.
Of course this is just a rough guide. Just as many artists play with the rules these days many artists back then would have used two separate Umber layers and more of them would have completed their pictures with three, four or more coloured glazes...often with weeks of drying time in between.
Now that we have visited the Flemish technique it is time to see whether we can adapt any of this information to work in a different( not oily ) medium.
How about coloured pencil ...?
Can we use a similar technique to gain a similar depth of colour in pencil ?
Well...it has to be worth a try !
I am a working artist with an interest in the drawing and painting techniques of Past Masters.
With this blog I hope to explore some of the dark and dusty crevices of Art history and pull their
experience and knowledge kicking and screaming into the light of day.
I want to understand how I can use this information to produce my own art. How techniques that have been passed on for generations can be used and adapted to produce the best results in this one.
Do I need to stick to the rules ...?
Some of them yes...some of them no.
I hope you will enjoy this journey of exploration. We will see some old art, some new art and some art that I will probably hide behind the wardrobe because the more you paint and draw
the better you get at producing the good and the clunkingly bad.
Our first stop will be Johannes Vermeer.
How did he produce his light saturated paintings...?
More to the point.....Can I do it...?