Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Master Copy 2

"Nicolas Lanier after Van Dyck"
11 x 14 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

Here is another master copy I attempted after Van Dyck. Practice makes perfect and I enjoy practicing as much as I can with this technique. I have been noticing how valuable the under painting is. In the under painting stage you get all proportions and values correct, this is important when applying color in subsequent layers. It allows you to not worry about proportions or drawing and more on texture or the look you're going for. I strongly recommend trying this technique or at least doing a master copy. 

I started by drawing the shadow shapes and important landmarks. I used raw umber and no mediums. You can use a little bit of mineral spirits to make the paint glide to your liking. I tend to not use any mineral spirits and very minimal paint, almost as if I was scum-bling the paint.

Shadow Shapes Fill In
This stage I only use raw umber with 2 parts mineral spirits and 1 part linseed oil. (Not sure why the picture show the canvas warmer than it should be.) 

Under Painting
This is where most of the painting starts coming together. Spend as much as time as you need to get this stage correct. The objective is to get the values, drawing, and proportions right. Most of your painting is completed in this stage. You can start on this stage right after filling in the shadow shapes without leaving it to dry. I use 1 part of linseed oil and 2 part of mineral spirits. I am only using raw umber and white for colors.

1st Lay In
After the under painting is completed then I start glazing color. I use 1 part mineral spirit and 1 part linseed oil. Do not use a lot of paint on the brush, glaze the color to match the value that is stated in the under painting. Start this stage once the under painting is completely dry. The point of this stage is to match chroma to the value in the under painting. As stated before keep the paints fairly thin as later stages it will be thicker. Colors I used were raw umber, cadmium orange, napthol scarlet, burnt sienna, naples yellow, ivory black and titanium white. I start painting the shadows shapes first by painting the colors that belong in those specific areas. I start using ivory black to indicate the darkest dark. Once that is completed I move onto the light shapes. I started on the edges where light shapes meets with the shadow shapes. I start indicating the middle to lighter values of the chroma in the correct areas. The paints are really thin I do not put much paint on the brush which allows me to control the value and chroma. The way I paint with the brush I usually start by scum-bling back and forth without lifting from the canvas. When doing this I am only concerned of laying the paint down and not about detailed areas as it does not give me enough control to do so. Once I need to get more specific with the blends and achieve certain texture I then start to dab the brush. When dabbing I always start with a soft approach on the amount of pressure I am applying to the brush. If I press too hard in the beginning its going to give me to much paint and a stronger chroma. Its the same idea when drawing with a pencil, its all about handling it with sensitivity. 

2nd Lay In
I let the painting dry before starting this stage. You can oil out the darker areas if you need an accurate judgement of the overall values. Again I started with the darker shapes doing a final pass of ivory black. Then in the light shapes I paint in all the subtle textures in the skin tones. I indicate the highlights in the eyes. I do not use any mediums at this stage. If you do use medium just use linseed oil and no mineral spirits. I am using the same colors as stated in the previous stage. I am using very  minimal paints for certain areas. I am not scum-bling the paints as this will give it a chalky look in this stage. I am dabbing the colors to get the right texture and feel I want. As stated before I think of this as I am rendering with a pencil. The amount of pressure will dictate the value and chroma of the color. 

I challenge everyone who reads this to try it out. Very interested to see what you guys produce.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Master Copy

Master Copy From Anthony Van Dyck
11 x 14 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I've been experimenting with the Flemish technique, again. I am fascinated by the way Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck painted. There are many more other painters I look up to from the past but these two are on the top of my list. My past posts I was dabbling here and there with this technique (click here to view the one I am referring to) , I thought I made some advances but fell short once I started applying it to other paintings. These shortcomings I find very educational as they are not failures, I see them as learning of what not to do for the next painting. The two paintings I am referring to is "The Gypsy Life" and "Eve"  These two paintings were not up to my expectations. I don't dislike the paintings but to the level I want them to be, as of yet they're not there. I learned a lot from them and that is very important to point out. Since completing them I have ventured to different paintings and especially a different direction with my body of work. The new direction of work I am doing now I am wanting to mix with the Flemish technique. That being said I had to go back to the drawing board and figure this technique out. I am not saying I solved it and now I am a master at it, but I do think I am one step closer in understanding it.

In this post I will break down each stage of this technique. I copied Anthony Van Dyck's painting  'Thomas, Viscount Wentworth, later Ist Earl of Strafford' for this demo. I will share everything I learned and how I applied the paints and also mediums to the canvas. I hope you are able to learn as much as I did with this post. 

The canvas panel I used was from Dick Blick. I didn't prepare the canvas to any special modifications as this is just for practice.  I toned the canvas with raw umber and mineral spirits. In the picture above you can see how I lay out the raw umber and mineral spirits ( I circled the placements of the mineral spirits) before I rub them together with a paper towel to get an even tone.

This is how the results should look, a medium toned canvas which is not too dark or light. If you want to go darker than this you can, but be careful not going too dark. I let this dry until I start the next stage. The drying time should be quick since raw umber is the fastest drying color and also mineral spirits dry extremely quick. You can start the next stage the following day, make sure the painting is dry and does not smear off the canvas.

Once the canvas is dry I then start drawing light and shadow shapes. With this portrait Anthony Van Dyck simplified these two beautifully. I am using very little paint on my brush and drawing out the shapes to their correct placements. I am using raw umber and mineral spirits in minimal amounts. You do not need to use mineral spirits if you do not want to, as stated before raw umber dries very fast by itself.

Shadow Shapes Fill In
Once the drawing is looking somewhat like the subject I then paint in the shadow shapes or all the dark areas. I leave the light shapes and only fill in the shadow shapes. In this stage I am only using raw umber, you can mix mineral spirits if need be, especially if you have larger areas to cover. Just remember do not use large amounts of paints or large amounts of mineral spirits. You can move on to the next stage on the same day without letting it dry.

Under painting
In this stage I only paint the values in the light shapes. I do not paint in the shadow shapes just the light shapes. The whole point of this stage is to get all the values right. I use raw umber, titanium white mixed with 2 parts mineral spirits and 1 part linseed oil. I start with minimal amount of paints. painting from thin to thick. I like to keep the high lights thicker to indicate texture. I take the portrait to a finish by rendering each area in the light shapes. Trying to paint the subtle shifts between values. This is important as you are laying the blue print down for when color is added you do not have to worry about proportions and other factors as you would in the under painting stage. You are completing 85 percent of the painting in this stage.  Let the painting dry before moving onto the next stage.

1st Lay In
This stage I start by painting the darkest values first in the background as well in the shadow shapes. I apply the paints thin and build up to the consistency I want (Ivory Black, Raw Umber were used in the darks shapes). Once the darkest values are stated I move onto the middle/lighter values in the light shapes not the shadow shapes (Colors used in this stage were Cadmium Orange, Napthol Scarlet, Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow, and Titanium White). I scumble the color back and forth without lifting the brush in this stage. Applying the color in thin amounts allows me to control the value of the hue. Since the value underneath is already stated this allows me to concentrate on hue, chroma, and texture. I am using 1 part mineral spirits and 1 part linseed oil.  

2nd Lay in
After the colors are placed in their correct areas I then start taking each area to a finish. I do not scumble at this stage. I am dabbing the brush almost as if they were mini strokes.  I don't use any mediums for this, although you can use linseed oil if need be. The lights generally do not need them but at times you might. I am controlling the chroma and value of the color by just the pressure I am applying to the brush. I then do a second pass with the darks in the background and the hair, this allows me to play with edges where shadow shapes meet the light shapes. Since the shadow shapes tend to sink in more than lighter shapes you can oil in the specific area with minimal amounts of linseed oil. The important thing about this stage is to take each area to a finish and dab the paints rather than scumbling.

This painting in total took about 6 hours to complete from beginning to end. The first thing I learned from this whole experience is the underpainting stage, getting it right is essential for the rest of the painting. This stage allowed me to only worry about the drawing and value and not about color. The second thing I learned is the 2nd lay in stage. Being able to render the color with out worrying about getting the proportion right was very nice. This allowed me to just concentrate on rendering the type of texture I wanted.  As far painting handling dabbing the paints and having the correct pressure was key to getting the rendering I wanted. A great experience overall and glad I was able to document it.

Thank you for stopping by, until next time!