Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ghirlandaio portrait progress, close to finished

Here is the new progress! I worked a lot on the face, using a dozen or more colors and working the light tints into the midtones and the midtones into the shadows. I used a thin lead white to paint the translucent fabric on the bodice. I've mixed several different colors trying to find perfect mixtures for the hair but so far I am not satisfied so the hair is the most unfinished area. In a raking light the black background shows the areas where my sanding of the gesso was less than perfect and the effect is enhanced now because the paint is so matte. I think that once everything is finished it will have a soft sheen and scratches won't be noticeable.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What my painting setup looks like

Here is a picture I took yesterday of my setup for painting. I put my painting on an old towel so I can wipe my brush on it, it is really very handy to do that. Also on the towel are brushes, glass rod for mixing paint in small palette wells, droppers for egg mixture and distilled water, container for brush rinsing water, old jelly jar with egg mixture, and (in a plastic baggie) the dish of shell gold paint. On the right are some of my pigments in jars, the porcelain palette with lots of tiny wells for mixing up many colors at once, yogurt cups for distilled water, and the drill I used to put some of the Halloween decorations together. In the background are bits and pieces of other projects: can of varnish for the chair I am refinishing, paper mache cat in progress, and a Halloween butterfly in progress sitting on top of jars of acrylic paint.

I am posting this picture because I think it is fun to see how people work at things. If I was interested in painting (or any new skill, really) but totally new to it I would not only be interested in seeing finished work and stages of progress, but also in seeing the setup for doing the craft as well as sources for tools and supplies.

I continue to make progress with my painting; yesterday I worked on the face mostly. I mixed various colors using white, raw sienna, raw umber, burnt umber, celadonite, red ochre, vermilliion, and yellow ochre. I could have made the skin look smoother but the original showed so many hatch lines and I wanted to keep close to the original style.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ghirlandaio portrait copy progress

This photo was taken indoor, at night, using a flash, so the painting looks a little different in person. I have a lot more work to do on the face and especially on the hair, but the bodice is mostly done. The last progress on the bodice shows it more cooly green, but I warmed it up with washes of lemon ochre and raw sienna. Now it is much closer to the original, at least as viewed on my monitor.

The clasps on the bodice are painted with homemade shell gold.

The skin and hair were painted with mixtures using raw sienna, lead white, raw umber, celadonite, with vermillion and hematite also on the face.

The painting is due next week so it'll be done by then!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Recreation of an Old Master in Tempera

For my current art class assignment I had to choose a 15th century tempera painting and do my best to copy it. My choice is this portrait by Ghirlandaio from the late 15th century.

I printed a full size copy of the original, then used tracing paper to get a cartoon of the major lines. I colored on the back of the cartoon to make the cartoon function as transfer paper, then traced the lines of the cartoon onto my board. My board is tempered Masonite which I chose because I could not find untempered Masonite that was smooth on both sides. Everything I've read says untempered is better because tempered Masonite is tempered with oil but we'll see what happens.

I roughed up the Masonite with sandpaper then applied a coat of warm rabbit skin glue. After that dried I applied several coats of warm gesso made with chalk and rabbit skin glue. Once the gesso dried overnight I sanded the board smooth.

Once the drawing was on the gesso I used non-waterproof black ink to make a value drawing. I used non-waterproof so I could correct mistakes easily. I sealed the finished grisaille with a light coating of egg yolk and water mixture so the ink would not be lifted by succeeding coats of tempera.

Next I started working in color, using verona green earth for skin, and yellow ochre and umber for clothing and hair. In this picture I have started the skin and hair but not the clothing. The white chemise has undertones of other colors so I started with a darker color.

The clothing in the finished painting is green but has a definite yellow cast which is why I chose to start with ochre. This picture also shows that I started to color the necklace.

Here I have been focusing on the clothing. I decided to leave the face to last as working on the rest of the painting will give me practice handling the paint so I will be "warmed up" when I get to the face. I am still going to work on this some more because I am not completely happy with the green. On top of the yellow ochre and umber underpainting I used celadonite and lead white to render the green cloth. Then it wasn't yellow enough so I mixed another set of greens using celadonite, lead white and Naples yellow with almost pure white and yellow for the highlights. This is better, but still not quite what I was going for. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of the different layers so I don't have the progress to show. This last picture shows where I am with the painting as of this evening. I reached a point where I was only making it worse by continuing to work on it so I decided to take a break until tomorrow.

Also note that in this picture the necklace and white chemise are more finished.