6.4.09

Stillness - A Timeless approach to painting.


I spent the weekend with 5 other artists practicing an old master technique under the guidance of Ryan Bongers who studied as Florence Academy and in a private Atelier. The model here was very still, meditative which could be perfectly captured using this approach. This is a close up photo taken on my blackberry. The entire painting is about 4 times large than the surface area shown here.

Palette:
One Earth tone like vandyke brown, trans red oxide or burnt umber
Ivory Black
Blue (cobalt which is fast drying or ultramarine)
Yellow Ochre
Perm Rose
White

First day:
Use lightly, neutral toned canvas
The first day or longer is spent creating a strong underdrawing in fast drying colors. (Red Oxide or Burnt Umber). I used regular oils, no medium, just terpenoid. Complete the drawing as you begin to fold in a little black or blue if you need it to make the darkest darks clearer - use color sparingly. I didn't use any blue or white (too slow drying). ** The most important thing to establish before the next step is the quality and delicacy of the terminator edges.

Beginning of Second day:
Calibrate the values: Paint the background and *shadow side*. Now it's ok to use ivory black and add a touch of the other colors on the palette to get the correct color/temperature. I added the color of the shirt early because cool reds were my slowest drying color and needed extra time to set up.

Select three values of grey skin tones to sculpt out the light side of the head. These should toggle slightly in temperature: darkest coolest light grey value, middle, warmest grey value, slightly cooler but lighter value. This part, I'd need to show you in person. Use those three to sculpt in three values and create the most accurate transitions in your drawing from the terminator, leaving the lightest light areas until later (highlights and areas around the highlights). This also leaves warm shades in the shadows. The area around the terminator should generally be from your greyest or coolest/darkest pool of lights.

Day three:
Continue building up to the lightest lights. I started to use my knowledge of juxtoposing yellows with purples, pinks, greens and blues to build up to the highlight areas. Each day, you continue to make major corrections in the drawing because we still haven't gotten to detail. Details are added during the *last* hour of final day once everything else is correct.

I find this method useful for things that have a kind of still, timeless beauty because it looks so old world european.