View Full Version : Pearl

02-09-2013, 11:20 PM
I'm starting my new commission portrait couple weeks ago. This is their newborn baby. The painting will be finished in a high dead layer (I prefer the dead layer as it won't be pure black and white).

The canvas size is 20"x16". I paint with the layered approach. I did a little experiment and modified the technique for my own purpose: as you can notice I have very light pencil sketch. The pencil sketch was covered with 2 coats of gesso. I also didn't restate my pencil sketch with permanent ink. After my gesso dried, then I did the imprimatura layer.

When it's done, I'm going to compose classical solo piano for this painting. C&C are welcomed.

The imprimatura:

The umber underlayer (still wet and unable to scan it):

02-10-2013, 05:45 AM
so beautiful! so precious! so perfect!

02-10-2013, 07:44 AM
:thumbsup: That is really good.

02-10-2013, 11:14 AM
Thank you Maryinasia and Trumper. This is still the first umber layer. Some mid-tone spots aren't correct. I want to make the baby's face lighter and the hands a bit darker. Will continue 3 more days. hehehe...

02-10-2013, 01:40 PM
Beautiful. Elegant.

02-10-2013, 03:48 PM
Very beautiful

02-15-2013, 06:10 AM
Thank you Ella and Andrew. :wink2:

Here is the next progression, the second umber layer:
C&C are welcomed. :wave:


03-01-2013, 02:33 PM
Finally today I finished the dead layer. I've been very busy lately... :envy:

After finishing this dead layer today, I think I doesn't want to finish this painting in high detailed dead layer anymore. I think I want to give it 2 or 3 color layers. Hmm.. What do you think guys? I need some opinions here. I'm not sure how to finish this painting. Should this be a black and white painting or full colored painting? The photo reference is in black and white, but I have another photo of this baby for reference which is full color.

If this will be a black and white painting, I'll put the second dead layer to enhance and paint the details. If this will be a full colored painting, I think it doesn't necessarily need 2nd dead layer. Anyone?

Thanks before.. :wave:


2 previous progression (Scan result)


03-02-2013, 07:52 PM
You could have stopped anyplace and it would have been beautiful.My own thought is that you stop here.
A color layer wold be expected.
This is elegant, different, unexpected.
I prefer this.

03-03-2013, 09:50 AM
Thanks for the advise Ella.. I think I agree with you. OK then, I'll paint one more dead layer and add the details. ^^

03-05-2013, 07:26 AM
Awwww.... This is so precious. Well done.! Debs. =)) x

03-05-2013, 09:07 AM
This is magnificant! Is this acrylic? I am fairly new at this. Without sounding ignorant, could you please explain the process to me? I do not understand the "imprimatura" nor the need for scanning. How does this help? Thanks.

03-05-2013, 08:29 PM
Thank you Debzy and Levanty for the compliment. :)

This is magnificant! Is this acrylic? I am fairly new at this. Without sounding ignorant, could you please explain the process to me? I do not understand the "imprimatura" nor the need for scanning. How does this help? Thanks.

This is oil painting. I've never done any acrylic painting before (want to try it someday :D). This is a layered approach technique. A layered approach technique is a technique which you have to wait each layer to completely dry before putting the next layer (to avoid cracking problem).

I don't know if there are several kind of layered approach techniques. But mine is the one that some people tend to call it "flemish painting".

Basically, flemish painting has 7 fundamental layers (you can modify it as you like). They are:
1. Drawing / sketching on canvas with pencil, and then we restate the drawing with ink.
2. Imprimatura layer / toning the canvas. In flemish technique, we have to tone the canvas with olive hue (it's made by mixing prussian blue, white, and yellow ochre) olive hue has greenish color.
Toning the canvas is important to protect the sketch we've already made.
3. First umber underlayer. This is the stage where we want to build forms (we can forget about the tonal value, but we must be careful not to paint too dark)
4. 2nd umber underlayer. After the form is built, we correct the tonal value.
NB: step 3-4 are done with umber paints only. Umber paints dry fast because it's earth pigment. You can use any umber paints. raw umber, raw sienna, burnt sienna, etc. I usually work with burnt umber. Basically, these two steps are our sketch layer.
5. dead layer / grisaille layer. after the umber layer is done, we restate the painting with gray mixture. There are several styles: Grisaille layer (pure black and white mixture), verdaccio (greenish mixture), and dead layer (any color mixture except pure gray and greenish i.e. brownish mixtures, reddish, etc.)
6. 1st color layer.
7. 2nd color layer.

- All layers are done thinly, translucently, allowing the previous layer(s) are a bit shown through. including step 5,6,7.
- As you progress, the next layer should contain more fat/oil than the previous layer to prevent cracking.
- Feel free to add more steps in between. i.e. adding 3rd umber layer, 2nd dead layer, 3rd/4th/5th color layers.
- For me, layered approach technique is a lot easier than a la prima, because we can focus on one thing. Layered approach is very fun to do, but it takes longer time to finish even just one painting. This is because we have to let each layer to be fully dry.

I like to scan my paintings, because I don't have any good camera. All I have is 3 MP phone camera. LOL :lol: I usually borrow my sister's SLR camera, but she lives in another city.

Well, feel free to ask if you have any further questions. :)

03-06-2013, 09:24 AM
Thank you so much for this detailed explanation. I will have to try the sketching and toning for sure. I always wondered how to protect a sketching once it was penciled in. This is truly a beautiful piece and I can see why you are a commissioned artist. Very professional! Bravo!

03-06-2013, 09:36 AM
Also it's important that you need to restate everything with permanent ink. The brush can easily wipe off the pencil mark.

There is one problem though. I think some permanent (in my case, snowman OHP marker) inks tend to travel through the oil painting surface. Try drawing pen instead (I used snowman drawing pen and it's OK). So try to experiment with those beforehand.

I don't use permanent inks anymore because i'm afraid to ruin my painting. I use the technique which I have already explained above to protect my pencil sketch. It seems to work better for me. (see the first post on this thread).

Good luck Levanty!! ^^

03-06-2013, 12:18 PM
:thumbsup: A lovely piece of work and a wonderful write up,Thanks :)

03-06-2013, 12:45 PM
Thank you Trumper, and you're welcome. :thumbsup: One thing bothering me is that I wish english was my mother language.. :(

03-07-2013, 10:33 AM
Thank you Trumper, and you're welcome. :thumbsup: One thing bothering me is that I wish english was my mother language.. :(
:clap: I never realised that it wasn't , :thumbsup:

03-15-2013, 01:32 PM
Yippee!! :clap: I've finally finished the painting... This is finished with dead layer as the finishing layer as Ella suggested. Thank you Ella!! ^^ Personally I like the effect that this layering technique has made. The brownish effect you can see there is not a color layer. Rather, it is my umber layer showing through the dead layer. :wink2:

C&C are most welcomed. Thanks :)


03-15-2013, 04:20 PM
This is incredible. Absolutely wonderful. A masterpiece. In fact, before you present it to them, I strongly suggest you have a limited edition printed, or copied, or however thay do that.
This is one of the most beautiful, touching, meaningful paintings I have ever seen.
I also strongly suggest you research copyright issues, and keep the copyrights to it. Make arrangements with the parents that they will loan it to you for further reproduction. Heck, I would be tempted to do a second one. Tell them that they get t he better one only if they agree to your terms.
ANd get good terms.
Copies of this will sell like hotcakes, especially if the editions are lmited, and the time between printings is several years.
Armada, congratulations. You have produced a beautiful work of art.

03-16-2013, 01:29 AM
Thank you Ella, but is that possible? I mean, is it okay (aesthetically) to produce the exact same painting more than one, and then sell one of them? And besides, this was from their photograph session from a photo studio. What about them (photo studio)?

03-16-2013, 04:30 AM
Feels very great today. :smug: This afternoon, an american photographer said that she had a lot clients who really wanted to commission oil paintings from photographs. And she told me that she wanted to refer me to do the job. I was very surprised. It was because this PEARL painting. She was the photographer of my reference photo and she liked my pearl painting. Never imagine this. :cat:

Anyway, this is the complete progression of this painting. I omit the imprimatura section and the drawing section.


03-16-2013, 08:44 AM
Have just finished uploading to my youtube channel. Check this out:

C&C are welcomed. :wave:

All right. Next project, I'm planning to join national newspaper painting exhibition. If they like my painting, they will sell it for me. ^^ Logitech steering wheel, I'm coming to you...... :crossfingers:

03-16-2013, 11:15 AM
:thumbsup: Composer,musician and artist ,what a talent :)

03-16-2013, 04:02 PM
LOL. I want to be able to do anything, that's for sure. ^^ Thank you by the way. :)

05-14-2013, 10:49 PM
amazing..just beautiful
the hands are so perfect

05-21-2013, 05:28 PM
It magnifies the innocence of the baby very well.