View Full Version : Old Milk bottle and Grapes - Incomplete WIP

03-17-2013, 06:33 PM
This is not really a WIP, it s only intended to reveal some insights into my painting method.

I shot some photos during the painting process, but soon had to give up because it was to disturbing for me. It s not only about taking a camera, point and shoot, but this was a large painting, hard to shoot, set up lighting, postprocessing in photoshop etc...And that s why I gave up, it was either painting or shooting...

Anyway, I have some photos and will explain briefly what I did.

First of all, I make a rough sketch on paper. After that I make photos of the objects I want to paint (not always all objects together), do a lot of photoshopping, only to get a good design and colorbalance. Most important for me: I got to have a good design to know more or less exactly what I will paint, composition must be 100% since I don't want to change composition during painting. Colors are a bit easier to change.
I easily spent a few days, before painting one single stroke.

I start with a white panel, make a precise linedrawing, and apply a transparent grey wash with a large brush all over the panel.
You can see the brushstrokes on the grey underpainting.
After that I start painting with black and white, but never mix the two colors.
So far all is done in acrylics.
Why not oils? Because acrylics (and any other water based paint) is for detail. Oil is for blending.
But if you are not up to make a detailed painting, you can of course start with oils and finish in oils.
But believe me, if you want detail, a waterbased paint is far more accurate and faster. Moreover you eliminate another oily greasy layer. And after applying the waterbased paint it s easy to wipe off the next oil layer when something goes wrong.
Just my idea.

This is the finished underpainting in acrylics:
I normally paint it completely in grey, but I found out that it is more difficult to paint the vivid colors on grey, and so I painted the orange, peel and grapes directly in subdued color.

Grey underpainting:


After the grey underpainting comes the first oilcolor layer.
When using color, I Always work in cooler colors. It s easy to make a cold tone warmer. Making a warm tone cooler is impossible unless you paint it over.
I also try not to paint full strength (no blacks unless I m sure that I really need black).

This is the first oil color layer, exept for a part of the cloth which is still underpainting:

1 st color layer:

Some objects (for ex the wood) are almost finished in one color layer.
That s because I paid attention to detail in the underpainting. Color is applied semi transparent.

First layer is an interaction between opaque and sem-transparent paint.
Sometimes I paint opaque (cloth), sometimes semi transparent (wood, bottle).

After the first oilcolor layer (grey underpainting is completely covered), comes a second. In case of the wood, it will have been some glazing, but the cloth is done twice in opaque color.

And so it goes on, some objects are finished in 2 colorlayers, others need a 3th or a 4th. But my shooting of the painting stopped after the first color layer for reasons I explained.

This is the finished painting (and I had to shoot it in 3 parts, because it was a bit to big to eliminate the shiny surface)

Finished painting:


A detail of underpainting :


Detail of finished painting:


BTW, I did not invent somethig here, its a technique used in the 15th century by the Flemish Primitives. But instead of acrylics, they used tempera (distemper). And of course they had a lot more work in preparing, purifying oils and grinding colors.

God saved me from this!

And to complete this incomplete WIP, a higher resolution image:


Thank you for watching.

03-17-2013, 08:28 PM

03-18-2013, 08:58 AM
Great stuff!
The underpainting could have stood on its own merits.


03-18-2013, 10:05 AM
Excellent work.
Thank your for posting

03-18-2013, 12:45 PM
Wow! This is excellent. Thank you for sharing.:)

03-19-2013, 06:26 PM
Mark...this is inspirational!! Wow!:clap:

Would you allow me to put a copy in our Hall of Fame so that others can see how it was done? It is easier to find once it's gone from the front page.

03-19-2013, 06:52 PM
Wow, really good!:) Thanks for the wip as well.:crossfingers: