View Full Version : "La Belle Ferroniere" WIP / Challenge

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Nathalie Chavieve
05-22-2013, 12:43 PM
Hello, dear fellow artists !

Some time ago I started to follow and participate in the thread " WIP La belle ferroniere" started by Evan 3585 and found it very exciting. Since Leonardo Da Vinci is my favorite painter and I have never tried to paint after his works ( except a few drawings) , inspired by Evan3585 and discussions on his thread, I have decided to start my own first copy of Leonardo Da Vinci "La Belle Ferroniere" and to share it with you. But also, I have got an idea, that this thread can be a place to share not only my experience, but the experinces and knowledge of the painting technique of Leonardo Da Vinci for the other artists as well. I shared this idea with Evan and Ianos dan, who is also participate in Evan's thread, and they did agree and gave me a green light . So, here we go ! Everyone welcome to participate in this thread, to start your own copies ( if you wish, of course) and share your knowledge and ideas about the painting technique and methods of the Great Master of all times!

P.S. This thread is not a competition of any kind, but a place for a discussion, exchange of the experinces, knowledge and methods of oil painting technique.

Please, visit also thread started by Evan 3585 "WIP La bell ferroniere".

Nathalie Chavieve
05-22-2013, 12:59 PM
In the process of working on this painting I will be using for reference: picture of the original painting "La Belle ferroniere", the Hahn's copy of this painting ( Internet sourses ) , a large picture of the original painting from the book by Frank Zöllner "Leonardo Da Vinci, The complete paintings and drawings" and any other information I can find in Internet and anywere else.



Nathalie Chavieve
05-22-2013, 01:20 PM
I started to work on drawing . I always make drawing in the actual size of the canvas or wood I will paint on, so for this painting I'll be using a plywood panel which I already have ( 57 x 70 cm, 23 x 28 inch ), so it's going to be just a little bit bigger than the original painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. I made an accurate drawing with as much details as possible, on thin paper, that I can transfer it later on the wood.


Nathalie Chavieve
05-22-2013, 02:32 PM
In the creation of this copy I really want to go with traditional methods of painting and preparation of wood panels and try to follow the techniques of the Old masters. So, now I have the plywood panel, but it is not ready for use. For preparation of wood panel I will use rabbit skin glue, cotton cloth and traditional gesso. I made a rabbit skin glue ( 1 part dry rabbit skin pellets + 12 parts of water, soaked over night and cooked in double boiler) and applyed to the wood in two coats from the both sides. After the wood panel was dry, I attached to it a cotton cloth with a same glue and let it to dry thoroughly over night.



Nathalie Chavieve
05-22-2013, 02:38 PM
The ready plywood panel with attached cloth.


Nathalie Chavieve
05-22-2013, 02:58 PM
When the wood panel was dry, I prepared a traditional gesso from rabbit skin glue, zinc white powder, titanium white powder, and a little bit of sugar. The zinc and titanium white powder was soaked few hours in water before mixing with glue and warming in the double boiler. I applyed 7 coats of gesso for this plywood panel, letting them dry to touch and sanding with fine sand paper very lightly inbetween coats. The wood was left to dry over night and on the next day I sanded it again with fine sand paper to the egg shell effect. After sanding I took wet clean cloth and wipe the wood again to polish just a little bit and remove the dust . Now the plywood is ready for transfering the drawing.

The plywood is very smooth , which will allow me to work in oils on very tiny details of the painting.


Nathalie Chavieve
05-22-2013, 03:11 PM
I have transfered the drawing to the plywood with carbon paper. To prevent it from washing away with a Imprimatura, I draw over trace of carbon paper with brown ink.


05-22-2013, 03:34 PM
This is great! Looking good and I love that you are showing all the steps on your process. We will all learn a lot from this:)

Nathalie Chavieve
05-22-2013, 03:37 PM
My first color layer or Imprimatura was made with Alizarin Crimson, Olive Green and little Flake white to make the Imprimatura lay even on the wood panel and to lightly cover an ink drawing . As medium I used a mixture of odorless Turpentine and Dammar varnish. It was applied in very thin coat, almost like watercolor and blended into panel with dry brushes. Now I will allow it to dry for one week or so.


Nathalie Chavieve
05-22-2013, 03:41 PM
Thank you, Evan ! I hope that you will share your experience with us too ! I am open to a new things and want to learn a different approaches to the oil painting techniques .

ianos dan
05-23-2013, 03:57 AM
I will also post in this new thread!:)
l made the drawing on a separate paper then trace it on the wood panel.
after the drawing was fixed ,l made the imprimatura with acrylics ;white ,black ,yellow ,and some vermillion.here are the stages so far:wave:http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-May-2013/1165823-006.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-May-2013/1165823-IMG510.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-May-2013/1165823-00p2.jpg

Nathalie Chavieve
05-23-2013, 11:42 AM
Thank you, ianos dan, for posting here your work in progress ! I am curious to see your next steps. What I understood from our previous discussions and following your posts on the other threads, we have very different approaches to the oil painting techniques and really would be very interesting to follow your process and methods of creation of this copy.

ianos dan
05-23-2013, 01:30 PM
Hello again ! Today l started the underpainting!l used for shadows ;black ,burnt sienna ,and a touch of raw sienna.For highlights l used white with some burnt sienna ,and for the halftones some raw sienna.
will post some photos tomorrow ,because here is getting late ,and the quality of the photos is weak . (but in this stage ,the color is not so important)http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-May-2013/1165823-Fotografie0404.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-May-2013/1165823-Fotografie0408.jpg

ianos dan
05-23-2013, 01:35 PM
Thank you Nathalie! l am also experimenting ,so feel free to do what your brain tells you :)l downloaded some images of some underpaintings by Leonardo (Adoration of Magi).and from there ,what l did is pure speculation :)
Just follow your instinct ,no one can tell the exact method of Leonardo :)

Nathalie Chavieve
05-23-2013, 03:32 PM
You did the underpainting very well, ianos dan ! I like, how you worked out all forms of the face and her eyes ! Hope you will get a better pictures later....

Nathalie Chavieve
05-23-2013, 03:46 PM
Today I was looking for the images of "La belle ferroniere" and I found this one. There is a remark in Wikipedia about "A nineteenth-century copy of La Belle Ferronničre is conserved in the Musée des beaux-arts, Chambéry, France". I was looking for this copy allover Internet, but didn't find . It could be , probably, this one .


05-23-2013, 05:53 PM
I am loving this thread, and the previous one that spawned this one. Ianos and Nathalie, thank you for all your descriptions and details, very helpful. I wish I had seen this thread earlier, then I may have joined in on this master painting. Would be a great learning experience for me. Nathalie, I have a question for you. Why do you not paint directly on the wood, but instead glue cotton canvas to the wood? Then you have the rough grain of the canvas, not smooth. So you might as well paint on stretched canvas instead?

Nathalie Chavieve
05-23-2013, 06:49 PM
Hello, Allison ! Thank you for your comments ! It is never to late to participate in this challenge : each of us have a different approaches and it can be a long term process of creating those art works, so, please, take your time and join ! There is no hurry, as it is not a competition.

First of all, I have to say, that the plywood is not a very good support for the painting on it directly, because it is not much solid and have a tendency to wrap and split. It must be prepared carefuly to prevent it from cracking as well.
If you look to my posts about preparing the plywood, you will see that I did not mention that I attached the canvas to it. It is old, very thin cotton cloth ( actually it is an old, very well washed, white sheet ), and it has very tiny grain and smooth structure. Over this cloth I applied 7 coats of traditional gesso, which covered completley all grains of the cloth and gave me absolutly smooth surface.
It is possible also to attach canvas ( raw, or even ready ), muslin to the plywood or other wood, in order to prevent it form cracking, splitting and wraping.

Of course, I can paint on canvas too, but the canvas did not have such a smooth surface like a plywood I prepared.

05-24-2013, 04:33 AM
Thank you for your quick reply. Maybe Iwill join the challenge, and make it on wood. Is it all wood that cracks morewithout canvas on it, or just plywood? I have access to some good wood here at Godsbanen, I think it is ubehandlet birch, but not sure, I will find out. Can I paint directly on that, instead of gluing canvas over it? Obviously I will gesso regardless. Another question, why gesso on both sides, I would think that would lock moisture inside.

Tonight if I havetime I will start making some drawings.

Now something funny. Not that we should use this as a reference, but I thought this was amusing and actually it shows how folds in the fabric and ribbons may look, as opposed to painted folds.

ianos dan
05-24-2013, 06:18 AM
Hello guys! l was not satisfied with the color of the original,so l made some photos after a real person. My model for La belle Feronnierre was my sister ,so l made some photos ,to provide me some good flesh tones.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-May-2013/1165823-Copy_of_Fotografie0383.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-May-2013/1165823-la_bellecor.jpg
She really has that Leonardesque look ,l made many drawings after her.
Here's my sister as La belle Feronniere:D

05-24-2013, 10:07 AM
She really has that Leonardesque look ,l made many drawings after her.
Here's my sister as La belle Feronniere:D

Fascinating! How did you shoot this so that you have only soft light on her, and the background is dark? Did you use a professional artist light at a low setting or something else? I ask because I have a tripod and professional lights, but as an amateur photographer I am not using them to full capacity. Also, although painting from life may be best, a photo like the one you made makes light and shadow very clear and understandable.

ianos dan
05-24-2013, 10:35 AM
THanks AllisonR! It was processed in Photoshop ,all the features where adjusted to look like La belle Feroninierre ,although my sister has somehow that look .
About the background; l just used an airbrush in Photoshop ,and a little play with filers and adjustments ,also in Photoshop.

ianos dan
05-24-2013, 10:39 AM
O ,l forgot to say !Very important!! It was made on a gloomy day (it was raining) so the light was very soft; also Leonardo gives some advices about painting portraits in this period of time/day ,when the light is very gentle :)

Nathalie Chavieve
05-24-2013, 10:52 AM
Allison : I think the birch wood is OK to paint on it directly, the only thing is important , if it solid wood and it must be also prepared for the painting with rabbit skin glue and gesso. Mahogany is the best for the painting. Any wood can crack and split.
Actually , I have tried to paint directly on the prepared plywood too ( small paintings ), and it seams to be OK. Plywood is quite OK to use for painting, but it must be at least 5-8 ply. Of course, you do not have to attach a cloth or canvas to the any wood, it just depend of your needs.

I never apply gesso on the back of the wood or canvas. In my post I said that I prepared the plywood with rabbit skin glue from the both sides.

Nathalie Chavieve
05-24-2013, 11:00 AM
Ianos dan : It's amazing how you sister look like La belle ferroniere ! You are very lucky to have your sister as a model for the painting.
If I remember right, Leonardo Da Vinci says, that the best time to paint is before start a nightfall : twillight, when you see the objects not very clearly.

ianos dan
05-24-2013, 03:48 PM
l've read this long time ago .not sure if it was about raining day or twillight ,but the idea was to see the soft edges and the smooth transitions from light to dark.Yes Nathalie,l'm planning to paint my sister as La belle feronnierre ,in the future,so ,Leonardo inspires me every day:).
about the wood;l was in hurry ,so l made a mistake, buying an already prepared wood,but it's okay for this purpose.Nathalie has right,the wood has to be prepared correctly ,and it has to be old and dried,so the wood would not bend or warp:)

Nathalie Chavieve
05-25-2013, 08:45 AM
Hello, everyone! I am going to travel for one week, and I don't know if I will have time and possibility to check this thread, but , please, feel free to continue to post here. I hope to see nice works here when I'll be back !

05-25-2013, 04:23 PM
Nathalie, have a good trip.

OK, I got some plywood today, cut to size. Did a quick pencil sketch and charcoal, but too late (too dark) to photograph. Have also got my rabbit skin glue pellets soaking so I can apply that tomorrow. I hope to have a finished drawing tomorrow, will post pics. I was thinking of mixing some earth colors in my final gesso layers; never done that before, any comments to that?

05-26-2013, 07:33 AM
hmm, 24 hours later and my glue pellets are still not dissolved. I used cold water, maybe I should have used warm? No time now, tonight I will cook it to 60c and then apply to my wood.

I made a quick charcoal sketch. Ugly, but it was just to get an idea of what I was looking at. Did a freehand pencil sketch. Better, but neck way too long, cheek too wide, lots of other errors. Then I made a full size pencil drawing. I wish I could say I did this totally freehand like the others, but I did not. I cheated and used A LOT of measurements. It wasn't fun, but it made an accurate drawing I feel. I also looked at the Hahn copy to see some details in the clothing, was so difficult to see in Da Vinci's original.

Also, I didn't have drawing paper that big. So I used paper that is normally for my large Epson printer. Big mistake, I could not shade in charcoal, just fell right off the coated surface. So I used pencil and did some sloppy hatching to make the shade. Next time I will buy drawing paper to size.

What is that thing behind her neck? Looks like a feather, is it fabric or hair or what? I also got lazy with the border pattern in her dress and just scribbled it in. I may regret it later but I don't think I have the patience to do half as delicately well as da vinci. I don't think the Hahn copy is very good either. Man, he must of had a very steady hand.

Here are all 3 drawings:

ianos dan
05-26-2013, 08:06 AM
Hello AllisonR!huge difference between the first 2 drawings and the last one!much better this last one ! l aslo made about 3 or four attempts untill l felt that l could transfer the drawing on the wood.it's good to make measurements ,all kinds of vertical and horizontal,diagonal lines,to help you achieve your goal(a perfect drawing).
Drawing being my passion ,l could tell from two single lines if a drawing was made freehand or tracing.
From the quality of the line (talking about the last drawing)l could tell that is traced,judging only from the first ones,both from techniqual and artistical point of view.It's not a mistake to trace ,it helps and saves time,but if you want to learn to draw ,you really have to do it measuring and checking constantly.
Since this is about painting ,and learning about Leonardo,l will make critique and recieve critique only when the color will be applied ,but it's always better to paint on a good base of drawing.
The drawing came out very nice,can't wait to see your progress:)
Keep up the good work !

ianos dan
05-26-2013, 08:19 AM
Speaking about the painting,l think she has a long hair ,it's probably her tail wraped in some material (probably a thin veil,or a piece of something )

ianos dan
05-26-2013, 12:49 PM
Here's a hair style that was very common in those days in Italy.
The drawing seems to be by Leonardo da vinci and is called La bella Principessa.
Here you cans see the tail ;http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-May-2013/1165823-la-bella-principessa--15th-century-leonardo-da-vinci.jpg

ianos dan
05-26-2013, 12:54 PM
Some photos ,better quality :),of my copyhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-May-2013/1165823-26052012355.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-May-2013/1165823-26052012352.jpg

ianos dan
05-26-2013, 12:54 PM
Sorry for that blue lighting from the window....

05-28-2013, 05:55 AM
Here's a hair style that was very common in those days in Italy.
The drawing seems to be by Leonardo da vinci and is called La bella Principessa.
Here you cans see the tail ;http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-May-2013/1165823-la-bella-principessa--15th-century-leonardo-da-vinci.jpg

This is absolutely gorgeous. Very illustrative.
Ianos, your underpainting is lovely. Her eyes and nose are perfect. I like how you added shadow from her hair over her right eye. I think it must also be in the original, but the image so dark now it is hard to see. May I say I think the thing on the top of her head looks too far right and in your version. Maybe it does not matter in this stage.

OK, I redrew my lady. I hope it is more acceptable. I would like critiques in all areas, not just on the painting.


you wrote: "Hello again ! Today l started the underpainting!l used for shadows ;black ,burnt sienna ,and a touch of raw sienna.For highlights l used white with some burnt sienna ,and for the halftones some raw sienna." What did you add to the acrylic paint to make it more translucent, so your drawing still shows? Glazing medium or matt varnish? I have a ton of acrylics, both heavy body, open and fluids. A shame I never use them anymore. So I think I will also do my wash in acrylics.

ianos dan
05-28-2013, 07:28 AM
Hello AllisonR! Yeah ,probably ,but l will make some corrections ,if i can ,in some areas ,because l've blurred the edges ,and make them soft,and keep them like this,because if are some small errors ,you can rectify them easily :).
if you want to make the imprimatura (the wash ) in acrylics ,make sure the drawing is fixed ,otherwise you will wash it away ,because of the medium (water).l used hair spray for this .(it saved me from the ink drawing).
Only the imprimatura was made in acrylics ,the painting was made after the imprimatura dried ,in oils ,no acrylics here.
So ,for the imprimatura ,l used only water and acrylics ,and for the painting over ,painting medium.
Be careful not to brush to much over the drawing ,you could wash the drawing ,even if it's fixed ,so :make a mixture and apply it ,let it dry for 20 minutes ,then repeat ,if you want ,because the danger of wash it away is sill there.
if you look careful ,l didn't make the drawing so strong,so when l applied the imprimatura ,the drawing became like a ghost ,very thin and green .l applied about 5 coats of acrylic .just to make the drawing almost invisible .
If you go for acrylics ,try to make your drawing more subtle: before fixing the drawing ,take a paper towel and go over the dark areas,because the shadows are very dark ,the drawing very strong ,and it will be visible under the oil layers.(that is your choice)
Leonardo never made shading in charcoal or ink in his drawing on the panel,the preparatory drawing where made very detailed,and kept at his side ,so ,the transferred drawing was made only in contours :)

05-28-2013, 11:15 AM
Hello AllisonR! Yeah ,probably ,but l will make some corrections ,if i can ,in some areas ,because l've blurred the edges ,and make them soft,and keep them like this,because if are some small errors ,you can rectify them easily :).
if you want to make the imprimatura (the wash ) in acrylics ,make sure the drawing is fixed ,otherwise you will wash it away ,because of the medium (water).l used hair spray for this .(it saved me from the ink drawing).
Only the imprimatura was made in acrylics ,the painting was made after the imprimatura dried ,in oils ,no acrylics here.
So ,for the imprimatura ,l used only water and acrylics ,and for the painting over ,painting medium.
Be careful not to brush to much over the drawing ,you could wash the drawing ,even if it's fixed ,so :make a mixture and apply it ,let it dry for 20 minutes ,then repeat ,if you want ,because the danger of wash it away is sill there.
if you look careful ,l didn't make the drawing so strong,so when l applied the imprimatura ,the drawing became like a ghost ,very thin and green .l applied about 5 coats of acrylic .just to make the drawing almost invisible .
If you go for acrylics ,try to make your drawing more subtle: before fixing the drawing ,take a paper towel and go over the dark areas,because the shadows are very dark ,the drawing very strong ,and it will be visible under the oil layers.(that is your choice)
Leonardo never made shading in charcoal or ink in his drawing on the panel,the preparatory drawing where made very detailed,and kept at his side ,so ,the transferred drawing was made only in contours :)

Bolding mine. This is very interesting.

Thank you for all your details. I will put carbon paper under drawing and trace, and then fix the drawing well before doing acrylic imprimatura. When you say 5 coats acrylic, make mix and apply, then dry 20 min and apply again, do you mean acrylic mixed with lots of water? If you add too much water, then the pigment load is too weak and the paint won't stay on the canvas. Why 5 times, seems like a lot, I think 1 layer would hide most of the drawing? I guess i will just have to try and then find out.

Now below you can see I made another freehand drawing. Better than the first freehand, but you can see now why I am unhappy with my drawing freehand. Forehead and cheek totally wrong angle, eyes wrong shape and too big, clothes go down way too long and everything in the clothes is in the wrong spot. UGH! So I think I will still ue my cheat drawing to transfer.


ianos dan
05-28-2013, 12:42 PM
But it's better then the first 2 ones !
About the acrylic wash :yes ,lots of water .l made several coats because l wanted to fade the drawing somehow ,because l will work extremely thin in oils ,so l don't want the drawing to see through the layers.you will see ,after the first coat ,that the acrylic paint is not so smooth and buttery like oils ,so you will need ,probably, more then one coat.
Another thing you can do ,is to trace the drawing in acrylics :pic up a small brush and a color that you want (could be some brown,or a red ) and very fluid (lots of water)acrylics.The drawing will look like a ink drawing ,depending on your tracing skills.
If you go for making the drawing with acrylics ,you don't need to fix it .Your choice:)after that ,you can use also acrylics for the wash :)

05-28-2013, 05:33 PM
Never used any white in my underpainting might have to try that sometime.
Great tips on the use for the acrylic.

05-29-2013, 02:51 AM
Another thing you can do ,is to trace the drawing in acrylics :pic up a small brush and a color that you want (could be some brown,or a red ) and very fluid (lots of water)acrylics.The drawing will look like a ink drawing ,depending on your tracing skills.
If you go for making the drawing with acrylics ,you don't need to fix it .Your choice:)after that ,you can use also acrylics for the wash :)

Sorry, but I am still confused. Put drawing on my wood, with carbon paper, trace. Then go over carbon paper line agin with acrylic? Or do you mean use a projector and only paint the lines in acrylic, not using carbon paper at all?

Also, once when I had no carbon paper, I drew all over the back of my drawing with an oil pastel stick, then traced it. I think this would also be ok.

ianos dan
05-29-2013, 06:34 AM
AllisonR! i was speaking about "inking"the transferred drawing.The drawing that you have already transferred ,you will have to fix it :
You ca fix the drawing by:-using hair spray
-drawing all the lines again in acrylics
-using waterproof ink ,or indian ink
l used hairspray ,so not inking for me.:)
After the drawing was fixed using one of this 3 examples ,you can make the imprimatura(the wash) :-acrylics

ianos dan
05-29-2013, 06:51 AM
evan3585 :you can experiment .painting the highlights in underpainting,gives you a complete "map" of all the characteristics of volumes and shapes.also .a white mixture over an already made imprimatura ,already looks like a dead layer,because white scumble over a color,will look, in it's thinner areas ,very cold.
l've just wrote about some articles about Leonardo da vinci's Madonna of the rocks,the London version ,and all the result of the microscopy ,infrared ,samples of color,and it indicates no trace of dead layer or Verdaccio.the most opaque layers are in the lights areas of the flesh ,painted over a monochromatic underpainting ,that was made only with some black and red earth type color.
Now,nothing is "nailed" here ,but you and me ,and other people interested in old painting techniques can speculate and create his own version of this beautiful painting,even if you use underpaintings with Verdaccio ,or using Dead layer,the result and you satisfaction is all that matters :)
l am not using dead layer here ,because l'm planning to make only glazes and scumbles over .if l will use a dead layer ,the layers that l will paint over ,will have to be thicker ,and more opaque ,because ,in highlights and lights ,if you don't use thicker paint,the color will look dull ,in time.
So,this will be my technique in this copy ,only thin layers of paint ,very different from the baroque era .:)

05-29-2013, 11:41 AM
l am not using dead layer here ,because l'm planning to make only glazes and scumbles over .if l will use a dead layer ,the layers that l will paint over ,will have to be thicker ,and more opaque ,because ,in highlights and lights ,if you don't use thicker paint,the color will look dull ,in time.
So,this will be my technique in this copy ,only thin layers of paint ,very different from the baroque era .:)

Ianos, you are filled with useful knowledge. You are turning out to be a good teacher for me! Interesting about the dead layer and dullness. Makes sense. I have never made an "official dead layer" - the greenish moonglow thing. I have made a grey underpainting though, with black and white, and they are obviously much cooler than an underpainting in earth tones. Actually, I usually use burnt sienna and ultramarine blue mix, so that some of my underlayer can be cooler if I use more blue, or warmer, if I use more sienna.

May I ask about your thin layers of paint. When I try to do thin layers of paint, this is what I do. Any suggestions you have will be helpful. I do the 1st layers with pigment and a bit of terp to thin it. If the color is dark, I generally glaze it on. If it is light, I generally dry brush (scumble) it on. But I can not glaze a light color on, because it looks like a stain. Unless I use a cloth diaper afterwards, to rub most of it off. In the next layers I will start adding less terp and more linseed oil. Same as before. In the final layers I may use only linseed. But I never mix more than maybe 80% linseed or terp. I try to keep as much pigment as possible. Otherwise my paint is too thinned out with the medium and does not stick well to the canvas. I don't know about wood, this is my first time using wood.

PS - I understand about the inking now. I have a few more layers gesso to do. I hope to be able to do the wash and tracing by tomorrow afternoon.

ianos dan
05-29-2013, 02:03 PM
Glazing - is about applying thin ,transparent layer over a preexisting color(in general is darker)
Scumbling -applying a opaque or semi-opaque layer of paint over e preexisting one(in general a lighter tone or color).
l think the problem is the adherence of that scumble over the layer that is dried :the dried layer is fatter? (oil relative to terp)
The dried layer is too dried ,and needs some oiling out (rub the surface with some linseed oil and then take all the excess with a clean cloth),and then try to scumble :)

05-29-2013, 03:46 PM
Evan, curious where you are at. I think in the other thread you had started the underpainting. Can you post. Have you gotten any further, or are you waiting for us slow pokes to catch up?

05-31-2013, 07:47 PM
No Im way behind on where I want to be but Im fine with that.I hope to work on it some more soon. Ive been reading what everyone has been saying and trying to decide what method I want to try. My heavy pencil marks and shading are really messing with me. Starting to think instead of a dead layer than Ill do another underlayer but with white this time and not so thin to get rid of this cursed pencil mark mistakes Ive made. Almost a habit to paint how the drawing was done is my problem.
I have started any work on the clothing yet.
Another thing is that I used only OMS on my first and that could have been a bad thing sense it can really dilute the paint causing my pencil problem. Keep in mind I used a clear acrylic to seal the pencil marks. Dont ever do that again.

Nathalie Chavieve
06-02-2013, 01:35 PM
Hello, dear fellow artists !

Finally I am home !!!! Lot of things to do after a holiday, but I am happy to be home and continue to work in my studio ! I was traveling for one week to Turkey ( Bodrum). It is a very beautiful place : the sea, landscape, people, food and everything else was fantastic. I took with me a sketch book and made a lot of sketches of different plants, trees and flowers. Some of those plants and flowers looks like if it came from the heavenly garden. I think I will use those sketches in my paintings.

I am very glad that all of you continued to post here ! Thank you !:clap::thumbsup:

Well done, Allison ! Glad that you are decided to participate in this thread!

Nathalie Chavieve
06-02-2013, 01:40 PM
[quote=AllisonR]hmm, 24 hours later and my glue pellets are still not dissolved. I used cold water, maybe I should have used warm? No time now, tonight I will cook it to 60c and then apply to my wood.

AllisonR:It is doesn't matter if it cold or hot water, the rabbit glue pellets will not dissolved in the water over night, it will just soak the water and will get a jelly structure. On the next day you have to cook it in the double boiler, but not let it to boil, and it will dissolve. It is very important not to let the glue to boil !!!!!!! Otherwise it will lose all its qualities.

Nathalie Chavieve
06-02-2013, 02:18 PM
l am not using dead layer here ,because l'm planning to make only glazes and scumbles over .if l will use a dead layer ,the layers that l will paint over ,will have to be thicker ,and more opaque ,because ,in highlights and lights ,if you don't use thicker paint,the color will look dull ,in time.
So,this will be my technique in this copy ,only thin layers of paint ,very different from the baroque era .:)[/quote]

ianos dan: I have a different opinion about dead layer/verdaccio: dead layer/verdaccio is also a part of glazing. Many artists think that the dead layer should be applied all over a desired area of the painting in very thick opaque colors and it should cover completely the underpainting. But it is not so. First of all the dead layer should be made from transparent / semitransparent colors ( never from opaque colors ) and it can be applied thinly or thickly over the desired area, letting the underpainting shows through in some areas ( depending on the artist needs) . In time, when it dries, before applying next color layer, dead layer will became more thin and transparent and it will give the opportunity to apply more transparent color layers to create an optical color mixing. For light areas color can be applied more thickly ( if need it and if artist wants ) and high lights can be made in the final color layers.

I have used dead layer in my paintings and in the light areas on the painting it didn't get dull with time.

And as I mentioned before in Evan's thread , dead layer can be made not only in a blue-greyish hues, but in any other hue, except violet . What I have seen on the photo of your painting, is a dead layer, only made from earth colors.

06-02-2013, 05:29 PM
Hello everyone. I have been working, but not posting, as WC is having problems and I was afraid if I posted our thread might get messed up like the others - threads missing, threads mixed up... Have seen 2 x's before on WC and it is not pretty.

Evan, no rush, just curious.

Nathalie, sounds like a beautiful trip. I hope you post pictures of the flower drawings you made. Put a link in this thread so we can see. I hope you visited some of the Mosques. Some are such ugly grey boxes outside, but the most exquisite delicate calligraphy inside. No images and still a truly magnificent art form.

I am leaving saturday for Tuscany! Near Sienna, one week. With a day trip to Firenze (my mom and sister will go shopping and I will go to the Uffizi.) Then 5 days in Rome. I have never been to Rome, very very excited.

I will not argue on terminology for dead layer. The word is less important than what the artist wants to do, be that an opaque or translucent layer, only earth colors or black and whites also or whatever else.

I did the carbon tracing (of my cheat drawing, not my freehand ones). My freehand drawings are improving, but not fast enough for this painting. I promise to do more and more. I enjoy drawing.

I then used 2 layers charcoal fixative. This was good. When I applied acrylic raw sienna + water, and the drawing did not pull up or smear at all.

However, the drawing was so weak I could barely see it. And I still needed more layers of sienna wash. So I did have to draw over the drawing. I wanted brown, not black india ink. So for this I used a signature brush and Golden Fluids raw umber.

**If you ever need to draw over your carbon copy, I HIGHLY recommend the Golden Fluid paint, instead of the heavy body. It has a very high pigment load, and a very low amount of medium, so you are not pushing around a bunch of thick gel with the paint, and using too much water to get it thin. Because it is naturally thin, you add less water. You get a thin, long, beautiful almost india ink or watercolor like line. And with a signature brush you can draw the longest lines without having to redip in paint. And unlike ink, you can use any golden color. I suggest you buy a tube of the fluids in raw umber or burnt sienna just to try it. Golden says they are for glazing techniques, which I have tried and think they are actually very poor at that. But they are great for drawing lines with.

I also used the fluid raw sienna to wash over the canvas, twice, which was a mistake because it was totally streeky. So for the 3rd layer of wash I switched to heavy body, using raw sienna, and some chrome oxide green and crimson red to darken it. It is OK now. Next step is switch to oils for my underpainting. No pictures, too late at night.

ianos dan
06-03-2013, 04:23 AM
Yeah Nathalie ,is a monochromatic underpainting ,but could be a dead layer ,if you like :).

ianos dan
06-03-2013, 04:26 AM
Nathalie Chavieve ,glad you're home ,back to painting ,l'm still painting on my Vlad ,hope to have some time for La belle Feronnierre copy:)

06-03-2013, 06:26 AM
I decided to give in and go with a dead layer. The pencil marks are just too dark. Even on this first dead layer I can see the pencil in spots but at least it helped. I want to make sure that when I start the color layers none or almost no pencil is showing. Its practice and next time Im going to make sure to not have that problem. Goodbye clear acrylic gesso! Will be doing ianos dan method for the pencil and imprimatura next time and keep the drawing more simple also.
Here is what Ive done so far. Will prob do another dead layer to fix, correct and all that good stuff.
I will see if I can get a close up image. Camera glare/flash is a pain as Im sure you all know.


ianos dan
06-03-2013, 08:23 AM
Man Evan !!!that look's great in this stage! you have corrected all that small problems you had ,and in this stage ,looks already good:)
Like the dead layer ,versus the imprimatura and the pencil marks :)
Beautiful !

Nathalie Chavieve
06-03-2013, 09:14 AM
ianos dan :

Thank you ianos dan. It is nice to be home !

I don't mind how to call the underpainting : monochromatic , dead layer, verdaccio and etc. , mostly it has the same purpose.:)

Nathalie Chavieve
06-03-2013, 09:34 AM
evan : Well done, Evan ! Hopefully you will get a better photo soon.

It is a problem when you take a photo with flash. When I am taking the pictures of my art works, I never use flash, instead of flash I am taking pictures during the day time with natural light.

In my opinion it was unneccesary to do dead layer on the hair: it was very well done in the underpainting ( I remember it from your thread ) and it could be worked more straight with color.....but it just my thought......

Nathalie Chavieve
06-03-2013, 09:47 AM
Allison : Yes, Allison, it was a very pleasant trip.

Italy is a beautiful country, full of history and fantastic museums , I am sure you will like it alot. Rome and Florence is very beautiful places. ( probably will be very hot in Rome and Florence ! ). I was in Rome many times, but in Florence only once and we were just driving through and only stopped for one hour. I hope some day I will go there again for a few days !

Looking forward to see the photos of your painting in progress.

I'll start to work on my copy too......

Nathalie Chavieve
06-03-2013, 10:01 AM
Some time ago I was wondering about how to take a good pictures of my paintings, because I also struggled with a poor quality of the photos I was taking from my art works and I have contacted a professional photographer Murray Bloom. He was very kind and sent me this advice. I hope it will help you too.

P.S. I post this tip here in order to help, but I hope it will not become the theme of discussion . Thank you.

Here's the text:

"There's been considerable confusion about the best way to photograph your art. I've made hundreds of image copies over the years and I thought I'd take the time to describe a method and the materials that will give you a good result every time, without costing arms and legs. You might want to print this out for reference, because it will be fairly long. Also, I'm going to assume that you haven't got a lot of expensive photo gear, nor do you want to buy it. And, for the purpose of this discussion, I'm going to assume that your art is flat, or in low to moderate relief.

The Equipment:

First, I'll assume that you have a camera. While point and shoot cameras will work, what you really want is a DSLR that's got at least about a 10 megapixel sensor. More megapixels is better and they're getting cheaper every day. The reasons I recommend a DSLR are several, including better optics, lens interchangeability, more and more easily accessible functions, like manual focus, aperture control, and others.

Use a lens that's well-suited to the job, and use it correctly. While a macro lens is best because of its inherent close-up sharpness and flatness of field, you can successfully use almost any lens. If it's a zoom lens, set it somewhere near the middle of its zoom range and leave it there. You'll adjust the framing by moving the camera, not by zooming. Why, you ask? Because zooms have less geometric distortion near the center of their range, and are usually most sharp there, too.

Next, you have a choice. Either a tripod or copy stand is essential. If all you're going to use the tripod for is copying art, you can get away with a fairly inexpensive one, since it won't get any rough use and will still hold the camera steady. But, if you want to shoot with a tripod in the field, get one that's substantial and rock steady, even in windy environments. Either a 3-axis (standard) or ball-type head will work, but I prefer the traditional 3-axis head for copy work because fine adjustments are easier and repeatable.

A copy stand is a specialized type of tripod, typically with a baseboard and a vertical column which supports the camera mount. Copy stands can be purchased relatively inexpensively on eBay, from online sellers, or at camera shops (ask about used ones). You'll want one where the column will elevate the camera at least about two feet for paintings, or less for small items like jewelry and small or miniature paintings. Now here's a trick you may not be aware of. If you own a tripod, you can invert the elevator column. Simple remove the column and stick it back in from the bottom so that the camera hangs between the tripod's legs. You now have a three-legged copy stand!

Invest in a cheap pair of photo lamps, reflector type, with stands. You can use clamp-type reflector lamps (mounted on chairs, or whatever you have), but light stands are so much easier to use, and again, there are cheap ones out there. I don't recommend shooting art outdoors. You want control of the light, and sunlight is very variable when it comes to intensity and hue.

The Procedure:

Mount your art on a wall or place it on the bottom of the copy stand (or a hard floor if you're using the tripod trick). Make sure it is flat against the wall or floor. If you're using a wall, the art doesn't have to be exactly level. Now go get your camera and tripod, or simply attach the camera to your copy stand. The important thing is that the camera be positioned so that the lens is as close to being centered on the image as possible. That is important. Now here's the catch for tripod users. The camera must be perfectly vertical. Many tripods have a bubble level to verify this, but you can either buy a bubble level (they're really cheap), or simply eyeball the camera to level it. The lens should be pointing straight sideways (downward with the tripod trick). If you have a copy stand, it should level the camera automatically.

Now frame the image by moving the camera closer or further away from the art as required, keeping its borders just inside the visible frame in the viewfinder or LCD screen. Avoid zooming for all but final framing adjustments. Also avoid using the tripod head's adjustments. If you have to re-center the image, move the tripod and/or change the height of the center column. Turning or tipping the camera introduces 'keystoning,' which means that your image will taper toward one end. Side-to side tilt adjustments are okay. The camera lens must remain perpendicular to the art in all planes.

Now, get your lights. Position one on each (opposite) side of the art. They should be about 45-degrees from the artwork; in other words, as far from the wall (or baseboard or floor) as they are from the art. Move the lamps back far enough to evenly illuminate the art. Do this one lamp at a time and expect one side to be slightly brighter because it's closer to the lamp. The opposing lamps will compensate for this. The angle will keep you from getting glare from reflected light. You can use photo bulbs if you want, but the truth is, with digital cameras, any popular kind of bulb will work (tungsten or quartz). I'd avoid fluorescent lamps, though, even CFLs. The problem is that they flicker and are very sensitive to electrical fluctuations. Just make sure that you use the same type and wattage bulb in each reflector. Also, they don't have to be high power bulbs. 60-watts will probably be enough, maybe more for really large art where the lamps will have to be very far away to ensure coverage; and conversely, less for small art. You also don't to pour a lot of high-wattage light on your art because their heat can cause warping or popping.

Okay, now you have your art well-lit and ready to photograph. But there's something else to consider, color temperature (white balance). Digital cameras all have an automatic white balance setting. Don't use it if you can avoid it. If your camera has a custom white balance feature (most do), learn how to use that, instead. The reason not to use AWB is that it tries to make your picture neutral gray overall. This means that if your art is predominantly blue, the camera will add yellow, if your art is green, the camera will add magenta, etc. Custom white balance adjusts the camera to the light, not the art. Basically, what you'll be doing (check your camera's manual for specifics) is to put a white or gray surface (I use white mat board) in front of the art (draw a few black lines on it to give your camera something to focus on). Next, you'll take a reading with your camera (like taking a picture). This tells the camera all it needs to know about the color of the light and it will adjust itself to the best setting. Once you've set the white balance, you're ready to start shooting. Note, once you've reached this point, you can photograph multiple pieces of art by simply substituting one for another. The color of the art won't matter.

When shooting your artwork, vibration is the enemy. Ideally, you'll want to use a remote release to trigger the camera, whether a cable, wired, or wireless type. If you don't have any of those, don't fret. You can use the camera's self timer feature to delay the shot until any vibration from touching the camera has settled down. If your camera has a provision to lock its mirror up, use it.

So, your camera is pointed perfectly at the art and your lighting is flawless. It's time to focus. Most auto-focus systems are pretty good, nowadays, but I still prefer to focus manually when copying art. You can do either, depending on your comfort level and how good your camera's optical viewfinder is when it comes to critical focusing. Don't manually focus with an LCD screen, let your camera do it.

As for camera settings, I recommend that you shoot in Aperture Priority mode. Set your f-stop to f8, since most lenses are sharpest at or about this setting, and it will also handle a reasonable amount of relief in the artwork. Now, after you've done all the work to get to this point, you want to ensure that you get a good exposure. Since your camera will adjust itself to the brightness of your art, you'll want to make some alternate exposures to be sure you get a shot which is faithful to the subject's overall brightness. This is known as 'bracketing.' It's easy to do, as all digital cameras permit you to make exposure adjustments. I recommend that you shoot five exposures, using the exposure adjustments to cover a range of -1, -.5, 0, +.5 and +1 on the scale. If your art is extremely bright or dark, you may want to extend this range even further. Use a relatively low ISO setting, 200 or less. This will keep your camera from generating noise in the image.

If you've followed these instructions, your camera will now be filled with excellent copy images ready to import to your computer for final tweaking (cropping, color correction if necessary, tonal adjustments), since the reality is that no camera is perfect in all respects.

Now, you will have images that accurately reflect your art and will meet all POD standards.

Happy Shooting!"

06-03-2013, 10:16 AM
Evan, I bet you are glad about your dead layer. It looks really good. You fixed the width of her nose and the chin, her eyes have life in them, even at this stage.

About the clear gel, I wouldn't use either. I did my version of ianos dans - you can see here. The first is my 1st wash of Golden Fluid acrylic raw sienna - you see how streeky it is? I think the fluids are wrong for this. But then I "inked" the drawing on top, with fluid acrylic raw umber, and am very very pleased with how easy it was to draw with. Ha, I can see now I forgot that jewel on her forehead.

Then I did another layer raw sienna in the opposite direction, which just made it a patchwork of streaks. Then I switched to heavy body acrylics and different color and did one more layer, but it is still blotchy.

I think next time I will either make the carbon drawing much darker, so I only have to fix it and not ink over it. And go straight to oils. Or I will ink over first with the fluid acrylics, and then immediately switch to oils to do the sienna wash - I think oils will be much more smooth and well blended and not blotchy. The acrylics just dry way too fast and do not blend.

ianos dan
06-03-2013, 02:03 PM
Nice explanation about how to take good pictures Nathalie !yes ,in general it has the same purpose ,it's like a map ,to better control your tonal shifts and values,as well as to use it for depth and translucency .in general ,Leonardo was smart enough to use the underpainting ,and not to cover it; from my personal searching in his technique ,l found that the underpainting was used at it;s "full capacity " ,using over only scumbles and glazes.
AllisonR; Nice imprimatura ,l see you choose a warm color ,l like the hue ,it could help you a lot in your shadows and blouse.if you want the acrylic paint to be smoothly applied ,try to work with the biggest brush you have in your studio ,and keep it very very thin.Also ,try to brush in a single direction,and the next coat ,or layer ,to be brushed in the opposite direction .of course ,the acrylic is not oil ,you cannot blend the way you make with oils ,but it's okay for imprimatura.
l made a photo of my copy;l didn't work on it ,but just to keep this interesting thread more interactive ,l have posted my very dried painting :). The strong lights are now more "melted" and the transitions more subtle.Sound scary ,but initially ,l wanted to make the underpainting in acrylics :)))LOL.l made an underpainting in acrylics ,and it worked ,but you need a lot of patience . http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Jun-2013/1165823-002.jpg:D

Nathalie Chavieve
06-03-2013, 03:47 PM
Nice drawing, Allison. I wonder if the second layer of Imprimatura is not too dark ?

I have never tried acrylics, I had a doubt about how to use it, and now I see that it is quiet difficult medium to use for blending. What about water mixable oils ? Have anyone tried those for underpainting or other purpose ?

I started to work on my copy today. May be tomorrow I will post the picture:wink2:

Nathalie Chavieve
06-03-2013, 03:51 PM
ianos dan : How long do you allow painting to dry before applying next color layer ?

ianos dan
06-03-2013, 04:09 PM
Nathalie: it depends, it could stay even a month without painting over,and sometimes l work immediately on it ,not a rule ,but it depends on technique ,dimensions,mood,and ,of course ,the time allocated to this .

Nathalie Chavieve
06-04-2013, 07:44 AM
Few days ago I found this picture of "La belle ferroniere" . It has lot of light in it and it gives the opportunity to see better some details of the dress, hair.


Nathalie Chavieve
06-04-2013, 09:37 AM
Today I finished to work on the underpainting of my copy. It was dried for two weeks - more then usual, because I was traveling. I call this color layer Umber layer (underpainting) because usually I make it in Burnt Umber, but for this painting I decided to make a mixture of Alizarin Crimson and Olive Green ( the same mixture as for Imprimatura, but darker and more brownish ) and for skin tone I used pure Flake White. Before I started to work on panel I scrab it lightly with kind of blade in purpose to remove dust and excessive paint. After the panel was cleaned , I oiled it with linseed oil and wiped of the excessive oil. The brown color was applied in washes, almost like a watercolor with lot of medium , with a small round brush and then blended first with a medium size flat brush and finally with large fluffy brush.
I worked on this color layer for few hours, trying to get the face and her expression right. Most difficult part for me was her lips : I couldn't get a same "smile" like on the original. Now, I think, it look more or less OK, but still, I am not satisfied with it 100 %. Hope in the next color layer it will get better.
Now this underpainting is done and I'll let it to dry for one - three weeks ( one or two I guess, because it is very hot here now, and it will dry quicker ).

Please, any comments, critiques and suggestions are very welcome!


Nathalie Chavieve
06-04-2013, 09:40 AM
More close picture:


ianos dan
06-04-2013, 01:33 PM
Nathalie ,your underpainting looks great ! l think the eyes are slightly different in shape than the original .also in your version she's looking in to the right side ,the pupils are in the corner of the eye ,where in the original ,she's looking more in front ,not extreme to the right.
But ,besides all this small details ,the underpainting is beautifully done:).
like l said some time ago ,we all make some small interpretations in our copies

06-04-2013, 05:38 PM
Nathalie, fun to see your version and how different it is from each others. Yes, it does look sort of like a watercolor. May I ask what medium you used to thin your paint? She looks lovely.

I agree with Ianos, eyes are looking too far to right and shape of left eye, should be more foreshortened than right eye.

OHH Yes, now I understand! Your picture, and the lighter copy, makes me see that the 2 bands of neckalace go down through the center of that fabric thing. For some reason I thought the necklace went behind the fabric. It makes sense now. I will have to fix mine.

About acrylics, I have used for years. There are "Open" acrylics, which stay wet longer than regular acrylic. So they blend better. But still, they are not like oils at all. Oils glide across the canvas, and truly smear and blend the edges. The "open" acrylics more pull across the canvas, and blend only when you push them into each other with effort. However, for not this kind of painting, but different kind, acrylics are much better than oils. For example paintings with tons of texture and where you play with gloss and matt in the same painting. When I started painting in a classical style, I still used acrylics, because I had never used oils. I did this painting, of my son, all in acrylics. But then I knew it was fighting with the medium, and if was to continue this type of painting, then I had to switch to oils. So I did in December, and am very happy, because I have a lot to learn but I am no longer fighting with my paint.


06-04-2013, 05:43 PM
And now, 11 hours later, I have my underpainting done. Excuse the horrid image and flash, it looks a lot better but it is late at night now, so no good photos. But I was so excited to be finally done with this stage that I had to share.

I can see I foreshortened her eye too much. And something is wrong with the nose. And mouth maybe curves up too much on ends? What else needs fixing?



06-04-2013, 06:38 PM
I can see the back of her dress in that brighter image now. Ill have to make some changes now because I was going to just make it very dark.
Great work Im seeing so far.
After looking at dead layer of Allisons and advice I read earlier I prob should have left the hair how I had it instead of making a dead layer for it. Oh well it should still work out just extra work for me. When I think dead layer I think to do the entire painting but maybe that isnt really necessary I see.

06-05-2013, 10:37 AM
I fixed the nose a bit, and added the necklace in the fabric thing. And took a photo during the day, which should be better.
Nathalie,in a week when your underpainting is dry, what will you do? Will you make a dead layer, or go right to color, or...?

Nathalie Chavieve
06-05-2013, 12:09 PM
ianos dan : Thank you, ianos dan, for pointing those little problems, I will fix it later. Actually, I want to say, because I used for this color layer a paint almost like a watercolor, it was quite difficult to control it, and when I made this underpainting, of course I try to be as close as possible to the original , but with possibilities to make an adjustments in the next layer.

Nathalie Chavieve
06-05-2013, 12:22 PM
Allison : For this color layer I used medium which I prepared by myself ( as the all mediums I use ): it made from Turpentine (2 parts) and Dammar varnish ( 1 part ).

I do not know yet, what will be the next step, but definetely not straight to the color. I think , I'll not make a dead layer. Probably I go with a light Verdaccio layer for the skin tone and I want to do some more work on the details of the dress with Burnt Umber ( or another similar color ).

You copy looks very nice. The only thing I want to say that I find the eye shadows are too dark compare to other shadows on the face and shoulders.
Oh, and the tip of the nose may be too wide .......

Nathalie Chavieve
06-05-2013, 12:51 PM
Evan : Sometimes it is necessary to do dead layer over the whole painting, sometimes not. It is up to the artist and effect he(she) wants to achieve .

06-07-2013, 11:09 AM
Well I am off to Rome shortly. I look forward to seeing my family, who is coming from Texas ad Georgia, as well as the 4 of us.

I will be glad to see some progress on this thread when I am back home. Nathalie, I look forward to your Verdaccio treatment of her face, and your details in the clothes. Burnt umber, interesting, I imagine it will give a cool brown which will contrast nicely with the warm browns and reds that will follow.

Thank you for the crits - I agree my eye shadows too dark and nose missing some shadow right above the tip, making it look wide and flat.

I have a bottle of Dammar varnish, unopened. I forgot what I bought it for, and now can't find a use for it. Does anyone know if it could it be used well, with linseed, as a final oiling out medium?

Ianos, your new photo is good. You have made her mouth perfect, and shape and shadow of nose also.Will you do more on her clothes, or go right to color?

ianos dan
06-07-2013, 11:35 AM
AllisonR:thanks ! l will make something down there ,but more like a suggestion ,not all the details,probably a vermillion over a monochromatic underpainting,and then ,directly the local color .

Nathalie Chavieve
06-07-2013, 12:12 PM
Allison : Have a pleasant and safe trip to Rome!

Dammar varnish can be used with Turpentine and Linseed oil as well : for mixing mediums for Imprimatura, underpainting and the last color layers . It is also used as a final varnish for oil paintings ( only Dammar varnish without mixing ). I do not think it is good to use dammar varnish for oiling out during the process of the painting, better to use Retouching varnish .

Nathalie Chavieve
06-10-2013, 12:23 PM
Hello, everybody !!! It is so quiet here :crying: !!!!!! Ianos dan, Evan ! Any news lately ? Any progress with your copies ? My copy was dried for one week now and I will let it dry one week more before I can continue to work on it.

ianos dan
06-11-2013, 09:48 AM
Hello guys ! we are here Nathalie :)! l worked yesterday on this copy ,l made a scumble on the face and applied some colors over the painting.
So: l made a scumble over the face ,a mixture of white and raw umber,the hair received a glaze composed from black and raw umber,scumble over the highlights ,only made from raw umber.The background received a glaze made from black and burnt umber.
The clothing was made with vermillion and burnt sienna ,(only glaze). http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Jun-2013/1165823-SAM_r0447.jpg

ianos dan
06-11-2013, 10:02 AM
Sorry for the flash light ,but this is how the color looks in reality ,the previous picture looks to white.:Dhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Jun-2013/1165823-SAM_r0445.jpg

Nathalie Chavieve
06-11-2013, 06:02 PM
Well done, Ianos dan ! The first picture looks really very pale, the second is much better, but it's pity there is a flash. I think you going to end up with a very nice painting........Love her hair - beautifuly done !
I wonder, what is the size of your copy ? ( Just curiousity ).
How many color layers you are planing to apply ( or think you will apply ? )

Nathalie Chavieve
06-11-2013, 06:20 PM
You know, ianos dan, I am always interested to look how other artist handle the hair in the painting. I think to paint a realistic hair is not an easy task to complete. In my opinion, you have done it , at this point, very well. Important thing not over work it.

In some of my paintings, which was primed with golden color Imprimatura, I used for underpainting of the hair Burnt Umber, with continuing to adding some Ivory Black in the next layers. The golden color of Imprimatura was helping me a lot to achive the light of the highlights and the final effect was beautiful.

ianos dan
06-12-2013, 02:49 AM
Thanks Nathalie ! l don't really know exactly how many layers will be,but for the face ,there will be necessary some ,l could tell for sure :).Another thing is that there will be only glazes on the face ,probably some scumbles ,so ;for this painting l will try not to work very opaque.
The size of the panel is about 32/25cm ,don't know in inches :).
You're right ,in fact if you look closer to paintings from Renaissance ,and not only ,the hair ,is in fact made with minimum amount of color (not speaking about a Rubens or Velasquez),the secret is in drawing .
So excited to see yours and Evan's ,and AllisonsR's progress :thumbsup:

Nathalie Chavieve
06-12-2013, 10:57 AM
I will start to work on my copy only next week or may be on weekend - I want it will dry properly.

Yesterday I have got an idea : I understand that you can use Photoshop very well and I thought that you can take all of your images of your painting from the very begining ( drawing, transfered drawing on wood, imprimatura and etc. up to the latest image) and put it in one line so it will be possible to post it in one post. And you can do it with my painting and the paintings of Evan and Allison ( if they give you permission, of course ). It can give us some kind of retrospective of the progress in each work for this time and we can observe and compare our works. Of course, I have to ask , if you can do it and if it not too much work to do and it will not bother you ?

ianos dan
06-12-2013, 11:21 AM
sure :)when we will finish ,l can make a kind of step by step in pictures of all our painting progress.
you will have to ask Evan and AllisonR ,if they agree,then all it's solved :).

Nathalie Chavieve
06-12-2013, 11:51 AM
Very well ! I'll ask Evand and Allison : But I thought, it can be done even now ( not immediately, but next week , for instance : I want to finish the verdaccio layer first) because all of our works more or less now in the same stage : in a middle , I would say....so it could be also interesting to see this kind of step by step progress... And at the end of this challenge do the complete step by step demonstration of each artist.

Sorry, that I am asking you for this favor, but unfortunately I can't do much with Photoshop, otherwise I would do it by myself.
Any way, if you do not feel like to do or do not have time - is not a problem.

ianos dan
06-12-2013, 12:16 PM
Okay.l will make it!
you can post the photos here,if you have more :)

Nathalie Chavieve
06-12-2013, 12:53 PM
I'll have more picture only next week, when I will finish the verdaccio layer....

06-12-2013, 11:03 PM
Looks great so far ianos dan.
I have no prob with a step by step or anything that is done too my images.
I know some Photoshop and could do my own unless you would like to do them all. Up to you not a problem either way:)

I hope to start dead layer for clothing and 2nd dead layer for a few parts of the face soon.

Nathalie Chavieve
06-15-2013, 12:15 PM
Hello, everyone !
Well, of course, Evan, you can do step by step demo . May be, Allison also know to work with Photoshop, I just didn't think about it:confused:......But anyway, lets wait until next week.

Looking forward to see the next step in your copy, Evan !

Nathalie Chavieve
06-15-2013, 12:21 PM
ianos dan : Just looked at the image of "La belle....." in Evan's thread which you altered in Photoshop : could you, please, post it here too ?

Do you really think, that her eyes was blue ?

ianos dan
06-17-2013, 03:26 AM
Hello Nathalie! l don't think she had blue eyes ,probably an interesting hue ,don't know exactly,but this is what l came with ,going all over the face with some layers ,and probably l made some blueish hue ,trying to bring back the color of the eye ,it's whiteness ,that in the original ,is lost :).
Okay ,l will post here ,if it helps ,to keep both threads updated :)
please tell me what do you want me to do with your pictures of your work in progress; do you want me to put them side by side ,like l did with my copy of Mona Lisa ,l mean ,the drawing first ,the traced one ,the imprimatura ,and the umber layer,or do you want to put our copies side by side, for comparison ?

ianos dan
06-17-2013, 03:51 AM
Le belle Ferronierre ,Photoshop retouch :thumbsup:http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jun-2013/1165823-1165823-restored2.jpg

ianos dan
06-17-2013, 01:43 PM
Today l worked a little bit at La belle Feronnierre . l used white ,and Madder Lake for the lighter areas of the face ,and the shadows with black and burnt sienna .

Nathalie Chavieve
06-17-2013, 05:41 PM
ianos dan : it is not very good photo and the colors are hard to see, which is pity . I hope you can take a better picture to show the colors. I have to admit that the resemblance of the face with original painting is very well executed at this stage .

Probably you can arrange pictures in the same way you did with Mona lisa painting ? What do you think ? I really do not want we'll have a feeling that we are competing with each other, and my idea is just to compare our techniques and approaches to the painting process for this moment.
I am going to work on my copy today, so I will post the picture may be today or tomorow : depends how it will goes

ianos dan
06-18-2013, 08:47 AM
Yeah ,the colors are not the true ones ,but l will try to make some quality pictures next time.
I will wait for you to post the dead layer ,or a second umber layer,and l will make your own WIP image :).you can post even unfinished stage ,it will look very cool :)

Nathalie Chavieve
06-20-2013, 05:56 AM
Finally I am done with Verdaccio and first color layer of the dress !

I made a Verdaccio with Flake white, Earth green and Lamp black. Background was done in pure Burnt umber. For dress color I used mixture of Vermillion and Burnt sienna, for yellow strips : Velmillion + Yellow ochre. Bows and ribbons are painted with mixture of Flake white, Burnt umber and Lamp black.

Please, note, that the color on this picture ( at least what show my monitor) apear little greyish.


Nathalie Chavieve
06-20-2013, 06:00 AM
More close pictures:More close pictures:


Nathalie Chavieve
06-20-2013, 06:05 AM
Here is one more picture which is little bit more dark .

(I wish I could have a professional equipment to take a very good pictures of my works ! :crying: )


06-21-2013, 01:24 AM
Like what I'm seeing so far!
I have been on hold on my version for a while. Working on a large 2 person portrait that hes looking to get done asap. Not sure how long that will take.
One thing that sucks was I had all my dead layer paints saved in my fridge and now I know they will be dry by then. Oh well. Ill have to mix a new batch.

06-21-2013, 05:51 AM
Hello everybody. I am home. Wonderful trip with my family. Have been to Uffizi in Florence (2nd time), all Vatican museums and of course Sistine Chapel, Borghese Museum, and countless churches, also St. Peters.

For me, one of the most fascinating things that you see in person but does not show so well in flat internet pictures is the foreshortening and perspective of people and "fake sculptures" along curved walls. I am standing below a curved ceiling, looking up at the "bottom" of a person or angel or sculpture, flying above me. I see the heels of their feet, big, and body goes up getting smaller, I see their head from under their chin... So the painting appears even higher and moves through space even more than it should. Exaggerated. I am sure if I could fly up the wall to be even with it, the painting would be all distorted. What is fascinating is that the painters know how to paint these figures in this crazy perspective, without photoshop, cad programs... How they did it seems magical to me.

I also loved (and my 6 year old daughter loved as well) all the "fake sculptures" - in fact painting of sculptures, with fake shadows on the wall, so from a distance it looked like a real sculpture. These "sculptures" are very creative, maybe holding up a real painting, or holding up a "fake archway or moulding or or fake marble or fake curtain" - which is also a painting, not a real moulding or marble arch or curtain. Tromp de l'oeil at it's very best.

I hope this makes sense.

06-21-2013, 06:13 AM
Now back to work.
Nathalie, a good idea about a photo sequence. Ianos dan can use my photos, no problem, or I can make the sequence myself; i've been using Photoshop since version 2.0 (before layers!). I think it makes more sense to wait until we are all finished though.

What I do now to compare, quite obvious, is to just open multiple windows in my browser. For example this thread page 4 bottom and this thread page 6 middle, to compare Ianos dans painting before and after his 1st scumble-glaze layers. Then I look at his painting page 6 and another window his painting page 7 to compare his changes. Very useful. Lets me see that Ianos makes a slightly cool face, then makes a warm face in the next layer. And a question for Ianos Dan - after scumbling the lights, did not the "lines" get too light? I mean like crease in eyelid line, eyebrows, line between the lips.... Did you then darken them again with your black and burnt sienna?

Nathalie, I like your progress very much. You have a lot of color contrasts, especially in your clothing, which I find interesting at this stage. I may copy. I think it will help your final painting, as you can always neutralize contrast colors, but harder to add contrast/saturation to dull areas. Yes, no, what do you think? Also, in my opinion, your face is more rounded, curved, more perspective than Ianos dans and mine, our faces look more flat. I think your cheeck shadows, chin and neck shadows are helping!

Not sure if I can work on mine today, want to finish my stupid drum painting.

ianos dan
06-21-2013, 10:14 AM
Hello guys ! Very very good job Nathalie with the dead layer ,or Verdaccio ,l like that you have treated the clothing in a very thin layer of paint.also ,the eyes are much better now .
l made the photo editing in Photoshop for you ,and here's the result .l will make mine ,but l don;t have a decent photo for this stage ,l'll think about it :)
So ,Nathalie ,here's your work in progress in one image;http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Jun-2013/1165823-nathalie.jpg

ianos dan
06-21-2013, 10:28 AM
Hello AllisonR ! Glad you're back ,and very happy with your trip in Italy (l have to see the Sixtine Chapel one day).
You're right .l made the white scumble all over the face ,to obtain greys ,it's a venetian method of painting:). Than l reworked the features again with darker colors.it needs more glazing and scumble to have that contrast (that is in the original painting),but l will work again when l will have time.an art restorer said that Leonardo worked from dark to very dark and extremely dark.(in order to achieve that sfumato effect and that smooth gradation from dark to light)

ianos dan
06-21-2013, 11:05 AM
Here is mine :)http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Jun-2013/1165823-Untitled-3.jpg

Nathalie Chavieve
06-21-2013, 11:06 AM
Evan : Thank you , Evan ! Hopefully you will do your copy of "La Belle.." some day, we are all waiting to see your progress !

Nathalie Chavieve
06-21-2013, 11:10 AM
Allison : Glad you're back ! I believe that your trip was wonderful ! I do agree with you, that to see paintings or frescos in real life is completely differen from seeing it in internet. I think when you see a work of art in real life - you get a very personal connection with it , you can feel and understand it, you can observe and be drawn into the emotions of this artwork. When you see it on Internet - it just a picture....

Thank you, Allison. I was working a lot , to get more or less everything right ... I am quiet satisfied with the result. I think, Ianos dan, did also very nice work, but the problem is in a quality of the pictures he took...:clear:. Your copy looks nice too, but you just started and you have more work to do.....

About contrast. Usually I do more Umber layers in my works and I do very detailed work even on smallest details of the painting at this stage , especially in more complicated compositions than this one ( I mean, if it not a portrait ), so it looks like a complete painting. I create all shadows on the painting in this stage, so when I moving on to the dead layer or verdaccio or straight color, the only thing I have to do is to glaze the shadows slightly with a color I like. I always follow a principle : when work on the layer of paint - do the best to improve it, that in the next layer you will not have to correct the mistakes made in previouse layer.

Nathalie Chavieve
06-21-2013, 11:16 AM
Ianos dan : Thank you , Ianos dan ! It is curious, that we made the dress with a same color mix !!!! I noticed just now !

Thank you for the wonderful work you've done with my pictures. I hope you'll do the same with yours : I would really like to see your step by step demonstration ( with good pictures ;) ).

Nathalie Chavieve
06-21-2013, 11:21 AM
Sorry, ianos dan, I post my last reply, before I saw your step by step demonstration : there was small problem with Internet over here......

Nathalie Chavieve
06-21-2013, 11:47 AM
Ianos dan : you did a very nice work on your copy.

Now, when I compared it with mine , I see, that we have some similarities in our techniques up to this stage , the differ is only in color palette .
Also, I found interesting your approach to the skin tone with Madder Lake .... Never tryed this one for skin tone.

ianos dan
06-21-2013, 12:16 PM
Thanks Nathalie! l try sometimes to go on my own way ,and experiment ,although l make a copy after Leonardo ,l try to find some ways of rendering the forms ,skin tones,and so on,because there are lots of living masters who ,l must admit ,are great ,but l want to research myself and break sometimes some rules,because you can find many shortcuts and techniques on your own ,and in time ,develop into your own technique ,inspired by this great masters.
it's very difficult to copy the most "perfect "of all the painters ;as a found myself .Where you think that is an edge ,it isn't in fact,where do you think its' an opaque layer ,could be only a glaze over a light underpainting,where do you think it's a green color ,could be only an optical effect,where do you see a highlight ,could be a scratch made in that fresh layer ,and left the whiteness of the gesso (this one l exaggerated:)).
yeah ,l saw some similarities on our pallete,l think it's normal,since both of us are overwhelmed by this great masters,and whe both know that they worked form light to dark ,specially in the Renaissance epoque.
So ,with Leonardo ,you cannot say ,for sure,that he used "that technique",because he never wrote to much about it ,he left only few words ,and a lot of mystery:)

Nathalie Chavieve
06-21-2013, 04:18 PM
Completely agree with you, ianos dan. It is really pity that leonardo Da Vinci did not left any description of his painting technique : it would be very interesting to follow his exact technique and we could learn a LOT from it. But now, we have only speculate what and how he done this and that ..... Well, he left a challenge for us ....

I am also like to experiment and try different ways and techniques, but I still admire the techniques of the Old Masters, because those techniques has stand a test of hundreds of years and the results are still incredible.

06-23-2013, 08:42 AM
I was so inspired after returning from Italy that I spent all yesterday painting. I am happy with it so far, but would also like all crits from you - be tough. I have learned so much from you two, and the best is I can take what I think is the best from both of you to work on my painting. I am basically following Ianos dan's color combinations for the skin and background, and then Nathalies colors for her clothing.

here are my notes (probably more for me than you)
I found out that Rembrant flake white is just a combo of titanium white and zinc white. I have both of these, so I basically make my own flake white by combining, either 50/50 or more zinc if I want more transparent, more titanium if I want more opaque. To thin my paint I am at this point using about half turpentine and half linseed oil.
face - white and raw umber scumble
hair - black and raw umber glaze
background black and burnt umber glaze
Now she looks dead and cool, but solid, so I am hoping the next warm layers will appear to reflect off her face.
I wanted to use vermillion for the clothes, I have a tube, but I can not find it. I am not sure how I lost it, it is brand new, ugh! Instead I used Old holland Krapplak Madder Crimson Lake.
Dress - Krapplak M C L and burnt sienna glaze
Dress trim - raw sienna and transparent yellow medium and a tiny bit of Krapplak M C L. I used this instead of the yellow ochre becase these colors are more transparent, my yellow ochre is opaque.
Bows and ribbons burnt umber and white and black
necklace is raw sienna and little transparent yellow medium, then raw umber on top for the dark beads.
wooden shelf raw sienna and a little transparent yellow medium glaze.
I think the wooden shelf would have been better if it was more "solid" - I should have used the same combo as the face - white and raw umber. I may end up adding white and raw umber on top of the current layer, even though that is backwards, but I think it needs some cooler, solidness.


And boo-hoo, I will not be able to do more on it until I return from Sweden. Unless it is not too risky to paint another layer on thursday or friday, but that will only be 5 or 6 days to dry. Next Sunday I am going to Sweden for two weeks - Florence Academy of Art has a school there outside Göteborg, one week intensive drawing and one week oil painting. I hope to learn a lot.

Nathalie Chavieve
06-24-2013, 01:02 PM
Well done, Allison !

I agree with you about warm color of the wood - it should be cooler. In a matter of fact, I think it is not wood, but, probably, stone or parapet of the window or something like that.

I found the tip of the nose a bit too big and look like a potato - if you look at the original , she has a more straight and more delicate nose.... Please, check the shadows under the nose , it blurry and uncertain. The shadows under the eyes are too small, compare to original. The outer face line and it's edges and the chin must be worked out more, in my opinion .

I didn't know that Florence Academy of Art has a school outside of Göteborg !
Do you have any link that I can take a look at ? Very interesting !

06-25-2013, 04:55 AM
Nathalie - thanks for all of your constructive crits. Very helpful. Yes, my nose is too round, will check the shadows, also I think my right eyelid is way off. In the meantime I did however soften edges from face to hair and neck to background - it was too hard. I plan on softening these edges even more in the next layers. And I redid the fancy border on her dress. It still looks awful and chunky, not the delicate lovely lines that Leonardo had. I also think the Han copy has a poor border compared to Leonardo.

http://www.florenceacademyofart.se - I didn't even bother with the original one in Italy, their summer program is a full month of July. I have a 6year old daughter and an 8 year old son, so being gone for one month was not possible. But the FAA in Sweden has 1,2 or 3 week sessions. So I am taking 1 week drawing, one week painting.

Nathalie Chavieve
06-25-2013, 03:46 PM
Thank you, Allison, for the link. I am sure you'll learn a lot in these two weeks in Göteborg !

Yes, to paint the fine details of the dress it is not very easy and requires lot of patience. Hahn's copy may be not such a beautiful like the original, but it allow us to see more clearly some details which is not visible anymore in the original, and give also possibility to consider what was the real colors of the flesh tone, dress and etc.

Nathalie Chavieve
06-25-2013, 03:48 PM
Ianos dan ! How are you ? Long time didn't hear from you ? How is your copy doing ? ;)

ianos dan
06-25-2013, 04:12 PM
Nathalie -l am working now on my big project (Vlad the impaler)and ,unfortunately , l do not have time to spent on the copy ,but l'll work when l have time:)also ,today l received a commission for a digital character ,so ,less time for the copy :( .
Please ,fell fee to post your work in progress ,so excited to see it ,as well as AllisonR's and Evan :).(maybe l will copy your technique muhahahahaha).

Nathalie Chavieve
06-25-2013, 05:05 PM
No problem, Ianos dan. I understand . Just want to keep in touch with everybody . :wave:

Just saw you painting of Vlad in progress - very impressive ! And the portrait of your sister is magnificent !

I will take easy on my copy now, I want to allow this painting to dry for about 3 week and I also have 8 paintings in progress and they must be finished someday too....:eek:
And finally - it is a summer time now : nice weather, sun , nature - time to enjoy !
But still, I will be around here, just in case ...;)

Nathalie Chavieve
06-25-2013, 05:12 PM
Allison : Would you like to do also step - by - step demo of your copy, like Ianos dan did of mine and his own, before you'll leave for Sweden ? Or you prefer to do it at the very end ? It is up to you....

Evan : Please, do your demo of your copy, when you are ready , if you wish of course :)

06-26-2013, 11:13 AM
Here is my updated pic after crits. I worked on softening edges of face and neck. Will have to soften even more in next layers. I thought I had fixed the nose, but I can see I only went halfway, should have been even narrower. I thickened shadows under eyes, fixed her left eyelid, did a bit on the edge of chin and neck shadows. I think my efforts to fix are too cautious, I only go half way to fixing. Well now my paint is tacky, so I can't do anymore. Will post after I am back from Sweden.

And here is my sequence (color is off, don't take it too seriously):

Nathalie Chavieve
06-27-2013, 04:23 PM
Thank you, Allison, for this step by step demo. Looks great !
Have a wonderful time in Göteborg !

ianos dan
07-04-2013, 05:43 AM
AllisonR, looking good so far !l saw that the drawing was pretty accurate,but it seems that you carved too much the nose,she has more straight lines.probably,in your desire to obtain that roundness ,you exaggerated that line (in fact is not a line ,it's tone).the lower part of the nose is bigger and is one of the most important part of the painting .if you reduce the size of the "flesh"part of the nose ,you will see he difference :)
the color is just fine :)

ianos dan
07-04-2013, 05:43 AM
where's Evan !l think he has finished the painting :)))))

ianos dan
07-04-2013, 06:30 AM
Here's a speed drawing l made ,to help you see the shape of the nose.
the shape of the original ,approximately....http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Jul-2013/1165823-la_belle_1.jpg

ianos dan
07-04-2013, 06:32 AM
Your painting ,seen from profile view,again ,approximately ....
see how big is the tip of the nose?http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Jul-2013/1165823-la_belle_2.jpg

07-04-2013, 02:09 PM

I am so impressed with all these studies and specially with all the encouragements you gave to each other. I wish I could be part of it. I am continue to follow you, the wonderful artists here.



Nathalie Chavieve
07-05-2013, 08:18 AM
Yes, Evan, we are waiting .....;)..... Hope, your are OK, Evan ? :wave:

Nathalie Chavieve
07-05-2013, 08:25 AM
ianos dan :

What a wonderful addition to our thread with these profile studies of "La Belle...", Ianos dan ! It will really help to understand a facial proportions and features of the girl's face . Thanks !

Nathalie Chavieve
07-05-2013, 08:34 AM
Hello, Kim ! Thank you for your comments !

I will be very glad if you can join our thread and participate in the challenge . It is not a competition and we do not have any time limit or a dead line to finish our copies. Each artist works out their own time and possibilities , so , please, feel free to join us in our little research of the painting technique of Leonardo Da Vinci. You are most welcome !!!!

ianos dan
07-05-2013, 12:39 PM
No problem Nathalie ! l was taking a short break ,and immediately ,an idea passed to my mind!How this woman would have look from profile? this kind off exercise l made during my years of study sculpture,and it really helps see the form .
So, l was making this small explanation to AllisonR ,but in fact was an explanation for me also,and for all of you guys ,if it helps somehow:).
Kim,give it a try !

07-05-2013, 02:30 PM
Im still here lol. I worked on some of the clothing but not much. Took me a few hours to do a very small area. I might have went too dark so will lighten in next dead layer. The 2nd dead layer will be more for correcting the light and dark areas only. Hope to have photos soon once that is done.

About the nose. In Da Vinci's her right nostril is there and it kinda does look like its blended or not there and could be missed. Wondering if that was a problem you ran into and its slightly larger?

07-05-2013, 09:53 PM
Nathalie Chavieve & ianos dan:

Thank you very much for your invitation to joint you. I feel so honored. At the time being, my skill will not be able to complete the dress with satisfactory result. My previous experience copying the Master is only involves the face and that beautiful dress needs a lot of skill and patient to pull it off. Lately the smell of oil-paint made my lung feel uncomfortable. Hope I will pass this soon.
But I have been reading and learning from this thread since my skill can only afford these at the moment, and when I get better I will copy Bouguereau’s “Girl with a Seashell” (no cloth or dress involve) using what I learn from here. I hope I get your pointers to move on at that time.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge here.

Ianos dan:

Do you mind i ask, if you do the profile drawing with photoshop by just rotate the frontal drawing or do you just hand draw them to check the nose for AllisonR. Thanks


07-06-2013, 04:34 AM
I have been following this thread for a while- it is extremely interesting.
Though I am lacking both skill and time, I decided to touch my brushes and give it a try.
No likeness at all, but I felt too happy while painting that. May I join you please?
I have noticed that there is something evil in the original, some of you stress that feature, others give her a more "benign" look.
I will not make the background monochromatic. I will paint rocks and rivers instead. This will make it a hybrid of la belle and mona lisa. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Jul-2013/219093-la_belle.JPG

Nathalie Chavieve
07-06-2013, 09:36 AM
Evan : Good that you are here . Hope to see your progress with your copy soon...

I did not had any problem with nostrils, because I have been studing not only the Leonardo Da Vinci painting, but some other works as well , the Hahn copy , for instance. What I found about this copy is : when it was sold at Sotheby's on January 28, 2010 with a statements of experts as " by a follower of Leonardo, probably before 1750". If it is so, it means that the painter who executed this painting probably saw the original which was then in defenitely better state then today, which gave us the idea about the colors, details of the painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.

For me is quite important to make a research on the subject I workin on. In the case of Leonardo Da Vinci's "La Belle ferronniere" this kind of research even more important, because the original painting in such bad condition now that some areas and small details are hardly visible. So I try to find as much info and copies have been done by other artists in order to reconstruct the features of original painting.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-06-2013, 10:03 AM
Kim : That's what I was thinking before too : I do not have enough skills to copy such great master like Leonardo Da Vinci ! But when I came across Evan's thread, it was so intriguing and interesting to follow it and exchange the ideas and knowledge with other fellow artists, that I decided to give it a try, just as Ianos Dan recommended to you. Now I am very happy about that I made this decision . To paint after Leonardo Da Vici is a lot of work and needs lot of passion and patience as well, and I am still lacking the skills of the Great Master, but you have no idea, how much you can learn from this kind of experience! If you do not try, you will never learn. This kind of thinking just will pull you back from getting knowledge of painting techniques, theory, practising ! Be brave and creative, try to copy great masters and you will see how much of improvement of your skills you will get !

Nathalie Chavieve
07-06-2013, 10:21 AM
zoi p : You are most welcome to our thread :clap:!!!!! ( Actually, you do not have to ask a permission - everyone is welcome to participate in this challenge, no matter of skills and other stuff... )

It is not important how much skills you have, the most important thing is you have a will to try and to experiment, and share your experience. Well done !:thumbsup:

It is an interesting idea to mix those two paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci : "La Belle.." and "Mona Lisa " ! Looking forward to see how it will look like....

ianos dan
07-07-2013, 02:36 PM
Hello Kim!
l made the drawing to see how she looks from side view,it just looked appealing to me,but also to help AllisonR to see the nose from another angle.
it was made with a tablet ,exactly as l do with a pencil,so hand drawing ,no rotating (in photoshop you can flip the canvas and rotate,change colors,you can add textures ,but when you want to make a portrait from another angle ,you can do it only in a traditional manner ,by hand drawing,only looking and drawing ).
painting and drawing with the tablet it's exactly as drawing with a pencil or brush ,only that you have to look at the monitor ,not at your hand :).
as l said before ,l make this kind of exercises because it helps you see better the form ,and it's always a surprise to find that ,from another angle ,the portrait can reveal lots of things.
l think Leonardo was smart enough to put the model in a favorable angle ,so the portrait could reveal only the beautiful parts ,not the defects.

ianos dan
07-07-2013, 02:58 PM
zoi p; very interesting approach ,very Leonardesque look !That portrait has really those type of face like St.Anne or Mary ,from his drawings.
Nice :)

07-11-2013, 12:12 AM
Thought I would give a update on what Ive done sense its been a while. The necklace and other small details took longer to do then I first thought. Was going to do pure white and black for the necklace but found out there is more shades in each piece when looking at it closely. Probably could have just done just black and white and then glazed some shadow and highlights later. Im sure Ill end up doing more anyways.
Also when working on the clothing went back to the face and hair at times for some highlights, darkening shadows and other minor adjustments. Ill be doing it more while working on the clothing. Gets me a little side tracked from getting the clothes done faster when I keep going back to areas but its alright.
One thing that really sticks out to me is the corner of her left eye so Ill have to fix that.


07-11-2013, 01:20 AM
Got to say something about the detail. I have no clue how Da Vinci painted the very small fine detail and lines so perfectly. This and the mona Lisa are small for what detail is in them. Practice and a steady hand I suppose.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-11-2013, 11:21 AM
l think Leonardo was smart enough to put the model in a favorable angle ,so the portrait could reveal only the beautiful parts ,not the defects.

Of course, he was a very clever man. But I think this pose and light was chosen by Leonardo Da Vinci not to hide a "defects" , which I do not see in the face of this young, nice looking woman, but because this kind of pose was usually used for portraits ( like profile, full face or three-quarters portraits ) in this time in Milan.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-11-2013, 11:27 AM
Lately I found some interesting information about "La belle ferroniere" :

"Around 1490 Leonardo da Vinci or his disciple Bernardino dei Conti (supposed Berenson) or Boltraffio (according to Herbert Cook), or Francesco Melzi, possibly with the participation of teacher, painted a portrait in oil, which is sometimes called the "Portrait of an Unknown Woman" (emphasizing the unresolved issue of the identity of the girl shown on it), but more often referred to as "La Belle ferronniere." The picture on display in the Louvre.

An idea about the authorship of some of Leonardo's pupils, and not the master himself, came from the researchers suggests some negligence, (although such a manner, however, may be due to copying the traditions of the Milan court painting that demanded representation of the model in an unnatural position), and much more attention to details of clothes and ornaments, than the model itself.

Today we can say with confidence that, no matter who wrote it, the picture really comes from the workshop of Leonardo: analyzes showed that the "Lady with an Ermine" and "Beautiful Ferronera" were painted on pieces of wood from the same trunk. X-rays showed great similarities in the preparatory sketch drawing "Mona Lisa", in addition, there are entries: the hair was not initially covered her ears, the shape of the jaw was repainted, decorations added later. The researcher Magdeleine Hours to conclude from this that the painting was finished with the other hand."

Nathalie Chavieve
07-11-2013, 11:33 AM
Got to say something about the detail. I have no clue how Da Vinci painted the very small fine detail and lines so perfectly. This and the mona Lisa are small for what detail is in them. Practice and a steady hand I suppose.
Yes , and LOT of patience :)

Your copy look nice. The eye you can fix it easily . To paint a small details is really not very easy, but you have to think about how it will look like in the finished painting and the result and appreciation will pay your patience back.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-11-2013, 11:52 AM
I started to work on my copy . Today I am working on the clothing. I have a question and opinion to ask you , guys . What do you think was the color of those ribbons ? On the Hahn's copy - it is green, on the original ( but differen pictures ) I can see it is brownish, or reddish. In some other copies it's has different colors.
What do you think and what color you will use to paint those ribbons ? ( if it's not a secret ? ;))

ianos dan
07-11-2013, 04:15 PM
Hello guys ! Nathalie:in those days ,to be a painter was a very difficult task.because this portrait was probably made not for her ,but probably for the king (her lover,from what l've read about the portrait),it would have to be not perfect ,but divine :).
Alphonse Bouguereau painted hundreds of portraits ,and it was famous for it's capability to make the model look more beautiful than the original,but also to look exactly like the model .Only a genius could do that and Leonardo was a genius.she definitely looks perfect ,she doesn't have a, big nose ,or to small lips,but l think that Leonardo choose this position ,to "highlight " somehow her beautiful features.l found ,drawing her from profile,that she has a very round chin ,the nose is not very straight ,and she was probably a voluptuous woman (at high fashion those days).l'm only saying that he could choose a favorable position for the model ,and of course ,this position was very common in those days ,in the portrait painting.
If you look at the portrait of Federico da Montefeltro ],made by Piero della Francesca,you will see painted from his left side ,because he was injured on his right eye .
about the ribbons : if you look at his better preserved paintings ,you will see that he preferred very transparent materials for ribbons.l think that the ribbons are made like a scumble ,so the color is lighter ,but it seems that has some red and grey green reflections .one thing for sure,it is a light scumble ,probably over the reddish clothing ,and it is not so opaque like the copy :)

ianos dan
07-11-2013, 04:37 PM
My personal opinion is that the painting belongs to Leonardo.l have no doubt about it.the technique is perfect and it is impossible to imitate him. (almost ).l saw painting made by his school ,but none of his students could to this ;they could paint in his technique ,but they could not capture this type of features.
another evidence is that,in most of his paintings ,the eyes are modeled in shade ,the contours are invisible ,that is why some of the guys that are copying Leonardo ,are making the white of the eyes to white .keep this in mind ,he preferred to exaggerate the shadow from the upper eyelid ,in order to give more mysticism to the portrait .
About the hair that was added over the ear:l know that this was the Milanese fashion and the ears where not visible it this kind of look.(don't know about that).also if there are some evidence of the X rays ,l'm sure that they have the proof of the "hiding ear".and l will be very curios to see it .:)
Evan: you have a LOT of patience man !!! a could never do all that details in dead layer ,and after color.It really looks good in this stage. Man ,the necklace ,in dead layer ...wow.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-11-2013, 06:07 PM
Ianos dan : I also think that this painting belongs to leonardo Da Vinci, but I found this information and it was interesting, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

I wonder if there is misunderstanding about those ribbons:confused: : I meant the long flowing ribbons which looks opaque and on the Hahn's copy it has color green. If you are talking about white kind of blouse or shirt , I agree that their are probably should be kind of transparent.

ianos dan
07-12-2013, 05:00 AM
I think i understand what you are talking about :). l've searched some paintings of Leonardo and l made a small compilation of images ,showing his favorite types of materials .That kind of ribbon looks like a thin satin like piece(the green one).The lighter ones seems to look like something more transparent .Now ,l don't know if it is because the painting layers became transparent in time,but l tend to say that it's a kind of scumble ;in fact ,all the paintings he made ,where almost, all of them ,made only in scumbles and glazes.l will definitely make them semitransparent. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jul-2013/1165823-leonardos_materials.jpg

07-12-2013, 07:45 PM
Thanks Nathalie and ianos. Detail can always be improved in the later layers that is a good point.
My patience does drive me nuts on the dead layer lol but I like to have a detailed dead layer. It makes the colors layers more fun. Once dead layer is done everything is less stressful.
About the ear. It was just the drawing with a ear right? Was never painted? Maybe he draw the ear to get the form right knowing he was going to cover it. If I was to draw someone with a hat I would draw the top of head first before adding a hat to make sure the proportions are more correct. Then again Da Vinci made lots of changes with his drawings before painting and that is probaly the case but who knows. Too late to ask him:D

Nathalie Chavieve
07-13-2013, 05:06 AM
ianos dan : Well, most of those examples showing parts of the gowns,capes, wraps, fabrics and they look like a trasparent, only the angel from the "Annunciation" has kind of ribbon on his arm, and it does not looks to me transparent or semitransparent....

Another thought about the ribbons. If you look carefully on the fabric of the dress you will find that it look like it made from the velvet, which is quite heavy fabric ( we have to remember, that she was , probably, a lover to the king and were dressing well and her dresses was made from the best fabrics ). The ribbons here has not only decorative purpose but they used to attach the sleeves to the main body of the dress. If you take for consideration the heavy fabric and the movements of the arms, those ribbons should be ( probably) made from stronger material than transparent or semitransparent fabric like shiffon, for instance, in order to support and to keep sleeves attached to the dress. So, in my opinion, ribbons was made from non transparent fabric. The shirt, which is on the Hahn copy is white, could be , probably, kind of trasparent or semitransparent....

Anyway, it is just my thoughts...:rolleyes:

Nathalie Chavieve
07-13-2013, 05:21 AM

About the ear. It was just the drawing with a ear right? Was never painted? Maybe he draw the ear to get the form right knowing he was going to cover it. If I was to draw someone with a hat I would draw the top of head first before adding a hat to make sure the proportions are more correct. Then again Da Vinci made lots of changes with his drawings before painting and that is probaly the case but who knows. Too late to ask him:D

This article says that some writings were found which state that the hair wasn't covering the ear, the form of the jaw was redone and the decorations was added later. So the experts think that this painting was finished by some one else, but not Leonardo Da Vinci. So I understood, it says about the painting itself, not a drawing.

I know what you mean about to work out the details in the dead layer - it really saves your time in the next color layers and can give a wonderful effect. Sometimes I also do dead layer over all painting and even very tiny details, if neccesary. And I agree with you - it is aLOT of work, but the result is really worth it !

Nathalie Chavieve
07-13-2013, 02:42 PM
My copy now dry enough ( it was dried for 3 weeks ) and I started to work on it. It is a first layer of paint in color. First , I made a background with Burnt Umber and Ivory black. For skin tone I used Flake white, Yellow ochre, Burnt sienna and Raw umber, applied in some areas of the face in very thin layers and in some very light areas in very thick layers. The hair done in glaze with Burnt umber and little bit Ivory black. For dress I decided to repeat the color from the previous layer : Vermilion with Burnt sienna, but I added a very little Flake white and Yellow ochre. For white shirt I used a mixture of Flake white, Burnt umber and Ivory black. The ribbons I left untouched , because I did not decide yet what color and material it will be :confused:. I also worked more on the details of the dress ( yelllow stripes ) with Yellow ochre and Burnt sienna.

Here is the result . Comments and critique are most welcome !!!!


Nathalie Chavieve
07-13-2013, 02:46 PM
Close up picture of the face ( sorry, it came up little bit dark and yellowish :()


07-15-2013, 05:59 AM
Hi guys and gals,
Just returned from FAA Sweden. Fantastic two weeks, money well spent. Learned a ton, both by listening to the teachers, but also by watching them work. Really simple stuff, like how to sharpen charcoal, which is not obvious at all by reading online, must be seen, to proper use of tools like black mirror, plumb line... color mixing for flesh tones.... I made two drawings and two paintings, all of which are mediocre, but I am not upset as I went for LEARNING, not for making a pretty picture.

I have come home to see my previous paintings with new eyes, which unfortunately makes my eyes hurt. Not ashamed, I knew no better. But now hoping that with much work I will get better, and knowing it may take a painfully long time. I will start with at least some of the Charles Bargue drawings, then some plaster casts in charcoal, then still lifes, then portraits...

I have not read all the posts here, I think I was on page 7 or so. Later I will read all your posts and catch up with your comments and your images. One day this week I hope to get back to painting.

ianos dan
07-15-2013, 04:28 PM
It really came out very nice Nathalie ! l like your colors here :),and the soft modeling of the tones .
Don't forget Nathalie ,that Leonardo was a stage and costume designer at the Sforza court ,so ,it is is possible that he could invent lots of things,not sure about that ribbons ,but he could invent and "lie" our eyes.So ,when l look at his paintings ,my mind always tells me to put to the question almost everything ,because he was the most "believable lair" of all times.he invented landscapes,faces,geological formations,node types,geometrical shapes ,decorative elements etc.all of this was possible because of his extensive drawings and studies from the real life.
On the other hand ,it could be a real kind of high fashion clothing ,but some questions are born ....."Could Leonardo make a simple portrait ,or he could put some of his marks here?",l always think like this.
A third reason is that ,even the painting is old ,l tend to believe that those green ribbons are not so opaque ,just look at on the left side ,and see that the ties are almost melted in the background,not exactly like in the right side,because of transparency .

07-16-2013, 07:13 AM
Finally have caught up with the posts.

Ianos Dan - thank you for making those drawings in profile. It is very helpful. It is also fascinating, I had never thought of this, but I think it is a good idea. Next time I am painting head on or in profile, I may try making a drawing in profile, to imagine nose, eyes, lips. No way to see if it is right or not though. Now I am thinking more, maybe draw a sculpture or plaster cast, without looking at the profile view, then try and sketch the profile, then look at the sculpture or cast and see if the profile sketch is correct! Maybe I will try this next time I am at the local museum.

Nathalie - your painting is looking lovely. I really like the ginger hair, I think with another glaze or two those ginger highlights will make a very subtle, and beautiful, effect.

The ribbons, I get the feeling that the original is more translucent, (perhaps a combination of both original desire of Leonardo at the time plus over the centuries the paints becoming even more translucent). Ribbons seem to softly disappear into shadow on the left side. The Hahn copy ribbons are more "heavy", and imo not as elegant. Color of ribbons? Who knows. But I think a subtle cooler green will make a nice contrast with the warm reds in the dress. That is my plan anyway.

I like how you have painted the dress so far. Looking forward to seeing how you put a delicate pattern in the black border area. A minor critique - I think the second crease line in her neck is too strong, is distracting. Perhaps you will cover more in next layers? I really like how you have dealt with the reflected shadows in her jaw. Nathalie, I am curious why you have the red hints in the shadow area of the necklace? What is your plan here?

Evan - nice dead layer! To make your hand more sturdy, a mahl stick. I just used one for the first time at my class the last two weeks and it is very nice. Do not buy one, get a lightweight wood stick, about 1 meter x 2cm x 1cm, or round pole, and then roll 3-4 layers black cloth around it to make soft. Hold in left hand under right arm when painting delicate things.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-16-2013, 10:29 AM
Allison : Nice to see you back ! We missed you here with your sparkle character, dinamic comments and endless energy....:wave:

I am sure you have had a very nice lessons there in Göteborg and had learned a lot . Well done :thumbsup:

Thank you for the critique. Of course, it is not a last color layer ( if you takling about this line on the neck ) and I will work more on the flesh colors in the next color layers, so if anything which is appear now too sharp or too obvious will be worked out later. I didn't do anything to the necklace yet : what you see is just a shade area with underpainting shows through very light verdaccio layer and dark flesh tone. I'll paint all decorations at the last stage , I suppose.....:rolleyes:

Looking forward to see progress in your copy !

Nathalie Chavieve
07-16-2013, 10:51 AM
Ianos dan and Allison : I see your points, Ianos dan and Allison , and somehow I do agree with what you say. In the other hand, I have read , that Leonardo Da Vinci usually made some details and decoration at the last stages of painting, when the main subjects was already finished. It means , he was painting the decorations or details over the dried flesh tone, or dress or something else, that's why some of the details on his paintings ( as you showed in the picture ) looks now transparent or semitransparent. I paid attention also to the ribbon of the left side of the sleeve which is almost disappear and has a similar color with a dress, as actually the front ribbons too, a little bit , and this fact make me think that it was painted over the dress later and it's actually explanes why the ribbons look bit of transparent. Also, there is a facts about this painting, which says that the details, like necklace and other decorations, was added later.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-16-2013, 11:03 AM
Ianos dan : Thank you for your comments. Waiting to see your copy someday ...

Nathalie Chavieve
07-16-2013, 11:04 AM
I found this short video yesterday. It is in French ( I do understand and speak French, and I am sure Ianos dan can understand French too, but there is not so much talking anyway ) and it is about how one french painter Andre Fisch made a copy of "La Belle ferronniere". Unfortunately it is not a full video, but it is interesting to see how the other artist works on the same copy as me and you. Please, take a look.

P.S. If you need a translation, please, let me know, I can briefly translate it.


ianos dan
07-16-2013, 03:37 PM
Hello Nathalie! l saw it couple of months ago ,and l was a little disappointed about it...not sure why ,but it lacks that feeling of being amazed ,don't know really what to say about it .The guy knows painting technique ,but at the final ,he makes something that l would never do; he just covers the face area with some kind of patina ,to give it more originality ,but in fact what he makes ,in my opinion ,it's a mistake (exactly what l have done years ago )he copies the color of the varnish ,that golden yellow.For me ,it's not e brilliant painting ,i saw some minor mistakes on the face ,the lips are to thin ,the nose little bigger then the original.l like how he paints the material of the clothing ,and the ribbons .
Yes ,l understand French ,not a very good speaker ,but l understood him.
What l didn't saw in his copy ,was that he didn't make the imprimatura layer,like Leonardo,he just made a wash of some neutral color .
So ,the man knows what he does ,but l won't buy the DVD.if he would have painted that copy with some colors closer to reality ,l'm speaking about the colors of the flesh ,like the painting would look after a restoration ,l probably would buy it...
O...l remember ,he made the cheek bone flat ,on the left side ,he just carved too much in that area.
So ,interesting to see how other painters made it ,but l prefer a different approach to this painting.
The most important thing from that Dvd,are in fact some words: subtlety,transparency .:)

ianos dan
07-16-2013, 03:39 PM
Yes ,the details like those small patterns ,where made on the final layers ,he had a very steady hand :)

ianos dan
07-16-2013, 03:43 PM
l will make some experiments probably with some different materials ,to see what kind of material makes those kind of folds ,but l still believe it's some kind of thin ...don't know what :)))
O Leonardo ,could you please tell us what was your technique? :)LOL

ianos dan
07-16-2013, 03:46 PM
AllisonR ;you can really do this kind of experiment ! just make a portrait in clay or whatever ,and put it from different angles .
You could do this with some small statues ,if you have some .

Nathalie Chavieve
07-16-2013, 07:35 PM
Ianos dan: I do share your opinion about this video. First, when I found it and start to watch - it was fascinating, because I was expecting to see absolutely proffessional approach to the classical painting, as the video starts with very big aplomb , if you understand what I mean. After a few minutes of watching I was disappointed by the approaches of the artist to the drawing and its quality, the painting technique and etc. But, anyway, it is interesting to see ......
By the way, this artist Andre Fisch, has an atelie and a workshop in Paris. I understand that he is specialized in produsing copies from the old paintings. I saw his web pages and the works was presented there - again disapointment ....You can see by you self


ianos dan
07-17-2013, 03:39 AM
Nathalie: thanks for sharing ! l really enjoyed watching that video "The Milkmaid " after Vermeer :)
To my surprise ,l saw that he made a good copy after Vermeer ,compared to Leonardo's "le belle Ferronieree": he respected his technique (l saw the red bole imprimatura and the underpainting),and the result was good,probably the face was not so smooth as the original (the forehead had to strong shadow),but ,the rest of the painting ,was good,so this copy is much better.
Yeah ,we all have great enthusiasm at the beginning of a painting :)

07-19-2013, 04:22 AM
If I painted that version, I sure wouldn't be making it a youtube video. The difference between this guy Andre and myself is we both paint mediocre copies, but at least I know my copy is mediocre. :evil: went to the website, student work is also poor. I do not think they follow any classical training, and they are not on the ARC list.

Back to topic - FLESH! Oh I have been agonizing. I can not decide. I was following Ianos Dans color palette for the flesh - which would now be white-madder lake for highlights, black and burnt sienna for shadows. Ianos, what did you do for the Mid-tones? And the problem - white and madder lake scared me - so neon. Yes, my underpainting flesh is very dead and cool, but still I am afraid putting on my canvas, even as a light scumble, because it is so pink. Ianos - advice please!

Plus I have been thinking - the hahn copy looks so cool and dead to me. I don't want to copy that. And the original is now too yellow, from age, but at the same time the transparency of it is beautiful, it looks better than the copy. But if I use neither, what to do? I am thinking, maybe I start with flesh colors close to Leonardo's, but then make them about 25% redder, and 25% lighter (but not so light as the hahn copy).

ianos dan
07-19-2013, 09:06 AM
Hello AllisonR ! As l said before ,l like his method of painting Vermeer's milkmaid ,l think the technique is the late baroque one ,so thumbs up for that one ,but the copy after Leonardo had a lower quality.
The flesh was made with colors l described there(when l made the first scumble) ,the mid-tones where in fact ,the layer underneath ,so no color was added there.The mid-tones are left from the light scumble l made over the underpaining ,ln the last layer ,l only made some glazes for darkening the shadows and another scumble ,this time was added more red in it :). That's all.
l must say about this guy, Andre Fish ,that he really knows painting techniques.think about this: there are many many techniques of painting,and ,l must admit ,not all of them where made in "that dead layer "that we know from Alexei Antonov DVD.(he also knows some shortcuts and other techniques ,l am sure of that ).
So ,Andre Fish ,makes a wonderful underpainting,more like Caravaggio's ,only that Caravaggio used dark red earth for the imprimatura,.The dead layer in this technique is obtained by the pure use of white ,thicker in lights ,and thinner in mid-tones ,leaving the red imprimatura in half shadow areas.
The darkest areas are painted ,in this technique ,with black or very dark brown .
Advice for AllisonR: l don't know exactly your underpainting,( l have to check it)but in my case ,that yellowish imprimatura was the reason why the madder lake+ white was neutralized and didn't look to cold .if l put my hand over the painting ,or put it side by side to a human face ,the color is exactly like in real life.
So ,if it's to cold ,you will have to use hot colors over ,more yellow ocher ,vermillion ....

ianos dan
07-19-2013, 09:12 AM
Please put a good quality photo ,so l can see your colors(her face) .l am sure you can solve the problem with a scumble ,but it's important the color you choose for that.

07-19-2013, 01:35 PM
Ianos Dan - thank you so much. Here is the photos, as close to the original painting as I can get, having the painting beside my monitor. I only hope your monitor is close to my monitor in hues!

Yes, it is very cool, she looks cool and dead. I think I will do the scumble you suggest with madder lake. I think that color will be in the clothes, so I can imagine the harmony. Of course if it looks terrible, I can always paint over it again with the next layers of color.


Off topic - how is your vlad painting coming along? Huge project! The details you have are so delicate and beautiful.

07-19-2013, 10:05 PM
Ive added a little color to the face. Hard to tell from and slightly blurry. Her skin tone will be more difficult than I first thought. Im kinda going how Da Vinci's painting looks now for the most part. Maybe less yellow as Ianos Dan mentioned a while back.

07-24-2013, 10:49 AM
Evan, it is looking really good. Please take a better photo and post it. Her mouth is wonderful! I think you did the opposite of me - my nose was way too wide and round, I think yours is too small and narrow.

Finally I was able to work on my painting today. Kids are home for vacation, so I can not paint much. I am doing Charles Bargues drawings in charcoal - these are easier to start and stop on a moments notice with the kids.

Ianos Dan - I did the madder crimson and white in highlights and I must say it came out very nice. I am glad I followed your advice! I also did burnt sienna and a touch of black for the shadows and left the mid tones alone. I think the shadows look to dark, but that is because I am following the value in the original, which is too dark also; I should have followed a value between the Hahn copy and Leonardos. I tried to fix her nose.

I painted another glaze of madder crimson on her dress with a few black shadows, raw umber and ochre for the border things, left the ribbons alone. Later I will make the ribbons more cool metal-ish with a touch of green. I repainted the windowsill with raw umber to cool it and make it more solid.


07-24-2013, 10:51 AM
Then I worked on her nose, again, again, again. And I lightened the shadows around her eyes a bit more.

Disegard color - the previous photo is closer to the colors.

ianos dan
07-25-2013, 03:55 AM
Hello guys ! l've been on a short vacation ,at the Black Sea ,in this weekend and the beginning of this week ,and didn't have time to see your posts :)
So ,a little bit of dark skin LOL. my nose is fried !!!
Evan ,nice underpainting ,and very very delicate .l like to see paintings in this stage ,maybe because l like sculpture also ,and from here,the love for the monochromatic paintings. l like that you left the eyes in that color,it will help you to obtain that hue ,l will not do the dead layer here,just work on top of this layer ,directly with colors .(of course ,it's your choice).Also,because the paint layer is thin in some places ,you have obtain really nice shifts of hues in halfshadows and reflections;if l were you.l will do only glazes and scumbles ,the form is already there .
AllisonR;glad you did that major change with her nose,now it really looks closer to Da Vinci's painting.Yes,see how it already registers as human flesh,that scumble ?This is how l think Leonardo worked;like you are putting different screen colors on top ,knowing what your painting will look ,at the end .that's the benefit of making an underpainting .l am sure ,that if you put your hand next to the flesh color of the painting ,it will be almost exactly the same hue ,if fact ,this is how l verify my flesh color now ;a good advice from my old friend ,who is a very good painter also .You really don't need very good reference image here ,just look at your skin ,you will find some good information there.(don't know exactly the color of your skin AllisonR,but l'm sure that,considering the place and location of you country ,you must have some pale pinkish hue).
Yeah ,Vlad is still in work ,but l'm trying my best to work at this painting ,and some digital commissions ,in the same time.l will post some photos soon ,om my thread .
In conclusion , l don't know when l will have time to paint on my copy ,l really wanted to finish it ,but ,unfortunately ,the painting is still in that stage :(...very sad that l can't always do what l want and work for money sometimes ....

ianos dan
07-25-2013, 03:57 AM
My satisfaction is that this thread has lots of viewing and it is alive ,full of creative energy :)

ianos dan
07-25-2013, 05:54 PM
l had 3 hours ,short break ,and l painted at my copy.
l've worked only at the face and hair.
hair -glaze with burnt umber and black
face -light areas -scumble of white +vermilion + lake madde
_shadows-black ,burnt umber ,raw umber (small quantity)-
Sorry for the photos ,but what you can see is that it became darker ,it has more volumehttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Jul-2013/1165823-25072012451.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Jul-2013/1165823-26072012453.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Jul-2013/1165823-26072012456.jpg

ianos dan
07-25-2013, 05:56 PM
the last one is distorted ,sorry for that ...

07-25-2013, 08:46 PM
AllisonR you have improved it a lot. Especially the nose. I agree my nose is slightly too thin. Maybe with some glazes I can it to change the effect somewhat.

Ianos Dan your painting looking wonderful. Really liking the light tones and glazing. I do agree with what you said about doing just glazes and scumbles from now on. Ill see if I can take a more high quality image of her face soon. As u know the closer you are with the camera flash it can get tricky lol. Ill get it though.

I hope to finish the dead layer for the clothes soon. The folds feel like they will be daunting and fun at the same time lol.
For the lips I havnt done too much to them really when working the dead layer. Just a few touches. I tried to but wiped a lot of it off because it just didnt look right with the more heavy dead layer paint.

07-27-2013, 01:48 AM
This is the poor relative of your beautiful ladies.
Some coworker saw her and burst out laughing. Said her eyes look weird and called her a "gollum".
I don't mind that.

I suppose it is like loving your ugly child.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Jul-2013/219093-DSCF0111_01.JPG
This is a 18x 24 canvas board and i cannot control details easily. Painting the the neck ornament will be hard. That rosette is temporary. I considered a cross instead, but who knows.

07-27-2013, 08:05 AM
Zio p glad you can join us. Keep painting. Try to make improvements on each layer. Perhaps it will help you to draw the painting first a few times. See how the shape of her eyes really are...

Evan, thanks for the compliment. I look forward to seeing how you progress.
Ianos Dan - what is that totally dark streak on her cheek? Have you smoothed it out, or was it a problem with the photo?

I notice now that you and Evan have nice light brown eyes, which will look lovely and transparent, Mine are already dark and opaque and I do not like them. I think I will have to add white and yellow to make mine lighter, and then paint transparent browns, or maybe some blue-greens back on top again.

Since my last posts I added some warm madder + white in some of the mid tones - on the cheek, around eyes, on tip of nose - because if I look at Leonardo's, I see some saturated reds right on the edge where the highlights and shadows meet. More red than either the highlights or shadows. Don't have a photo but will take eventually. Looks a bit funny but I think it will help later.

My plan is to let dry a week. Then I will mix up some real flesh tones, slightly lighter and less yellow than Leonardos, but not as white as the Hahn. I will also mix up a background that has some cool dark green or blue in it, for contrast. Some final lighter glaze hair color. And some slightly greenish-metallic for her ribbons. I think I am done with her clothes. Maybe some more color glazes for the windowsill. I plan on still painting in glazes and stumbles, letting the previous layers come through if it looks good, but trying more to actually match the colors I am really trying to achieve.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-27-2013, 10:10 AM
Hello, guys ! I was also in little vacation in St.Petersburg ( Russia) for a few days and afterwards I had a problem with Internet connection , so couldn't read and post .

So much posts here now - it is very interesting to read. I am also very glad that this thread continuing to grow and most important that we are continuing to be motivated and work on our copies :thumbsup:

Nathalie Chavieve
07-27-2013, 10:41 AM
Allison : I have thought about the skin tones too. Of course the yellowish varnish on the Leonardo Da Vinci painting looks pretty nice but I tend to think ( and I completely agree with Ianos dan ) that it is only a varnish and the real skin tone of "La belle...." should be more pale and somehow cool or coolish. Please, take a careful look at other Leonardo Da Vinci paintings like : The Annunciation, Virgin of the Rocks ( London version ), The Madonna of the Carnation, Ginevra de' Benci, Lady with an Ermine and others, and you will find out that the skin tones are quiet pale and more pinkish and does not have so much yellow hue like "La belle..." ( if you'll leave the yellow varnish ). So it is , I think, wise to consider what kind of skin tones Leonardo Da Vinci was achieving in his other works and it will help to understand (approximately) his technique.

Anyway it is completely your choise what you want to do. My aim in this copy is to try to restore how "La belle..." was look like before , when the colors was fresh.

You have done a wonderful job on her nose - now it look very much alike on the original. I found , in my opinion , the dress is too red ( or too bright ) and it doesn't have the feel of velure like in Leonardo Da Vinci painting. May be more soft blending will solve this problem ? Also a middle lip line in original painting are softer and the eyes have more shadows from the lashes, which is very important in this portrait.
The white shirt is also too reddish in my eyes.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-27-2013, 11:10 AM
Evan : You have done absolutely nice work on the blending - the skin looks young and fresh. Agree with others about the tip of the nose and nostril - too small and narrow. The eyes are beautiful but lacking shadows from lashes.

Hope to see better photo soon with more progress on your copy.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-27-2013, 11:26 AM
Ianos dan : You copy looks wonderful. I wish you can take a better picture that it will be possible to have a closer look to the colors. Right now I can say that I like how you achieved the forms, softness and this glance.... Well done !

Nathalie Chavieve
07-27-2013, 12:06 PM
zoi p : Do not pay attention what your coworkers says ! The most important thing is you want to paint and learn, you enjoying it and you have a motivation. You just have to practice more in drawing people, figures, faces and learn proportions. With time you will have more expirience and you will improve your skills. If you need help or advice, please, do not hesitate to ask , I'll be glad to help you and I am quiet sure the other fellow artists will help you as well.

To make canvas board surface more smooth you can apply additional coats of acrylic gesso over it and sand it in between coats with fine sandpaper. It will give you smoother surface and opportunity to work easily on small and tiny details of the painting.

The face of the girl look little bit akward because of the placement of lips - you move it to much to the left . I suggest you to take a careful look to the original painting and check proportions and placement of face features.

Anyway, you have done very well and improved your copy since your last post . My only critique is about the chest - it is very flat , you should add some volume there, and the eyes - too much dark shadows under the eyes, especially in the inner corners, but if you are going to apply more color there - you'll solve it easily in the next layers.

Looking forward to see the next steps !

07-28-2013, 09:40 AM
Nathalie and Ianos Dan, yes, I am very conflicted about the skin.
Ianos Dan - I use my hand, and arm a lot, to compare to skin. I paint right on my skin. Luckily I don't use lead white! I do not think my painting looks like real skin at all, at least not mine, which is pale white. I may mix up the standard Florence Academy of Art skin palette - which is a limited palette, then mixed skins in a row of dark to light burnt umber, then dark to light slightly yellowish, dark to light slightly redish, then dark to light blues. None of these colors is supposed to be used as is, but in then mixing the color one is trying to achieve.

Thank you Nathalie for mentioning his other works. I have gone back to look through them to get a feel of what his palette was. I do not want to capture the overly yellow varnish look, yet I feel his white pinkish tones look nearly too dead, almost like too much of a dead layer still showing through. (almost ashamed to be criticizing the master here, but it is my opinion). Maybe something in-between is where I am headed. You can see here what pinks I put in some of the halftone areas. It looks funny now, but I did this because I saw these hints of brighter pinks in Leonardos original, in the areas where highlights turn darker, in the "more red" areas - cheeks and lips, but not in say the neck.


Nathalie Chavieve
07-28-2013, 12:11 PM
Allison : Well, the skin tones on Leonardo Da Vinci paintings look little bit dead now because of the age - remember how old those paintings are and keep in mind how much of the paint has dryed off.

I see the pink color you have applied. Well, I have never tried to use Madder ( permanent or Lake ) in mixture of the skin tones and what I see from the picture it is very intense color and gives very cool tone. Very curious to see your next color layers.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-28-2013, 12:15 PM
Have been searching Internet images of "La Belle ferroniere" and anything else helpful and I found this close up picture of Hahn's copy :


Allison : you can see now that her skin not so pale like it looks on the bigger pictures.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-28-2013, 12:22 PM
I found also this web pages : http://www.triptico-davinci.com/category/proyeccion-phi

It is in Spanish ( which I do not understand ) . It is about the Leonardo Da Vinci's Divine proportions of the face. You can find there also "La Belle ferroniere". Just click on the picture or slide show and take a look - it is very interesting.

ianos dan
07-29-2013, 05:28 AM
Hello guys!
AllisonR; Yeah ,it was a photo made when the painting was still in the process of painting;that dark tone was polished ,so ,no hard transitions .l used same colors ,but the skin tone is probably more lighter now .
l really think Leonardo used oils ,not flemish medium ,because he wrote that, if you paint in oils ,you can blend a lot when the painting is still fresh ,so l believe that he worked with very slow drying oils ,because of it's properties .
In my case ,l work with flemish medium ,that tends to dry under my brush ,so not very efficient for me,because i had to stop from applying glazes or scumbles and smooth out small areas, and sometimes ,the painted are is almost dried ,and the blending process becomes a pain in the ...... :))).
l like your skin tones in this stage;with some glazes you can make her skin more believable ,and you can try to open a window with a portrait made by Leonardo ,(let's say ,Ginevra Benci) ,and see how he made her skin.
Florence Academy it's one of the most greatest and complete in the world .they had lots of teachers,including Michael John Angel ,the founder of this school ,who knows all the techniques of painting.What l can say about the skin palette ,is that ,it was used during the neoclassical period in France.They used a system of painting in which you cannot make mistakes ,all the tonal shifts ,all the values where there,but it was not the technique used by Loenardo da Vinci .First ,because the colors where not so available like in the 19th century ,and second ,because the colors where not so many ,like in the 19 th century .Leonardo had egg tempera training in his youth ,so ,he must have use oils very careful and very economical : he decided the area he will paint in a day ,he choose his pigments (very few),and he painted.(don't know how his palette looked ,but l'm sure it was not the 18 th ,19th century palette).l tend to say ,that Leonardo used only one or two colors on his palette ,but this is only my theory .

ianos dan
07-29-2013, 05:32 AM
Here's my copy scanned : l'm not sure ,but l want to make another scumble all over the face ,it will "blend" some areas,and give me the opportunity to work again on the features ....not sure ..http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Jul-2013/1165823-001rj.jpg:wave:

ianos dan
07-29-2013, 05:38 AM
Nathalie Chavieve ,Thank you! l'm not completely satisfied ,but l will try to emulate those features .Everyday l'm looking at this painting and l am amazed by the technique!he's unique ;the painting is very smooth ,but also has some linear qualities ,that you cannot find in Hahn's copy :the line of the mouth seems to be made with a single hair brush ,also the line of the eyelids ,and the nostril also a very delicate line,l saw this also at the Mona Lisa,same treatement....just incredible .

07-29-2013, 10:32 AM
ianos dan - I am very pleased to see your painting now. I think the eyes you have made are perfect. You have gotten the shape and the shadow used to hint at the eyelashes and the shadows are darkin that area but not too dark, and the lights are not too light. I can see all of your skin is "dark"; I mean the lightest value is still grey. I think it works well because any lighter and it would look funny on the dark background. Your mouth also is very elegant and close to the original.

Crits - if you will have them - I think her right eyebrow is too heavy, the original only hints at the eyebrow hair towards the edge of the face. I think your flesh tones need some softer blending? Perhaps it is the contrast in the camera or scanner that is poor - if so disregard. But if it is correct, then the blends between pink and earth color midtones look not so soft to me. Also it is light on her right side all the way down. I do not think it would be pink so far down. See how your pink goes way down on this side but only at the cheekbone on the other side? Note that I can not get this softly blended either - but my expectations for you are higher than the expectations for myself.

regarding florence colors - there is not many. 6 plus black and white.
Black, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, perm. alizarin crimson OR krapplak, light red pale (english red), yellow ochre, ligt or cadmium yellow, and white. I am very happy I was able to be there to learn, if only for two weeks. I can not do more with small children.

ianos dan
07-29-2013, 11:17 AM
You're right AllisonR ,that light scumble is absent there,l missed it :).It really needs more scumbles to achieve that smoothness,don;t want to paint thick ,that is why l am mad about this medium ,that dries to fast.and her right eyebrow is bigger than the left one ,so thanks for that :)))).
AllisonR,when is about this medium ,it really goes over my power :))),hope that fiew drops of oil will do the trick and will slow down somehow the drying process
Looks that the Florence colors are exactly the italian palatte for flesh tones,the one l've read almost 10 years ago in a old book .

Nathalie Chavieve
07-29-2013, 12:50 PM
Ianos dan : If you have a problem with your Flemish medium why don't you try another medium which dries slower ? By the way , what is the formula of this medium ( if it's not a secret ), or it is a ready medium from the shop ? Do you oil the panel before applying new color layer ? I do oil the panel before each new color layer and it can stay "workable" for 1 to 3 days. I use medium made from Turpantine, Dammar varnish and Linseed oil - it is not very tacky and not very liquid, and it's very good for blending.

07-29-2013, 02:39 PM
hope that fiew drops of oil will do the trick and will slow down somehow the drying process

Ianos dan : If you have a problem with your Flemish medium why don't you try another medium which dries slower ? By the way , what is the formula of this medium ( if it's not a secret ), or it is a ready medium from the shop ? Do you oil the panel before applying new color layer ? I do oil the panel before each new color layer and it can stay "workable" for 1 to 3 days. I use medium made from Turpantine, Dammar varnish and Linseed oil - it is not very tacky and not very liquid, and it's very good for blending.

Please, both of you share your medium. Like X% of A, Y% of B... I have the opposite problem, my basement in the summer is cool and has tons of moist, so all my paintings stay wet and sticky for far too long. I tried to oil out once, with 80% linseed and 20% terp. I thought it would help me see the colors better - because once some of the colors sink in and get dull then it is hard to see what value they really are. But the result was the canvas stayed sticky for weeks! Eventually I wiped it with terp lightly and brought it upstairs for a week, then it dried. So I would like to oil out if I can between some of the last layers, but don't feel confident doing it, as everything stays sticky far too long and gets a ton of dust on it.

The way I paint now is basically using paint. In the 1st layers a bit of terp, not a lot. Then I add a little linseed to the terp in the next layers, but again keeping as much paint as possible. In the final layers I add more linseed and maybe have no terp. So it will be 90% paint and 10% linseed. But if I am glazing, maybe it is only 50% paint and 50% linseed.

ianos dan
07-29-2013, 04:47 PM
Yes Nathalie ,it's an already prepared one ,it's called Flemish Siccative ,and it has an brown color.
In my country ,now,it's very hot outside ,almost 36 degrees Celsius ,and it has a huge influence on my painting process.it's very annoying to see the paint that almost freeze under your brush,and if you try to manipulate paint ,you have all the chances to lift and damage the layer.
Yes ,l oil locally the areas l paint in that day ,but it seems that it doesn't have a big effect over the drying process ,only that you can blend easier.
So ,any suggestions about the medium l use!l am tempted to switch to Linseed Oils and Turpentine .
l made today a scumble over the face ,trying to "melt" some transitions;the scumble was made with same colors i used in the previous layers.alight scumble was used over the shadow areas ,made from raw umber and a touch of white.
l will post tommorow some photos :)

Nathalie Chavieve
07-30-2013, 03:55 AM
Allison : I have sometimes the same problem with painting on canvas, especially now in the summer, when I do not use the heating and here is very high percent of humidity too. But also , I think that this problem comes from the additional coats of acrylic gesso, which I do apply over ready primed canvas - it is , probably, less absorbent then home made gesso I made for wood , because I never had this problem with wood panels. Before I start to use acrylic gesso for additional coats , I was preparing gesso for canvas by myself and it was qiuet OK. The only thing I can say about it - it is complicated process and take some time to make the gesso and to dry. But I should, probably, to try again and see how it works.
I do not use any Turpentine with Linseed oil when I oil the canvas : I use pure linseed oil, and after applying it, I wipe the excessive oil off until the canvas or panel almost dry.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-30-2013, 04:03 AM
Ianos dan: I have been looking up for the Flemish medium in Internet, here is link :http://www.oldmastersmaroger.com/categories/Flemish-Maroger-/

What I understand about this medium is : it should be easily used as for wet into wet, wet over dry, glazing, sculpting and more. It seams to me a perfect medium. The article says also about : "Poorly manufactured alkyd mediums set up too quickly, and make these subtle passages impossible" . May be you should check the quality of your medium ?

Nathalie Chavieve
07-30-2013, 04:21 AM
Allison and Ianos dan : Since I use mostly wet over dry and fat over lean technique in my works, I use different mediums in different stages of painting : for Imprimatura I use very liquid medium made from 20 parts of Turpantine + 1 part of Dammar varnish - it dries in about one week ( or less, depends on the climate :wink2:). Medium for Underpainting layers : 2 parts of Turpantine + 1 part of Dammar varnish - it still very liquid and allows to work with oils in a manner of watercolors and apply very thin and very thick layers of color ( dries in about 3 weeks ). For color layers I use less liquid medium made from : 1/2 Turpantine + 1/4 Linseed oil + 1/4 Dammar varnish ( dries slow ). Most of the mediums I use dries slowly and it remain wet for 2-4 days, so it allows to work or rework on the painting in the next days.
I never used siccatives in the mediums - I heard it tend to crack faster then other mediums.

Nathalie Chavieve
07-30-2013, 05:11 AM
Here is some information about painting mediums from the book of Jacques Maroger ( the founder of Flemish Maroger medium ) :

Six formulas of Maroger taken from his book on painting formulas

Lead Medium - attributed to Antonello da Messina (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonello_da_Messina) - One part litharge (yellow lead oxide) or lead white, combined by cooking with three to four parts linseed.
Lead Medium - attributed to Leonardo da Vinci (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci) - One part litharge or lead white, combined by cooking with three to four parts raw linseed oil, and three to four parts water.
Lead Medium - attributed to the Venetian painters - Giorgione (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giorgione), Titian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titian) and Tintoretto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintoretto) - One or two parts litharge or lead white, combined by cooking with 20 parts raw linseed or walnut oil.
Lead Medium - attributed to Peter Paul Rubens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Paul_Rubens) -This medium was allegedly based on the black oil of Giorgione with an addition of mastic resin, Venice turpentine and beeswax. One or two parts litharge or lead white, combines by cooking with 20 parts raw linseed. A little more than one spoonful of "black oil" combined with even one spoonful of mastic varnish resulted in the "jelly" medium thought to be Megilp (another name of Maroger media).
Lead Medium - (attributed to the "Little Dutch Masters") This medium was the same as the one used by Rubens, but did not include beeswax.
Lead Medium - attributed to Velázquez (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diego_Vel%C3%A1zquez) - One part verdigris (derived from copper - this material is substituted for the lead-based metallic driers), combined by cooking with 20 parts raw linseed or walnut oil.The majority of these recipes are not employed today, as there are few companies to be found that produce them. The primary form of "Maroger medium" known today is black oil ("Giorgione's" medium) and mastic varnish combined in approximately equal parts to form a gel.
While Maroger medium is usually mixed directly with oil paints, its proportion should be kept to no more than 20% of the mixture. A useful technique is to rub a very thin film of Maroger medium over the area to be painted and paint into that—known as "painting into the couch." This lubricates the brush stroke. Maroger medium (or any other painting medium, for that matter) should never be used as a final picture varnish, as Maroger requires reaction by admixture with oil paint in order to dry.
The reduced availability of lead, combined with injunctions against lead use in household products and other factors has caused most major paint makers to discontinue the production of Maroger's medium. Many paint makers now offer faux-maroger's media or faux-megilps, generally made by substituting different materials, such as lime, for genuine lead, or (as in the case of Gamblin's Neo-Megilp) by creating a similar product out of specially thickened alkyd medium. These products produce effects similar to, but not the same as those of real Maroger medium, which depends on specific chemical reactions between leaded oil, mastic resin, and turpentine (the mastic varnish vehicle).

For more information, please, visit Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Maroger#Lost_old_master_formulas_by_Maroger

ianos dan
07-30-2013, 03:45 PM
Thanks Nathalie! Really helpful ! It's not that Maroger ,it's Flemish Siccative ,not that gel ,mine it's liquid ,that gel it's fantastic ,l've worked with that kind of gel,but it was Damar Varnish.The medium you are talking about it's very permissive and has lot more flexibility than the one l'm working with now.
http://www.greatart.co.uk/Watercolour/Mediums-additives-and-cleaning/Mediums/Lefranc-Flemish-Siccative-Medium.html ,this is the one ,from LeFranc

Nathalie Chavieve
07-30-2013, 04:04 PM
I see. I do not use siccatives, because, what I heard, they are can be a cause of the darkening of the paint layer and, in addition, they are in some cases adverse effect on color pigments and change their original color. Also it tends to crack if you over use it.

ianos dan
07-31-2013, 09:10 AM
Hope it won't crack ,it will help the painting look older :evil:.l'm planning to use only linseed oil and some turpentine ,so no gels and mediums in the future.
Here's the effect of the light scumble over the face.l will put some photos,because the scanner seems to have some small problems because of the distance between the wood panel and the screen.l've worked on the eyebrow (thanks AllisonR),and added some dark glazes , where the shadows are located.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2013/1165823-0comp.jpg

07-31-2013, 02:23 PM
Hello, I don't usually visit this part of the forum. To be honest, I only recently found it exists :lol:

I have used the flemish siccative medium from le franc in the past. It also comes in a gel version. While I found it to be very good for final glazes, I never used it for "solid" painting, just because of it's quick drying. Instead, I use a medium of varying proportions of linseed stand (or polymerized) oil and turpentine with a tad of venice turpentine, whice gives paint a nice "long" quality and will allow nice blending. I've never had any problems with this one and I am quite satisfied with it.
I hope this helps.
Good job everyone with your copies, they are all turning out very well! :)

07-31-2013, 04:11 PM
There is so so so much online about XYZ medium cracking, ABC medium turning yellow, that damar inbetween layers is bad, is great, is... I find it all overwhelming And since I am new to oils, I am listening to everyone's advice and writing it down. But I am sticking to paint, distilled turp and cold pressed linseed. I am trying to keep everything simple. Right now I just want to paint better. When I paint better then I can slowly add things.

Ianos Dan - lovely. Your skin tones work so well - not too dark or too light, pinks but not too many, also yellows, fresh, not dead at all. Are you pleased? I think also you have subtly changed the nose? it looks good. Her eye shadows I would not go any darker. I have also many problems in this area. Her lips are beautiful. Did you use a very tiny brush and literally make a thin line? I ask because I think you mentioned it earlier, and the line looks graceful. I do not think I can do this, it will come out crude, not one graceful, curvy movement like you have.

My paint should be dry soon. And my kids are back in school next week, which means I can get a lot more painting done. I really have gotten very little done in the last weeks with them home. Not a complaint, the kids are so young and a joy 95% of the time. Right now I am doing "quick" art things - Like reading The Lives of Artists while we are at the playground.

ianos dan
08-01-2013, 08:11 AM
slasher ,thanks a lot for this recipe ,l will definitely try this one ,with Linseed Oil and Turpentine ,this type of painting really needs time for blending ,and the medium l use it's not made for this purpose ,at least ,not for mine :)
In the past ,some of the painters could blend the entire painting ,at the end of the working day ,or sometimes ,next day ,when the painting was semi-dried,so ,l believe the medium was a slow drying one.

ianos dan
08-01-2013, 01:15 PM
AllisonR:you're right ,l'm also eager to learn painting techniques ,but you see,it helps a lot to learn some properties of each material you use,because it will help your painting keep it's freshness throughout years,not cracking,loose it's luminosity.....and so on .
Of course ,this is just an exercise ,but it helps ,so l want to treat every painting with great care.
About the painting:Thanks ,not pleased yet,still have to work ,but l'm ok with it .the nose was not modified ,only some subtle shadow underneath ,and also ,the scumble that melted somehow the highlights ,that where to strong ,but have their purpose.
Yes ,l used a very small brush for that line (just look at that line on a picture of the painting ),because Leonardo used lines for mouth and nostrils ,but very very fine ,almost invisible .( still struggle with that ).
Yeah ,the shadows are okay ,speaking about intensity ,but still needs scumbles in mid tones ,more blending ,more volume.
You have kids! That is your best achievement !Congrats !

Nathalie Chavieve
08-01-2013, 04:01 PM
Ianos dan : The reworked painting looks much better now with more soft blending, but I think you should do more blending on the face: on the border where light color and dark shadows meet. I also think that the dark shadows of the face is too dark and too brown . In my opinion in this stage and with this colors of light skin tone the shadows can be bluish and lighter - now their are too heavy and not very elegant. Anyway, you did a nice work and I hope you'll find your perfect medium for blending ;). Looking forward to see your next steps and colors.

Nathalie Chavieve
08-01-2013, 04:06 PM
Slasher : Thanks for input in our thread . I also use similar medium which I mix by myself, but instead of Venetian turpentine I use Dammar varnish. I like this medium because it allows me to blend and it stays wet for a few days.

Nathalie Chavieve
08-01-2013, 04:12 PM
It is true facts that rabbit glue is a cause of cracking of gesso, and the linseed oil and dammar varnish is tend to yellow with age, and so on ..... but is there a perfec formula for creating a perfect painting that will last without damage for centuries ? I wonder.........:confused:

ianos dan
08-02-2013, 05:40 AM
Thanks Nathalie for pointing some of the details of this photo,not the painting,because ,like l said before ,the scanned painting looks weird ,not it's true color and volume;the colors l use are not "dead layer" ,so in this stage ,the colors look as l planned ,l'm not sticking to anything ,no secret formulas,no flemish method,just experimenting ,You're right ,in this stage ,according to the flemish method used by Mr.Antonov ,should be a dead layer ,but this is not a flemish painting ,and l'm not using that kind of approach. l will post today some photos ,showing some comparisons between may hand and the panel ,so you can see ,if there's a heavy shadow or not ,if there is ,my hand should look lighter :).
So excited to see your painting :):clap:http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Aug-2013/1165823-944583_581806068524157_1302493031_n.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Aug-2013/1165823-969103_581806055190825_757139963_n.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Aug-2013/1165823-971563_581806088524155_585806008_n.jpg

Nathalie Chavieve
08-02-2013, 08:59 AM
Ianos dan : I see now the difference between this picture and the previous ones, which was a bad quality pictures and did not showed how the painting look like in real life ( well, it is a real problem with those photos - it never can come up with true colors ). You also understood me wrong : I did not meant that you have to do a dead layer or follow some particular technique. I appreciate the knowledge and the oil painting technique of Mr. A.Antonov, and I have made some paintings following his technique and suggestions, but it does not mean I follow and will follow this method of oil painting all my life. My suggestion was based on my own practice and experimentation. Right now I am working on the other painting and I came up to the stage when I used Alizarin crimson and Vermilion for mixsnig skin tone, and for shadows - mixture of color which includes Ultramarin. I found the result of those mixtures very interesting and pleasing my eyes, and it works very well with a previous color layers . Also I use very often for referance a book by Frank Zöllner "Leonardo Da Vinci, The complete paintings and drawings" which has a very large pictures of some Leonardo Da Vinci paintings like "Portrait of Ginevra de Benci". The pictures shows close ups of forehead and eyes, lower part of the face . The pictures has an incredible quality and make possible to see a very tiny brush strokes and passages. It also allows to see a true ( more or less )colors, which is helps me a lot to try to understand his technique and what I have seen and after analysing of information on Leonardo Da Vinci painting techniques and his approaches to the painting, I tend to think that is can be the "right" color scheme for this stage of painting.

Nathalie Chavieve
08-03-2013, 06:26 PM
"Thanks Nathalie for pointing some of the details of this photo,not the painting,because ,like l said before ,the scanned painting looks weird ,not it's true color and volume;the colors l use are not "dead layer" ,so in this stage ,the colors look as l planned ,l'm not sticking to anything ,no secret formulas,no flemish method,just experimenting ,You're right ,in this stage ,according to the flemish method used by Mr.Antonov ,should be a dead layer ,but this is not a flemish painting ...."

Ianos dan : By the way, I do not understand at all, why did you mentioned the dead layer , especially now - when you have had applied already a few color layers ? According to the Flemish oil painting technique and Mr. A.Antonov's painting technique, the dead layer you should apply long time ago - straight away after underpainting you have made in Raw umber ( or so ). Now, after your copy received a several layers of color, you are talking about a dead layer ? Honestly , what a nonsence ? I really didn't expect it from you.....:confused::confused:

P.S. Please, in a future, take a better quality pictures of your works, if you do not want to have any kind of misjudging from the fellow artists.

ianos dan
08-05-2013, 06:34 AM
Hello Nathalie! l see that some problems of interpretation appeared in this topic.
l believed you are speaking about the dead layer ;
"Ianos dan : The reworked painting looks much better now with more soft blending, but I think you should do more blending on the face: on the border where light color and dark shadows meet. I also think that the dark shadows of the face is too dark and too brown . In my opinion in this stage and with this colors of light skin tone the shadows can be bluish and lighter - now their are too heavy and not very elegant. Anyway, you did a nice work and I hope you'll find your perfect medium for blending . Looking forward to see your next steps and colors."
The words "blueish and lighter " in shadows ,immediately appeared to me that your are speaking about "dead layer",this was the big miss understanding .According to his recipe ,or that small paragraph in his "treatise on painting",he used for the underpainting ,black and some red brown pigments (there exists some results of analysis published by London Gallery),and l've tried to emulate this stage.Over this underpainting ,Leonardo used (at least this is what the restorers found ) scumbles and glazes,some quantities of lead white and some Red Lake where found here.this is what l also tried to emulate ,using colors l had in my studio .
So ,speaking about the shadows:they should be warm or?are you speaking about half shadow ,semitones ?l personally don't see cool colors in shadows...
Thanks for the tips ,l will post only quality photos ,from now on :)
How is your painting ?:)

08-05-2013, 07:16 AM
Please let us all be nice to each other! We have Romanian, Finnish and English as mother tongues here. In any case, there is bound to be maybe a few misinterpretations. Yes, we can try to speak clearly and technically, for everyone to understand. But if there is some unclear or mis-worded phrases, let us accept it gracefully.

As for me, I plan on mixing flesh tones tomorrow for a self-portrait study, and some of these may be useful for my next scumble-glaze layers on Leonardo's face, which will be wednesday, thursday latest. Today I am finishing some Charles Bargues drawings.

Nathalie Chavieve
08-05-2013, 10:10 AM
Ianos dan ( and Allison ) : First of all it is not a question of misunderstanding or language misinterpretations. I understand that we are all leaving in different countires and speak completely different languages and our use of English in comunication and translations our thought from one language to another can cause a confusion and misunderstanding. The reason that I get annoyed ( and even offended ) was not that at all. The real reason is that Ianos dan posted such a bad quality pictures of his work and lead me ( and not only me, but you, Allison, as well, and probably the other artists, who is following out thread ) to give an improper judgment of his painting . After all, his writing a post in which he thanks me for my comments not on his painting, but his bad quality picture . What a funny turn up ! He posting an awful photos, and I became an idiot. Well, I find this completely unpolite and rude.

However , I really do not want that this thread will became a place for arguments on the not related themes and personal issues. So, let us to continue our challenge in restoring the oil painting technique of Leonardo Da Vinci.

The only thing I ask from everyone here is: please, try to take a good as possible quality pictures of your works, that all of us can judge properly the art work of the other and avoid this kind on unpleasant situations.

P.S. Replies are not necessary .

Nathalie Chavieve
08-05-2013, 10:55 AM
This weekend I was working on my copy. It has dried for a three weeks ( even little bit more ). I made a mixture for skin tone from Flake white, Yellow ochre, Alizarin crimson and Burnt Umber. I made the mixture towards yellowish hue and applied over the light areas of the face and chest in medium thick layers and over the shadows in very thin scumble. I made a little changes of the forehead as I found it too wide and I added some hair and corrected the hair line. I fixed also the hair line on the nape in a place where the thread is lays. I decided to give for the dress an extra glaze of mixture Cadmium red deep and Alizarin crimson, because I found that the previous layers of Vermilion will be not enough to achieve the effect of velvet. The glaze was made very thinly to let Vermilion layer show through. For the shade areas and folds same mixture was made with adding a little bit of Ultramarine blue. I left the yellow pipes untouched. Actually I am very pleased with the color of the dress at this stage. The only thing I did wrong ( I think ) is I made the shades in the folds of the sleeves too dark in the previous layers and now they looks too heavy to me.

Finally I have decided to paint those ribbons :clap: and give them a touch of greenish color - just to see how it will look like . It is not a definate color and I might change it in the next steps - I don't know yet.

I also added some black color on the background but just around the figure - to see how it works.

Well, here the result of my weekend: critiques are welcome !


Nathalie Chavieve
08-05-2013, 11:04 AM
Closer image:

Please note : the skin tone does not look soooo yellowish - it has more complicated hue than only yellow .


ianos dan
08-06-2013, 12:59 PM
Okay ,so ,today l've worked about 5 hours on my version .Same thing ,scumbles and glazes ,some reflections on the eyes , also highlights ,and so on ..
l've worked only at the face,the neck and chest is left from the previous session ,in doesn't need so much work as the face.next days ,when l will have some time ,l will paint her dress and rest of the painting.
I used: Titanium White ,Yellow Ocher,Vermilion ,Carmine ,Burnt Sienna ,Raw Umber and Black .

Looking good so far Nathalie :clap: .a small suggestion : the upper eyelid is bigger than the original,l think you can reshape it in next layers .
The original has more wide open eyes.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2013/1165823-corection.jpg

ianos dan
08-06-2013, 01:06 PM
Here is the comparisonhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2013/1165823-cor.jpg

Nathalie Chavieve
08-07-2013, 09:59 AM
Ianos dan : Thank you on your comments and remarks about the eyes. Actually, I was experimenting on her look ( glance ), as through the process of working on this copy I realised, that with each even very tiny brush stroke her glance can be changed dramatically. It's really fasinating. Also, I notice that she girl ( "La belle..") looks completely different under a different light: when you look to a darker photos of the original painting - she has more "devilish" look, in the other hand - on the photos with more light in it -she has more soft and innocent look.

Your painting looks very well too. I think , it's really important in this work to make a soft blending and now it look much-much better then previous layers, when you have had a difficulty to blend the colors. What are you planning to do with a background - will leave it like this or apply an additional color layer ? I also want to ask you : what kind of white did you use for previous color layers ?

ianos dan
08-07-2013, 12:31 PM
Hello Nathalie ! Yes ,l also realised that ,if you look at the painting ,could be yours ,or a photo of Leonardo's painting ,under a weaker light ,the colors are more"melted" ,the shadows are stronger and the painting looks more realistic .
Also ,what l found myself ,is that ,in the evening ,when the light is more gentle,or ,when the sun sets,the painting ,like you said looks darker ,and it means (l think) that it needs darker glazes ;the evening is for me.like a filter ,it has the role of a glaze . So the evening is a good adviser :)
l've put in my working medium few drops of linseed oil ,to slow down a little bit the drying process of the pigments ,and it works .
l will definitely use some black in the background ,it seems that the background is pure black (at least ,this is how l see it),like The lady with hermine.
I use only Titanium White since the beginning of the painting.
Today l've worked at the lower part of the portrait ,the neck ,the ribbons,l've made the golden stripes .http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2013/1165823-corect.jpg

ianos dan
08-08-2013, 12:18 PM
Verifying my painting ,by cutting and pasting over the original.
Made some mistakes ,the chest is smaller in my version ,the forehead is bigger ,the neck shorter ...the ribbons also smaller .The face is, in general ,okay ,some small differences ,still .. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2013/1165823-comp1.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2013/1165823-comp2.jpg

08-08-2013, 04:22 PM
Nathalie - like seeing your progress. I love your ginger hair. Stunning. I wish I had not gone so dark with my hair, looks so dulll while yours looks shiny and lustrous.

I see what you mean about the clothing - Leonardos looks like velvet and yours with the addition of cadmium also looks like velvet. I think I will do similar.

The green you put in the ribbons must be very subtle, I can't see it at all.

Personally I don't think the black works well in the background. It looks too dark and heavy, like it is not air but a solid. Don't look at mine; I have made my background way too dark too early. I made everything too dark. Too much learning the hard way.

Ianos Dan - your edges from face to hair and neck to background are so smooth and soft in the transition. How? Do you paint skin and background at same time and overlap them a bit? Or paint at different times, but overlap the colors into each other, so no hard edge?

Interesting idea about merging your painting and the original in Photoshop to see proportional errors. This is like the sight-size method of holding the mirror up vertical against your nose to match the original to the painting.

Will you add more color to her skin? I think it is too white still, like the Hahn copy, but that is just my opinion. I like the pink hints you have added to her lips.

ianos dan
08-09-2013, 05:34 AM
Yeah ,it's kind of dramatic ,just to put black in background ,but if you make it black ,and somehow leave some of the underpainting uncovered in some areas ,like behind her head (l saw there some lighter tone,but very subtle),you can give lots of space ,and the figure will look very sculptural. l will try this ,but l will not put a black flat background :).
l made it by merging the fresh layer with the dried one ,exactly how you described ,so ,the second question of yours, is the answer.l am kind of lazy when it comes to mixing colors on the palette ,so l prefer to work with premixed colors,2 or 3 colors on the palette + plus black and white sometimes,and simply try go over the areas where the painting needs that color ,or tone.This kind of approach is very economic ,you're putting small amounts of color,not 12 ,14 ,20 mixtures .But ,again ,this is how l work :).
I will wait until the face and neck is completely dried ,and will continue some general scumble ,it needs more unity in tone ,more blending ,more more....
This days l saw ,at the left eye of "la Belle" some eyelashes ,very very thin and subtle ,just look at it !!!Hahn's copy does not have that ,it's like a marble sculpture ; the inner corner of the eyes(tear duct) are very pale ,it seems that Leonardo made it more colorful ,at least this is how it looks ,also the interior of the eye ,it has more detail ,the highlights of the eyes are sharpen on Leonardo's painting.
Another thing : the painting looks like a copy(it is what it is) ,not a painting made after a living person ,that is why ,the eyes are looking unnatural,just look at Leonardo's eyes (La belle) ,and see ,as l saw at the photo of my sister ,that the eyelids are thinner and are rapping perfectly on the eye ball ,the eyes had more tension and curves ,than the copy .
Just keep this in mind when you're coping ,l am just astonished by his craft !

Nathalie Chavieve
08-09-2013, 09:23 AM
Hello, everyone . This afternoon I wanted to check our thread and I found here a very big mess :eek:: posts came from different threads and I was little bit confused what's going on. Now everything back to normal ; I believe it was kind of technical problems.

Thank you, Allison , for the comments. I did not finished the hair yet, in this layer I was just adjusting a bit the hair line, but I will work more on it in the next layers - I think the color of the hair on the original painting definitely not so red and bright. Also I will add more layers of color to the dress as well. This color is only an intermediate one.
Yes, the greenish color of the ribbons also is not definitive, because I really do not know yet what color I want them to be ( ladies never can decide on the colors of the accessories ;)) , and I made it very subtle that I can change it if I want.

About the background : sometimes when you look at the picture of the painting with very black and solid background - it seems to be so, but in a matter of fact , in most of the cases, it is only a glaze of black color, like Ivory black, for instance, over semidark background. You can make an experiment : paint canvas with Imprimatura ( golden hue, for example), after it dries- lay a semitransparent layer of Burnt Umber( with or without some black) and after it's has dried - lay a thinly with a small brush Ivory black( but not very thin and not very thick). When it's dry - you'll see how the background became very dark, but not solid, and you'll find that the colors of Imprimatura and the Burnt umber layer illuminates the layer of black pigments. It gives beautiful dark but still not solid background. That's what I am planning to do in my copy.

08-11-2013, 02:04 PM
Posted the other day and its not here now. I think there was somr kind of bug/glitch and they backtracked the forums deleting whatever was said.
I had topic in the main area and it was doing really strange thing.
Anyways its good now. The painting updates Im seeing looks great!
Hope to get some other projects outta the way and continue my painting soon.

08-16-2013, 08:25 AM
Well, here is to hoping that WC is running ok again. If WC is stable, please everyone post your latest versions and comments.

I painted about 7.5 hours monday. Still drying.

Added a blue-green color to the background. I did it, not to match the original exactly, but to make a subtle temperature contrast with the portrait. I am happy with this. The background was too warm-brown before, and now it is only subtly cool, but really looks like air.

I glazed the dress again, with madder as before, but with a lot of vermilion in it, to make it look more like velvet. I did this because I liked Nathalie's results, and I am glad I did. I also glazed the bands in her dress again, I don't remember with what, probably yellow ochre.

I glazed her ribbons with raw umber mixed with a bit of blue-green, ultramarine and cadmium yellow, and I think I probably put some black with yellow in there as well. Black and yellow make such lovely green.

I glazed her hair with a ginger red, light red pale (english red) and raw umber. I did this because the hair was too dull and dark. Now it is too red and warm. But that is OK, because later I will add another glaze of cooler brown. Maybe burnt umber or raw umber and burnt sienna mix.

I sumbled all of her fleshtones, using the color palette I learned at the Florence Academy. From these preliminary colors I mixed flesh tones that were slightly yellowish. But not so yellow as in Leonardo's. And not so pale white as the Hahn copy. I think the overall values with this are OK, was what I was trying for. Some of the pinks from the previous layer show through nicely. Though maybe all mid tones and darks need to be a bit darker.

She lacks the gentle blended elegance in both the Leonardo painting and the Hahn copy. Mine is more cartoony or harsh or something. Yuck.

Later I will try again to add some very very thin scumbles on top, and with a bit more dark and pink in them.

I made her eyes blue. I think to compensate for my lack of ability to make subtle brown eye color that is still strong. Not sure what I will do about them.

I repainted the necklace. It is way too cold and lacks shadow where it meets the back of her neck. Yuck. Later I will glaze over in warmer, gold color, so it blends more into the skin instead of looking so harsh.

I added some highlights to the fancy border. Also yuck. I don't have the delicate, confident hand of the masters.

Photo is now better, but not perfect. I just learned that I should always look at the painting, not my photo, when making comments. Please critique and suggest!

Nathalie Chavieve
08-21-2013, 06:16 AM
Hello, dear fellow artists ! Long time no see !:wave:
Hopefully the WC resolved the problems with jumping posts and everything back to normal now and we can continue to share our thoughts and knowledge here..:thumbsup:

Allison : You have done a wonderful work on your copy - so many hours of painting !:clap: The hair looks very beautiful , I think too red, but , anyway, you said that you will glaze over it : I am sure the additional glaze will give to it a stunning effect. The skin tone is also nicely done : soft and well blended . Are you going to do another color layer over this tone ? The color of the dress look much better now with more soft blending and additional color layer - it gives a feel of velvet.

Now little bit of critique : I found the nose ( again) too wide, especially at the bridge of nose. The eyes are does not have those shadows from the lashes which you find in original painting and it makes the eyes too wide and too "open", if you understand what I mean. The shadow under the chin has a different color and value than the other shadows of the face. The lower lip looks like it comes forward little bit .
I also think that the panel ( or wood, or what so ever it is ) has the same warm tones with the whole figure and it does not separate the figure from the viewer as on the Leonardo and Hahn's paintings.
You can check the tonal values of your paintings by making them black and white in Photoshop ( or other program ).

I didn't work on my copy yet, because I want it will dry properly before the next velaturas and glazes will be applied. So, may be I'll start to work on it at the end of this week or next week - let see.

What do you plan to do next with your copy, Allison ? Will you continue to work on it more or you think it almost done ?

Ianos dan , Evan : How are you, guys ? How your copies are progressing ?

ianos dan
08-21-2013, 05:44 PM
Hello guys !
Nice work AllisonR on your copy !
It has that sfumato ,specially on the areas where the form is touring into the shadow,but l don't know why you have made the eyes blue?l think the reflection of the chest on the lower part of the eyes,made you to choose that color.If you analyze some parts of the neck ,you will see some subtle skin folds ,because she has some fat deposits,you can make them ,don't be afraid !
The cheekbone has some characteristics ,even if it is covered with some flesh,it is there and it is visible ;l think you can put a very subtle glaze over ,and it's solved.
The flesh tone is OK ,but l think the original was paler ;yours has a small amount of sun tan.
Hope you will continue working on it ,it's a good copy ,deserves some extra time :)!

ianos dan
08-21-2013, 06:04 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2013/1165823-21082013522.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2013/1165823-21082013518.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2013/1165823-21082013516.jpgl've worked on my copy today; the face received a scumble over the light parts ,to unify some areas ,and the shadows also a scumble .l reinforced the highlights of the eyes ,l made the reflections lighter ,few eyelashes ,the mouth also needed a scumble ,lighter on the lower lip,because a saw that the mouth has very subtle shifts of temperature,if l squint my eyes,it's almost the same color as the cheek .
l've made also the pigtail ,or whatever it's there ,some grey scumble ,over the hair ,and also made a dark line between the neck and her pigtail ,because a saw a very very dark line there .
l made some scumbles over the ribbons ,the light parts where made with some grey and raw umber ,but the darker ones where left in some neutral color (don't know yet what color to put ).

08-22-2013, 03:44 PM
Dan, BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS OF A BEAUTIFUL PAINTING! Look in her face! I see lovely rosy cheek, nice shadow under cheek, a reflection on the jawbone in a different hue, subtle color shifts on the neck from neutral grey to tiny blue to tiny orange to tiny pink. But all of this is so subtle. It is elegant. Are you pleased? She is lovely.

Yes, I agree about the lips, upper lip has much darker shadow areas than the lighter lower lip. I wish I could give you a constructive crit on your painting, but I do not have a good enough eye yet and only see a beautiful painting until you yourself point out some flaw.

08-22-2013, 03:56 PM
Yes, I will paint more. I am unhappy about how cartoony and harsh my copy looks. If I look at your copies, Nathalie and Dan, you both have very elegant transitions. I am trying, but not succeeding. My blends and transitions look crude. I wish I knew how to do it better. Maybe more overlap?

Nathalie, thanks for the compliment on my dress. It is the only part of the painting I am reasonably happy with.

I made a huge mistake with the space between her eyebrows - mine is a huge gapping inverted triangle. I must fix. See pic. And now I also see what you mean about the eyelashes Nathalie. I will darken and make mine heavier.

When you say the shadow under the chin has a different color, do you mean I should make more of a color difference, or less? I see the reflection there as a different highlight color, and made it more rosy on purpose.

Nathalie, I will look again at the nose and lips. I think my lips need heavier line and shaodws.

The color of the wood panel - are you saying mine separates the figure from viewer, because of the color and I should put some hints of fleshtone in the wood, to unify the painting?

Dan, I will change the eye color again. I did it to see how it would look in blue, my brown eyes on her were so ugly. And yes, now I see more folds on her neck. I will add some hints.

The cheekbone has some characteristics ,even if it is covered with some flesh,it is there and it is visible ;l think you can put a very subtle glaze over ,and it's solved.

I do not understand. Do you mean more dark on underside of cheekbone and moee light on topside?

The flesh tone is OK ,but l think the original was paler ;yours has a small amount of sun tan.

Yes, and I am ok with this. I wanted a bit more life in it. Leonardo's is too yellow and the Hahn is to white and pasty.

Your flesh tones are lovely, you have a lot more real flesh in yours than the Hahn copy.

ianos dan
08-22-2013, 04:59 PM
Thank you AllisonR! l'm am pleased ,but still needs some unifying glazes and scumbles in some areas,because Leonardo's painting looks very blended and subtle,and l am a simple artist ,trying to copy this masterpiece.
l know l made some mistakes ,but l am conscious that Leonardo was a genius ,and he had a perfect technique ,very hard to emulate.the lower part of the portrait ,the neck and the upper part of her torso,is smaller,but this is a mistake l cannot rectify ....
l tried to make the net or whatever is on her had ,but l ended by erasing it with a cloth ; that is really hard to do ,l need another day to do it,and of course,a steady hand .Also ,the lower part of the nose needs a small adjustment ,l will solve that with a light scumble over the contour ,hope it will work :),l will not proceed to that small details ,like her small jewel on her forehead and those tiny highlights of gold thread ,until l will make her face look more "polished".

ianos dan
08-22-2013, 05:49 PM
Yes AllisonR ,the secret is overlapping layers and layers of paint ,very thin paint,l think that is the secret. Why l'm saying this ? because he painted few paintings and l think he was a slow painter .
You're right ,a darker glaze ,following the shape of her cheekbone ,and then blended ,will solve that small problem; the cheekbone exists in your painting ,but it needs more definition ,again,very very subtle.
What l think about the flesh color ,made by Leonardo ; l think he obtain that with some scumbles ,some premixed colors ,by giving layer upon layer ,until he achieved that pale pink skin ,l;m saying this because ,if you put flesh color painted by Leonardo ,next to a Luis David or Vermeer ,you will see what l am talking about ; it looks like a real person ,but it has some "invention" in it,like the eyes that are in shadow ,some highlights that are missing ,not because he didn't saw that ,because he wanted to be more enigmatic ,more like a sculpture,polished to perfection :)

Nathalie Chavieve
08-23-2013, 12:04 PM
Ianos dan : Very well done ! Beautifully blended colors . Her eyes are very beautiful and expressive. The only thing I can critique here, is the transition of the color to the shadow on the nose from both sides - it is not same soft blending as everywhere else.

Nathalie Chavieve
08-23-2013, 12:34 PM
Yes, I will paint more. I am unhappy about how cartoony and harsh my copy looks. If I look at your copies, Nathalie and Dan, you both have very elegant transitions. I am trying, but not succeeding. My blends and transitions look crude. I wish I knew how to do it better. Maybe more overlap?

The color of the wood panel - are you saying mine separates the figure from viewer, because of the color and I should put some hints of fleshtone in the wood, to unify the painting?

You are doing better and better, Allison, with the transitions and blending. Sometimes it take time and some experience to achieve the result you want, you just have to be more patient : blending colors to very smooth transitions can take a lot of effort and time, Sometimes blending colors take more time then applying colors on canvas/wood.
I also think that not always overlapping color layers is a solution of blending colors. Overlapping or glazes/ velaturas/ scumbling is one of possibilities, but it must include a soft blending with a brush or fingers, especially in the edges or borders.

About the wood panel : No, I meant , that the color of the panel on your copy has the same very warm value ( and colors ) with the figure, and it makes the panel and the figure merg into each other. I think, if the panel would have a colder value, it will give the illusion of depth and separate the figure of the girl from the viewer as it looks on the original and Hahn's paintings.

Nathalie Chavieve
08-23-2013, 01:06 PM
Just wanted to share with all of you : Yesterday I have received the books of art I ordered from Amazon : one of them - "A treatise on painting " by Leonardo Da Vinci. I have been reading some parts of this book on Internet in e-book format which I do not like at all, as I prefer just an "old" style paper book. I am very excited to have this book !

The other book I odered is : "The Master Keys . A master treatise on the pictorial technique of oil painting " by H.Redelius, who was a Maroger's principal technical assistant. He was searching through the techniques of the Old masters from the 15th through the 17th centuries. I didn't read the book yet, but I have had a brief look : he describes the painting techniques, the mediums, use of paints and etc. of Flemish painters like Van Dyck, Bruegel, Venetian technique, Giorgione, Messina and Leonardo Da Vinci. I am sure it will be very fasinating read !

08-23-2013, 08:14 PM
Howdy Folks!
I just have to say you are all so inspiring. This is the reason I joined WC, this thread, and have been following with rapt attention for months. I have learned so much from you amazing painters - when I started I thought "no way could I ever do that", but now with much practice and learning from others I start to think "maybe someday..."
So thank you all so much for sharing your knowledge and expertise, I'm loving every step, perhaps I'll join in the next "challenge"!! :crossfingers:

08-24-2013, 04:10 AM
Thanks Nathalie! I actually like ebooks, and put the free one (Da Vinci - http://archive.org/details/treatiseonpainti001974mbp ) on my Kindle :)

08-25-2013, 01:12 AM
I like what Im seeing to far!
Hope to continue mine soon. The heat has made me lazy and even more so with how hot the room I paint in gets.
I didnt know that book thanks for sharing!

Nathalie Chavieve
08-25-2013, 01:41 PM
If you analyze some parts of the neck ,you will see some subtle skin folds ,because she has some fat deposits,you can make them ,don't be afraid

Ianos dan and Allison : I also have been thinking about those skin folds on the neck. I find it very unnatural that the neck does not almost any skin folds ! Today I was working on my copy ( will post pictures later ) and I found that the skin fold which is visible on the original and starts from the nape of the neck in the matter of fact does not form one solid line( it is hardly visible on the original painting, but if you look carefuly - you'll find it there !) I made an experiment by placing myself in the same sitting position like "La belle.." and I saw what it is or what it can be.

(Forgive me those terrible lines )


There can be at least three skin folds : first - is starts from the nape of the neck ( which is visible on the original ) , second - starts under the chin and almost merges into a first line, the third - starts also under the chin and goes almost until nape. The forth line can occure as well, but it very light and subtle and can change with any light movement of the head or torso.
Of course , because she is young and has a young skin , those lines can be very light and subtle, but they are should be there , I think.

Nathalie Chavieve
08-25-2013, 01:46 PM
Thank you Adamrice and Highwaykind for the comments and sharing the link ! You are welcome to join our thread any time !

Nathalie Chavieve
08-25-2013, 01:52 PM
I like what Im seeing to far!
Hope to continue mine soon. The heat has made me lazy and even more so with how hot the room I paint in gets.
I didnt know that book thanks for sharing!

Evan : Come on , Evan, do not be lazy, grab your paints and brushes and start to work on your copy :)! We are all waiting to see your painting :thumbsup:!

ianos dan
08-25-2013, 02:22 PM
Hello guys! Nathalie ,thanks for your critique ,l will try to work those areas ,but l will have to think also ,that the nose has a bone area and a cartilage one ,both have some impact or effect over the skin ,and has some really interesting shapes there ,l will see what l can do :).
adamrice,you are welcome anytime ,so,give it a try,this type of challenge makes you evolve !
highwaykind:about the Leonardo's Treatise on painting;thanks so much for the online version -l have this book ,in romanian,and l tried to find some clues ....unfortunately,there's only one paragraph that describes his technique ,the one l have scanned some time ago for Evan ,in his thread,and even that paragraph is very very short ,describing his first steps ,probably the underpainting ,and a color layer.After you will read the book ,you will try to speculate ;what kind of underpainting ,which color,what he is saying about that lake ,it's a color ,a medium?things like that :).
Nathalie :l think that the neck area is another great achievement of Leonardo;if you zoom in ,you won't find a real line ,everything is smoothed out ,blended ,so ,yeah,no hard line.l analyzed my sister's neck ,and it seems that those lines are following the muscles of the neck somehow.

Nathalie Chavieve
08-25-2013, 04:02 PM
Ianos dan : I know that the painting is so old and bad condition and it is hard to see those tiny details, but I clearly saw these two lines : I looked carefully pictures and in the book ( very large picture of face and neck ) and I think at least those two lines is there. Please take a close look at the area where I made a circle.


ianos dan
08-26-2013, 05:02 AM
Yes ,the lines are definitely made by Leonardo ,not cracks.
Just look at this comparison ,and tell my Leonardo is not a master!Just look how real he painted that small wrinkles ,ASTONISHING!!!l think that the painting was breath taking in that period of time !:clap:http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Aug-2013/1165823-neck2.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Aug-2013/1165823-neckpsd.jpg

Nathalie Chavieve
08-26-2013, 06:43 AM
That's exactly what I saw on my neck and on the neck of "La belle..." ;)