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cedargrove
01-16-2014, 08:19 PM
I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with a basic skin tone palette. I generally use Naples, Cad Red Light, Crimson Aliz, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, and a random blue or green to gray things out. Oh and Titanium and flake white with some occasional Ivory black, though I try to mix grays from complimentary colors. I'm comfortable with this but I'd like to start shifting my range in other directions.

For whatever reason (lack of knowledge, skill, theory, sight) Bougeareaus very light tones elude me. Its so delicate and light but not quite white or gray or pink or whatever it almost feels like it is but isn't. Now I know it's much easier to paint high contrast, strong light figures because the variations are more obvious. Somehow he manages to (at least to my eyes) do a lot in a smaller rage of tone and hue without looking like mud.

I know how well regarded he is and I can't expect to just pump something out like him but I feel like there is some fundamental piece that I'm not quite picking up. I'm thinking just pale blues, greens, pinks but it never seems to feel right. I think perhaps my detection and sense of value just aren't at a place where I can move in that direction while maintaining a cohesion of value and chroma.

Just seeing if anyone had some advice in terms of color, value, or technique. If I remember correctly he didn't glaze a ton of layers. God, I'm just in awe of his ability to portray light and form like in the Saytr painting. Just marvelous. I just don't know if it takes so much more to play in that subtle range of tone or if I'm just overlooking something that could nudge me that direction. Thank you for your time and advice.

opainter
01-16-2014, 10:32 PM
There is gray (pale gray!) to some extent in all of his skintones. Perhaps you are getting stuck in the process of mixing grays from opposite colors. Perhaps you might try mixing a neutral gray paint (if you have it) with white, and then adding (just a touch!) of color to it when you have the value about right. You could start from a middle neutral gray (N5) if you have it, or from a lighter neutral gray (say, N7) if you want something lighter to begin with. You might still have to mix it with white in a 3-to-1 ratio to get the correct value (lightness) before you add any color. At least this way you can keep the two steps - getting the correct value, then getting the correct hue - separate, and it should help you if you need to troubleshoot where you are going wrong.

P.S. - Welcome to WetCanvas!

cedargrove
01-17-2014, 12:14 AM
I need to go ahead and buy a set of premixed grays. I think it would speed things up a lot, and I'm really trying to learn how to utilize grays more. It really adds another dimension that I wasn't getting early on, and while I can mix them, knowing exactly what I'm going to get would really help. Where can I find a premixed set? I just checked out Munsell and Windsor but didn't see a set. I'm going to keep looking but in the mean time if anyone knows right off hand I would appreciate it.

I think you are right, I need to start with my whites first, normally I go the other direction. It would probably be easier to build up rather than white down.

P.S. Thanks! I've been pouring over the forums, years of great information. I'm kind of alone in terms of friends or people I know who are artists so it's great to see all of this discussion.

P.S.S. Suppose I should post something to show where I'm at. I just did a one hour study of a profile of his. It's dark for him but I'm thinking I do darker studies and then slowly move to a lighter tone so it doesn't feel like a tremendous jump. A ton of errors in it but I'm trying to keep the hour limit so I'm forced to be more efficient. I've only been painting for about four months and it seems like painting as many different things as I can works better than agonizing over trying to make a few 'perfect'.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Jan-2014/1674329-photo_15.JPG

opainter
01-17-2014, 02:03 AM
As far as other lines, I don't know, but I do know that Golden Paints has Munsell Number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 in their acrylics, and that their Williamsburg line of oils has special edition Munsell grays Numbers 2, 4, 6, and 8 - but only for a limited time. I can't tell for sure, but I think your portrait is done in oils (nice painting, by the way!), so if I were you, I'd jump at the chance to pick up Munsell Numbers 6 and 8.

I also think you are right to add darker colors to lighter colors as you mix your paint. That is recommended by others, and not just me.

rltromble
01-17-2014, 03:43 AM
Online photos can be a bit deceiving. For an example at the IMA we have the Rêve de printemps by William Bouguereau doesn't look anything like its ARC photo.
Here is what it looks on ARC,
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jan-2014/172833-reve_de_printemps-large.jpg
Here is the photo I took which is what it really looks like.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jan-2014/172833-IMA_286PS.jpg
This one has some glare, but you get the idea
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jan-2014/172833-IMA_287ps.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jan-2014/172833-IMA_292PS.jpg

joe publik
01-17-2014, 05:58 AM
rltromble - your remarks about online reproductions are surely correct and it's very difficult to judge how good the copy is without real first hand observation and memory. To my mind the best online source is the Google Art Project - Google it. From the well publicized investment that has been made I have to assume that the colours are correct - the resolution is certainly extraordinary. I enclose a tiny fragment from Bouguereau's Dante and Virgil.

Of course, how true the colours are displayed on your screen, or printed out, depends on how well calibrated your screen and printer are. That's a whole 'nother ball game.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jan-2014/973278-Dante_and_Virgil.jpg

Journeyman
01-17-2014, 02:15 PM
One of the most useful grays you can mix for use in portraits is Raw Umber and Ivory Black, two pigments you probably have already. It’s very quick to mix and easily repeated. You’ll find it has a low tinting strength so is easily controlled. And with the sort of colours you use for skin tones will not shift the temperature of the colours as you adjust tone. Flake White will give you better results than Titanium White again because of its low tinting strength and also the luminosity. But like most people I usually just use titanium for convenience.

:wave: Dave

davidbriggs
01-17-2014, 09:12 PM
I think perhaps my detection and sense of value just aren't at a place where I can move in that direction while maintaining a cohesion of value and chroma.
That's bound to be a substantial part of the problem, and would be true of most people attempting the subtlety of a Bouguereau.

Quite apart from that, however, you can't hope to match the appearance of Bouguereau's flesh with a single layer of paint, as these were obtained in many areas by the academic method of painting the lights thinly and translucently over a darker and sometimes more colourful layer. Virgil Elliott includes a demonstration and a couple of pages of discussion in his book Traditional Oil Painting. Here's a short extract:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jan-2014/1189008-Elliott-Bouguereau.gif

I've seen a protracted debate on another forum over whether some of the details of Elliott's demonstration actually apply to Bouguereau, but at the very least he shows one way of obtaining a Bouguereau-like effect.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jan-2014/1189008-Bouguereau-hand.jpg

Bouguereau hand study from here:
http://inspirationalartworks.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/bouguereau-misc-studies-and.html
.

WFMartin
01-18-2014, 01:22 AM
Believe me when I say that there is not a flesh color in a Bouguereau painting that both you and I could not match.

However, I could not do it by merely guessing at it, and hoping to "remember" the appearance of those colors, when I begin to apply it to my own painting. I would need to have a Bouguereau painting, or very accurate reference photo in front of me as I did it.

Generally, his flesh colors are values of gray, each with just enough hue in it to identify it as a specific flesh color. "Gray" is not a dirty word, in describing flesh colors. Those who choose to eliminate Black paint from their palette are probably destined to struggle more with those target colors than those who are willing to employ it. There are many ways to create "gray", but beginning with Black and White is a pretty good start, in terms of effectiveness, and efficiency. The chief reason?......more control, with much less wild, offshoot, color swings.

One, very appropriate and effective way to create the subtle, blue-green appearance of veins, such as in hands, and temples, is with a blend of two, very unlikely paint colors--Yellow Ochre, and Ivory Black. Give it a try sometime.:)

Gigalot
01-18-2014, 03:56 AM
Generally, his flesh colors are values of gray, each with just enough hue in it to identify it as a specific flesh color. "Gray" is not a dirty word, in describing flesh colors. Those who choose to eliminate Black paint from their palette are probably destined to struggle more with those target colors than those who are willing to employ it. There are many ways to create "gray", but beginning with Black and White is a pretty good start, in terms of effectiveness, and efficiency. The chief reason?......more control, with much less wild, offshoot, color swings.


I think, artist must eliminate (temporary!) all impressionistic garbage from his or her mind, as first step to paint in this style. No palette knives as a painting tool, no yellow and green spots on the skin, throw away any Monet's ideas about "do not use black", no Richard Shmidt, no Bob Ross. Avoid any visible brush strokes, any thickness, "fast foodish" painting recommendations :D. Those ideas are good to make a clone of Monet's paintings (:thumbsup: ), but not useful for William-Adolphe Bouguereau portraits.

Skin on his portraits are very fresh, rose colors (vermilion +Alizarin?) are perfect, veins are bluish (I guess, he use a deep cobalt and black), yellow is very soft and "skinnish". I think, one milligram of Cadmium yellow pigment or AZo stuff added to a paint can kill everything in his skin color. I really admire these fantastic skin tones! A great master colors!
http://www.bouguereau.org/Mignon-Pensive-large.html
He also knew a preraphaelites purple formula.

davidbriggs
01-18-2014, 07:11 AM
I think, artist must eliminate (temporary!) all impressionistic garbage from his or her mind, as first step to paint in this style.

Yes, and especially to eliminate the alla prima idea of obtaining each colour with a single mixture, instead of creating many of them from a planned combination of two or more superimposed layers. If anyone is not familiar with this distinction between alla prima and the traditional technique of painting in layers, they could consult the Virgil Elliott book I mentioned, or this series of posts by Matthew Innis:
http://underpaintings.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/color-palettes-academic-ebauche-part-i.html
http://underpaintings.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/color-palettes-academic-ebauche-part-ii.html
http://underpaintings.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/color-palettes-academic-ebauche-part.html
or any number of 18th-19th century painting manuals such as that of Templeton (1845):
http://books.google.com.au/books?pg=PA37&id=NKJbAAAAQAAJ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

Here is a detail of another study from the page I previously linked to, showing the superimposed layers very clearly, and what appear to be some "optical greys" formed by dragging a thin layer of flesh color over a dark underlayer:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Jan-2014/1189008-1_23_03_08_10_41_05-1.jpg

Some of the documented information on Bouguereau's palette (which indeed included black) and working methods (which actually did include the palette knife - as a finishing tool) can be found in this pdf:
http://www.subterraneanstudio.com/documents/Bouguereau_at_work.pdf

WFMartin
01-18-2014, 03:44 PM
Yes, both Alex, and David made some excellent points regarding brush strokes in the previous two posts.

Strokes need to be subtle, and blended, with very little, if any evidence of visible, or dimensional brush strokes. The popular concept among more modern artists is the achieving of what I like to call the "carved granite" appearance, created by allowing brush strokes of varying hues, and values to be applied and left, unblended. That's not the way DaVinci painted, with his soft, subtle, stippled strokes, and delicate blending using much finesse, and I don't believe that Bouguereau intended for his humans to appear like carved granite, either.

cedargrove
01-19-2014, 12:49 AM
rltromble: Thanks for posting the pictures, that is a pretty big difference. Unfortunately I live in West Texas and I won't be seeing one in person anytime soon, but that looks even more amazing in your picture. That hand detail with the blue in the veins, wow.

joepublik: I can't believe I didn't look on google art project. Great detail.

journeyman: I will definitely try out the raw umber and ivory black mix. Thanks for the tip.

davidbriggs: Thanks for the excerpt. I think what I'm going to do is a large number of studies of the same limb. I will try different methods and record everything along the way, I assume out of the studies i'll find a layering method that I really like or can do well enough.

WFMartin: I remember reading early on that you shouldn't have black in your palette. I didn't for awhile and then once I started seeing how valuable grays were I added it. Well after starting to mess with the Zorn palette I did, and saw how versatile it could be. I wouldn't use it straight from the tube on the canvas but sometimes it's just enough to push the paint a certain direction. I don't believe I've ever mixed yellow ochre and ivory black. I'll try that here in a minute.

Gigalot: My first paintings were master copies of van gogh, renoir, and monet, so I definitely read a lot about the impressionist style. While it has it's place, it wasn't really my thing, but was a bit easier to deal with as opposed to some of the pieces I chose. It did teach me that there are no right answers or real rules, if you like what you produce, by whatever means you do so then that was right for you. I think most artists struggle with their critical eye growing faster than their ability to match it. Mistakes are the best way to learn. Good thing I'm making a lot of them now :)

davidbriggs: I went through an alla prima phase lately (thank you Sargent) and it's as fun as it is frustrating. I think it has helped me with mixing colors though, in that I end up doing it a lot. The problem is that I have no where near the sense of value to make it work right away. Again, it's good practice, but I think I'll move back to layers. I'll just need to work and do studies on getting the end color I want via extrapolating the effect of the layers. Good point on the optical gray, I hadn't really looked at it that way.

WFMartin: The brushstrokes was another 'rule' that I ran into early. The first portrait I did was criticized for not showing any brushstrokes. I like the rough look too when done well, but I find something more challenging or exciting about getting that blend right (ha not that I do, but I like seeing it in other's works).

If anyone has any unique or interesting ways of creating flesh like this through layers that wouldn't be found on every 'how to' flesh website I'd be interested to hear it. I'm going to do a study with a bunch of methods (grisaille, veradicchio, different mediums at different times, whatever I can come up with) so adding another to the mix would be appreciated.

0chre
01-19-2014, 08:55 AM
Here is a detail of another study from the page I previously linked to, showing the superimposed layers very clearly, and what appear to be some "optical greys" formed by dragging a thin layer of flesh color over a dark underlayer:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Jan-2014/1189008-1_23_03_08_10_41_05-1.jpg
I don't see that in this particular study. Where would you say this is visible?

It's hard to judge with certainty from a digital picture, but I see a painting painted alla prima here, done on a light, ochre-ish (as seen in many of his other studies) toned canvas. I think this is one of the "secrets" to the liveliness of his flesh: to use a relatively light, warm underpainting, or tone and to allow this to shine through the (more or less transparant) shadows. My own experiments of this method have yielded very similar appearances. Greys especially get a very nice, lively quality this way.

In his more elaborated works, this effect tends to be somewhat less visible, though. He probably used more layers in his more finished paintings. As a consequence they do have more subtleties and depth in the flesh than his studies.

davidbriggs
01-19-2014, 09:55 AM
I don't see that in this particular study. Where would you say this is visible?

I think I see it almost everywhere except in the full lights of the face, the deep shadows, and the hair. He's said to have worked very quickly even in his finished paintings, often painting into the ebauche layer when it was still wet, so in that sense the distinction between painting in layers and alla prima could be considered to be blurred.

Have you posted any of your experiments here?

Gigalot
01-19-2014, 11:39 AM
White is visible added on top of darker paint. I do not see an effect of mixing these paints, the white looks blueish because it lays on top of darker substance.

0chre
01-19-2014, 02:42 PM
Here is a detail of a child's portrait I did a couple of years ago. This, I think, shows at least a reasonable resemblance to the effects seen in the Bouguereau study (but maybe that's just my biased mind... :lol:). I put two details next to each other for easy comparison. Left: detail from my portrait, right: detail from the Bouguereau study.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Jan-2014/211143-Exemple2ndlayer.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Jan-2014/211143-Exempleboug.jpg

They don't look exactly the same. This may be explained by different reasons: The child I painted is half African and half European, so her skin color is different from the woman in the study. My underpainting was (probably) a bit darker, it leans more towards orange and was (probably) a bit higher in chroma than the ground Bouguereau seems to have used (judged from his other studies).

The underpainting of my portrait looked like this:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Jan-2014/211143-Exemple1stlayer.jpg

The portrait was painted in two layers: an underpainting and one overpainting.

WFMartin
01-19-2014, 08:39 PM
Certain color "effects" or "appearances" can only be achieved by carefully layering one layer over another. It is not always a matter of applying different colors to achieve the effect, but often just the mere application of a further layer, in order to create the unique appearance.

When one looks at a particular work of an old master, and marvels at just how he must have achieved a particular effect of color, it often helps to realize that the color we see may not have been a mere "mix" of colors on his palette, but a true "effect", created by the building of glazes layers, one on top of the other.

My students will often ask me, "Why should I apply another layer of color over the existing painting, when I'm just using the same color?"

I tell them that many times the mere application of a further layer of color is all that is required to create an improved appearance of depth, and dimension to the painting, even if it is painted in the same, or nearly the same color as before. It explain that it has to do with a degree of "refinement" of their painting.

One, really helpful insight to consider when trying to gain information regarding technique when viewing an old master's painting is if, when you try what you think you have decided was his method, it actually works in terms of achieving that particular appearance........then, that probably is exactly what he must have done to achieve it. There really are not that many "tricky" or "secret" techniques available in oil painting. When I believe I've "invented" some operation that I think is unique, I always find out later that some old master has used the technique years ago.:lol:

There are truly not that many "new" things under the sun.:D

davidbriggs
01-20-2014, 08:09 AM
The portrait was painted in two layers: an underpainting and one overpainting.
Then I'd call that painting in layers and not alla prima, so our difference may be over semantics rather than interpretation.

0chre
01-20-2014, 08:59 AM
Then I'd call that painting in layers and not alla prima, so our difference may be over semantics rather than interpretation.You're right that my portrait wasn't an alla prima painting. I did do some modeling in the underpainting, so I'd call it a painting in layers too. But I don't think that it is just a matter of semantics. I think there is an interesting difference in interpretation, which can possibly lead to a better understanding of Bouguereau's methods.

To be sure that I understand your interpretation correctly: You see the effects in the Bouguereau study as a lighter flesh tone painted over a darker underpainting, right? And I see a darker overpainting over a light ochre-ish tone. I'll continue with the hope that I understood your words correctly. If not, this whole conversation could be irrelevant! :crossfingers: :lol:

While I do see how the effects seen in the Bouguereau study may have been achieved by lighter paint over darker paint, I find this less likely to be the case, because of the other studies by Bouguereau and because of the likeness of effects in my own painting (despite the slight differences like the plain tone vs. a somewhat modeled underpainting).

Two unfinished works by Bouguereau suggest that he used a different method for his more elaborate works AND that he didn't use one method for underpainting throughout his carreer. In this first exemple it looks like he used a brunaille in which the darks are painted already pretty much in their final value:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Jan-2014/211143-bouguereau_underpainting.jpg

But in this next exemple, his underpainting looks more like Gérôme's, using rather unmodeled, local colors, in which the darks are kept a lot lighter than they will be in the final stage:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Jan-2014/211143-bouguereauebauche2.jpg

In both exemples, the underpainting is more than a plain tone (like I suggest was the case in the studies) and it doesn't seem to have been darker than the folowing layer. There is of course a bit of speculation involved in this last statement, as we cannot know what the final painting would look like, but in the case of the first exemple the values look "right" to me and in the case of the second exemple the parts that are left in the underpainting stage look too light in the shadows.This all of course is no proof that he didn't ever use darker underpaintings, but it makes it a little less probable to me. I'm interested to see what your thought are about this. :)

budigart
01-20-2014, 10:08 AM
Here is one of the most simple and effective flesh palettes I've come across in 30 years of searching:

http://underpaintings.blogspot.com/2008/06/mattelson-palette.html

Making neutral grays is quite easy, too. The basic formula is one part raw umber and two parts ivory black lightened in steps, generally with flake/lead white.

One of the most simple flesh palettes I've come across consists of alizarin, or an alizarin-like red, yellow ocher, burnt umber, lead white and ivory black.

I find it easier to mix strings of these colors horizontally, lining up values vertically. I feel it gives me more value control.

Gigalot
01-20-2014, 03:09 PM
I think he was not a "limited palette" artist, also it seems he use a cool underpainting colors instead of many Burnt siena/umber/indian red recommendations. And he love fresh Cobalt and Violet color (Cobalt blue over Madder root?).
His cool colors are really FRESH! This special freshness means that he tried an unusual pigment combinations for underpainting and glaze.

cedargrove
01-20-2014, 10:43 PM
I need some advice here. I did a few different underpaintings of the hand/arm detail on the first page of the thread. What I'm struggling with is deciding the order to lay down the colors. The blue in the hand for the veins for instance, I assume I'd want at least one flesh colored layer over it. Is there a generally accepted order for glazing certain colors with others? Sandwich the blues/reds between layers of local color flesh?

Gigalot
01-21-2014, 06:56 AM
You may need to study X-Rays structure of his painting. Personally, I guess, he used a rich palette, a lot of siccative because of layered technique, and a lot of cobalt blue in his painting. He also used real bitumen for glaze. I think, he was much much greater over Zorn. And Zorn`s palette is just NOTHING against Bouguereau's palette and technique (for me, some people might prefer Zorn).

Painting well is hard enough to do with the best of materials.

davidbriggs
01-21-2014, 07:53 AM
To be sure that I understand your interpretation correctly: You see the effects in the Bouguereau study as a lighter flesh tone painted over a darker underpainting, right? And I see a darker overpainting over a light ochre-ish tone. I'll continue with the hope that I understood your words correctly. If not, this whole conversation could be irrelevant! :crossfingers: :lol:

There's certainly a darker overpainting over a light coloured ground, no question!; I was referring to the thin, translucent film over the top of that, especially evident on the cheek, jaw, lighter part of the neck, and far shoulder. Exactly how light it is is not clear because it is so thin, but it must contain some white.

0chre
01-21-2014, 08:56 AM
There's certainly a darker overpainting over a light coloured ground, no question!Ah! I have to admit that I thought it was a bit strange that you would see something else, with all your expertise on color and paint! I suspected that I may have been missing something and I was. Glad the misunderstanding is cleared up! And I'm glad you restored my faith in you as a color expert! ;):lol: I hope other readers find my contributions to this thread useful, so they weren't completely irrelevant and obsolete! :rolleyes:
I was referring to the thin, translucent film over the top of that, especially evident on the cheek, jaw, lighter part of the neck, and far shoulder. Exactly how light it is is not clear because it is so thin, but it must contain some white.I see what you (and Gigalot) mean now. I am watching it on another monitor, and it is more noticable now. (My usual monitor is turned quite dim, because it was so blinding, especially at night.) This makes things even more interesting. The light spots seem to be painted on quite randomly and I'm not sure if the really add anything essential, so I wonder if they were put there on purpose. They look like smears, with little relation with the value structures under them. Couldn't they have happened by varnishing the painting too soon after painting it? That bits of not yet dry (light) paint were picked up and mixed with the varnish. Smearing them around as he varnished. As you said, Mr. Bouguereau is said to be not the most patient of painters.

davidbriggs
01-21-2014, 09:34 AM
The light spots seem to be painted on quite randomly and I'm not sure if the really add anything essential, so I wonder if they were put there on purpose. They look like smears, with little relation with the value structures under them. Couldn't they have happened by varnishing the painting too soon after painting it? That bits of not yet dry (light) paint were picked up and mixed with the varnish. Smearing them around as he varnished. As you said, Mr. Bouguereau is said to be not the most patient of painters.

I'm at a loss for words to respond to that, except to say that they are exactly what Virgil Elliott is talking about in the extract I posted on the last page.

I also don't think working very quickly is quite the same thing as not being patient!

Gigalot
01-21-2014, 12:17 PM
Couldn't they have happened by varnishing the painting too soon after painting it? That bits of not yet dry (light) paint were picked up and mixed with the varnish. Smearing them around as he varnished. As you said, Mr. Bouguereau is said to be not the most patient of painters.

Not sure. You are thinking, that he can made a beginner's mistakes and at the same time he can use bitumen without any visible disasters, while most of artists, including sir Joshua Reynolds, can't do well?
He didn't ignore painting rules, he just used siccative to speed his work. Siccative de Courtrai (primarily lead linoleate), and siccative de Haarlem (primarily dammar resin) are among the more common driers. Cobalt siccative was invented only in 1920 year.

"Dammar is collected from the fir tree genus Shorea or from Hopea trees of Southeast Asia. Dammar is a soft resin and is readily dissolved in turpentine (not in mineral spirits, because it is then partially insoluble) at room temperature and is the most popular additive to a painting medium as well as the most commonly used resin for varnishing. Dammar when used in painting media helps paint films to set up quickly so that they may be worked over within a day. It is possible to interlock paint layers by taking advantage of the two types of drying that occur with a dammar-drying oil combination. Several hours after using this combination, the dammar has hardened and the drying oil has begun to polymerize through oxidation. If, in one and a half to two days, when the drying oil is roughly half dry, a second paint layer containing the same medium is applied, the two layers will interlock. The turpentine of the medium when applied will redissolve part of the resin and soften the drying oil of the paint film underneath, and the two should lock together. This process can be used to produce beautiful and subtle effects. Dammar also adds gloss and brilliance to a painting."


The effect, you described, probably is the result of Haarlem siccative addition.
(Dammar, but not pure, a mixture with some lead)

0chre
01-23-2014, 07:14 AM
Not sure. You are thinking, that he can made a beginner's mistakes [...]Well, I'm not necessarily thinking that. But to me the lighter areas don't look intentional like in other paintings by Bouguereau in which they follow form and stop before the shadows are reached. But it's not really relevant for understanding Bouguereau's painting method, because it's just one study.

also it seems he use a cool underpainting colors instead of many Burnt siena/umber/indian red recommendations.This remark is much more relevant and interesting. You may be right about this, although I don't think he used cool colors for the entire underpainting. I've studied some paintings in good close up photographs and found indications that he used (warm) earths for the shadows and halftones and a (relatively cool) grey for the lights and halftones.

Here (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SP_bhNH3JM4/UYGvoICUDnI/AAAAAAAAElU/I5vcHKzPR_I/s1600/1877-04+Les+deux+soeurs+%2528detail+9%2529+%257E+William-Adolphe+Bouguereau+1825-1905.JPG), it seems like the grey was painted first and the warm shadows and halftones second, but the grey isn't noticable under all areas of the earth colors, just in the halftones. This suggests that the grey didn't cover the entire painting, but just the lights and halftones. In the halftones the earths were painted over the grey, in the shadows over the color of the canvas (which may have been a light ochre-ish color, see below).

Here (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-U6eiZrrHjHo/UYGvnUHbe8I/AAAAAAAAElI/Lhw3NHFoPSs/s1600/1877-04+Les+deux+soeurs+%2528detail+6%2529+%257E+William-Adolphe+Bouguereau+1825-1905.JPG) (same painting) we see more or less the same thing, although the grey underlayer is not very visible (if at all). The grey "stripe" at the top of the arm seems to be produced by a light scumble painted over an outline painted with a dark earth, which is visible over most of the lenght of the arm. This outline (the dark earth) looks somewhat transparant and doesn't seem to be painted over a grey tone, suggesting, again, that the grey wasn't a tone covering the entire painting. The other grey-ish areas could be just grey-ish flesh tones of the overpainting or again a scumble over a darker areal. It's not very clear here.

And here (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7Csoo1jPFaI/UYGvqPYxfcI/AAAAAAAAEl0/8nZgO_OGaaw/s1600/1877-04+Les+deux+soeurs+%2528detail+7%2529+%257E+William-Adolphe+Bouguereau+1825-1905.JPG) (again, same painting), the darkest shadows (bottom of the leg) look like they were painted with a (at least somewhat) transparant earth and I don't see any effect of a cool grey tone under it. But just above this darkest part, I do see a warm (transparant?) color painted over a grey tone. This suggests that the grey and the earths weren't both painted in the same layer, but in different layers, or they would have mixed. The strongest lights (like on the left) are in the top layer, painted over the earths and grey.

This detail (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kCz2QBBs8_U/UYGvnjw2XCI/AAAAAAAAElQ/KlwHGBHd-jE/s1600/1877-04%2BLes%2Bdeux%2Bsoeurs%2B%2528detail%2B5%2529%2B%257E%2BWilliam-Adolphe%2BBouguereau%2B1825-1905.JPG) (still the same painting) suggests a uniform, light, ochre-ish tone (at least in this part of the painting).

This, in all, suggests this order of application, from bottom layer to top layer:
A light ochre-ish tone
The grey in the light areas and halftones (it looks like a simple flat grey, without any (or much) modeling)
The earths in the shadows and halftones
The light areas (and probably some glazes in the shadows, if necessary).If this is more or less right (and this painting is exemplary for his method), this suggests that Bouguereau created greys in three ways: grey paint in the underpainting, by scumbling a light opaque paint over a darker area, and grey flesh tones in the overpainting.

ianos dan
01-23-2014, 08:50 AM
Man !!!this is the thread l've dreamed of !
Just give me some time to read all this!
Thanks a lot for this information
l found this studies of hand by Bouguereau ,and what l see ,is an exaggeration of the grey of flesh tone ,but only in some strategical areas ,not for all the hand.
here it is ;http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jan-2014/1165823-boug.jpg

ianos dan
01-23-2014, 09:11 AM
davidbriggs, LOL ,l've just uploaded the same image :))

Gigalot
01-23-2014, 09:59 AM
As I see he used a white colored primer. Agree about first layer. I guess, he used also a brown colored contour as a part of this layer. Also, his massive greenish gray in the second layer looks bright blue in some spotty areas (look to the nails on feet). I guess he tweaked this greenish gray layer with blue paint at the same value. And his violet lays on top of blue color.

ianos dan
01-23-2014, 12:11 PM
davidbriggs ,thank you for that link about the academical painting technique by J S. Templeton ,l really enjoyed reading it ,and for sure l will do an experiment based on what l have learned here :)

davidbriggs
01-25-2014, 09:38 AM
davidbriggs ,thank you for that link about the academical painting technique by J S. Templeton ,l really enjoyed reading it ,and for sure l will do an experiment based on what l have learned here :)

You're very welcome!

Gigalot
01-26-2014, 06:19 AM
{academical painting technique by J S. Templeton ,l really enjoyed} :clap:

Also many thanks to David!

kinasi
02-04-2014, 04:25 PM
Bougeareau made extensive use of camera obscura projections to achieve the right colors and detail. Initially suggested by David Hockned and then confirmed by the Max Planck Institute History of Sciences in one of their publications from 2007.

The Max Planck institute did a lot of research into this: http://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/Preprints/P333.PDF

They have another publication where they specifically detail techniques used by old masters where they talk about him (even though bougeareau is not form the 17th century, they used the same techniques in the 18th and 19th century)

I think it has nothing to do with his colors, because when I analysed them with a program there is nothing special about them, it's just a desaturated deep yellow, nothing special.

It's his glazing and camera obscura that allows him to get a lot more detail and a lot smoother more realistic lighting and edges. His paint isn't "magical". his colors are the same colors everyone can use, they're pretty bland deep yellows, but it's his glazing and camera obscura that allows him to make the fleshtones glow because of the insane detail he is able to capture with it. All of his edges are incredibly smooth and detailed. His color transitions, minor hue shifts to red from the flesh showing through are all spot on.

Capturing this detail without a projection is impossible, most people's eyes don't even capture that amount of detail, you need an enlargement through a projection, it allows you to capture the small shifts to red, the intricate shadows, the insanely detailed anatomy, the blood showing through the skin. You can't do this by eye.

What I don't think is going on is that he used some special technique to get these colors, you can read through all the research, there are no secret techniques outside of glazing and camera obscura, the camera allows you to magnify your subject to a huge size, which allows you to see many more colors and detail than you would be able to with the naked eye, and glazing allows you to add this fine detail with very high precision. The result is a really detailed fleshtone.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Feb-2014/1558522-kjlkjlkj.JPG

Gigalot
02-04-2014, 04:57 PM
Renaissance started on a base of Camera obscura. This cam was an art aromorphosis. That was a great leap in art. Art of middle age was primitive because they do not have this tool to improve their lights reflections, realistic details and glow. Most of painters began to use it widely. From Brunelleschi to modern tedious guys. Leonardo used it. Today, this cam is replaced with digital projectors which people love so much!

Stradivari didn't have any secret materials or rare things. He used a very common, ordinary materials which other people have. But his violins are Stradivari violins because he was great master. For me, Bouguereau has an attractive flesh color, many other painters do not have. They squeeze a lot of Cadmium yellow to run their yellowism. I just hate their ugly saturated, shovel painting. After Bouguereau this happened or not, just nobody today can mix normal skin color, thy mix color of patients with hepatitis. :D I hope that this cadmium soon become less available to apply it with shovel. :lol:

kinasi
02-04-2014, 05:18 PM
Today, this cam is replaced with digital projectors which people love so much!
They actually sell really well in the local art store I go to. I always tell them my Nikon DSLR is better.

Gigalot
02-04-2014, 05:41 PM
They actually sell really well in the local art store I go to. I always tell them my Nikon DSLR is better.
A new great leap in art coming soon! :)

davidbriggs
02-04-2014, 10:32 PM
Bougeareau made extensive use of camera obscura projections to achieve the right colors and detail. Initially suggested by David Hockned and then confirmed by the Max Planck Institute History of Sciences in one of their publications from 2007.

The Max Planck institute did a lot of research into this: http://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/Preprints/P333.PDF


Bouguereau's name is mentioned only once in that pdf, in this paragraph:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Feb-2014/1189008-Bouguereau.gif

Gigalot
02-05-2014, 05:46 AM
If so, we have three realistic directions in oil painting - Obscurators, Plotterists and Projectorists. :lol: All other styles, according to a preobscura ages, are just primitivists.
Abstract, modern, impressionism, fauvism, dispenser artists, artists animals (pigs, monkey, dogs, parrots) e.t.c are primitives.
Some of primitivists even tried to steal the style of children!!:angel:

And people, who use elements of photography in their art, are Photo-primitive artists. Warhol, for example. :D Some of them couldn't paint, they just cut paper or photo paper into pieces of different sizes. Glue instead of paint. Some of these foggy styles are excellent base to make money and speculations. Who really knows how much such paintings cost? One dollar or ten millions?

I guess, many of contemporary artists are just in panic now:eek: How to paint now? In Picasso style? In Warhol style? Monet? WWI German expresso? Bob Ross? Munch Scream? I think, they are all just primitive painters.

Bouguereau was one of the last romantic, he loved beautiful skin color, his Italian models and antique compositions. However, primitives hated him! Exept parrots, pigs and monkeys, they are honest painters. :D

davidbriggs
02-05-2014, 08:19 PM
So where do painters like this one fit in to your classification?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTqLSivFZ2g

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Feb-2014/1189008-2014-02-06_113103.jpg

Gigalot
02-06-2014, 07:59 AM
So where do painters like this one fit in to your classification?


He is an exclusion. I am not sure, that Preraphaelites or Bouguereau technique were based on camera obscura. They seems to be more romantics than pros...
There is nothing to be very "romantic" in such devices. David Hockney show us a dark side of a pros artist's work.

davidbriggs
02-06-2014, 09:47 AM
He is exceptionally good at what he does, but if you go to any traditional school or atelier around the world today you'll find plenty of people drawing and painting at least 80-90% as well, without any need for a camera obscura. The use of optical aids by individual artists like Holbein was suspected well before Hockney came along, but his 'theory' that so many artists used them secretly just shows that he couldn't believe that they all drew and painted so much better than he can without them.

Journeyman
02-06-2014, 10:59 AM
You will find if you read history that you’ll learn more about the period the history was written in than the history it purports to be recounting. This is very evident in Hockney’s book. You would be wise to take any statements he makes with a pinch of salt, he is not an historian and is not aware of the pitfalls of the genre.

:wave: Dave

kinasi
02-06-2014, 01:11 PM
So where do painters like this one fit in to your classification?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTqLSivFZ2g

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Feb-2014/1189008-2014-02-06_113103.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Feb-2014/1558522-hp_multifunction.jpg

Why do you feel that everyone needs to like that hyperrealist photo style?

He's good at copying, not at painting.

My Nikon is faster.

Gigalot
02-06-2014, 02:39 PM
I think, there are a human factor. While painters do not like painted photography, ordinary people likes it a lot. For example, look at this painting. It is an old district in our city. I did it without special equipment. 3-4 days I spent to find a good composition. Than I draw this using watercolor pencil and rulers. It took one month or more. Than, I tried to correct some proportions to make a better composition. After that, I painted this during half a year. After that, I correct some colors on the buildings which was unpleasant and create sky background. I did some glazes to improve colors. And oiling out. That took seven month and I signed it. Oil on canvas 100cm x 60cm.

Some people love it, but some of them said it is "not enough realistic"! And he was right - this painting far not an "exact" thing.

However, I answered - take your cam, I can show you this place and viewpoint, take a picture, go to a geek studio, print it on canvas and you will have an exact thing.
I know, how much time and energy needs to paint realistically when you do not have iron tools to do that. Therefore, I trust David Hockned and Max Planck institute. Pros, in their money making race, are using many "cheats" in their works.

davidbriggs
02-06-2014, 07:18 PM
Why do you feel that everyone needs to like that hyperrealist photo style?


I said nothing of the sort. My point was that extremely detailed, realistic drawing and painting doesn't require the use of a camera obscura. For seeing fine detail, an ordinary pair of binoculars would be much more useful, and is the only "optical aid" I've ever seen a painter use.

rltromble
02-06-2014, 10:33 PM
Well if you are really interested in his technique...
http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/American_Society_of_Classical_Realism/CRJ_Vol1_Issue1/Bouguereau_Craft/Bouguereau_Craft.php
http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artist.php?artistid=7

Gigalot
02-07-2014, 06:54 AM
Well if you are really interested in his technique...
http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/American_Society_of_Classical_Realism/CRJ_Vol1_Issue1/Bouguereau_Craft/Bouguereau_Craft.php
http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artist.php?artistid=7

Great! Many thanks! :thumbsup:

Gigalot
02-07-2014, 10:42 AM
John William Godward, his skin tones are gorgeous:

http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artist.php?artistid=82