View Full Version : Robert Henri studies - WIP

11-29-2014, 01:28 PM
I'm doing a few of these, since I've decided that Robert Henri is the greatest thing to hit portraiture since stretched canvas (or at least since Degas). This first one, 'Wild Gypsy', is already done, more or less. I did this one on canvas board, 16x20":


Sorry for the lousy photo - after the oil out has dried I'll see if I can take a better pic. One of these years I'll remember to keep my darks flat! I have to say, though: it was a blast to dump that much black paint right onto the canvas. Take that, modernista colorists!

I made some mistakes with the drawing - the original pose seems more relaxed, with a more solid pyramid composition. Also, there is some 'scribbling' in white paint in the lower right quadrant of the original - I left that stuff out because I couldn't analyze it.

This was done with earths, lead white, ultramarine, and Prussian blue. Can't remember if I used a little cobalt green or not - if so, it was only a little.

This is the next one up, 'The Green Fan'. Doing this one a bit larger, 24x30" on stretched canvas:


Still smaller than Henri's 33x41". That seems to have been a fairly common canvas size in his day.

So far just earths and lead white on this one. Started it with sort of an ébauche - will go with more solid color for the next sitting (today? tomorrow?).

I'll crosspost this to portraiture. Any feedback is welcome. Thanks for looking!

12-02-2014, 10:26 AM
Looking good so far. Might help if you link to the original painters images so we can see what you are copying. How did you get that green out of earth colors - that green stripe in her dress looks intense, if that is a terre verde. The fan looks absolutely pearlescent, love it. I really like the energy you have in the brushstrokes across the background. I know they will get covered up, but I think that energy might be subtly helpful later on.

12-03-2014, 01:12 PM
Thank you for the reply, Allison. Here are a couple of links:

Wild Gypsy (http://uploads7.wikiart.org/images/robert-henri/wild-gypsy-1912.jpg)

Green Fan (http://en.wahooart.com/Art.nsf/O/8DP9AY/$File/Robert-Henri-The-Green-Fan-Girl-of-Toledo-Spain-.JPG)

The greens are a tube of terre verte from Old Holland that I've had sitting around for a while. It is a pretty nice green - once I add a lot of oil to make it brushable - though much less transparent than most. It is a bit startling on the fan for a terre verte - the camera probably bumped the saturation up a bit as well.

Life has intervened for the moment, but I will get back to that one later this week!

12-04-2014, 01:58 PM
Fascinating that this is OH terre verde, this is exactly the green I use for verdaccio because it is such a weak, but subtle and natural green. I have a tube of Rembrandt verre verde as well, and that is neon in comparison. Of course it will look more green than it is in the dress because it is surrounded by red, and the camera often ups the saturation in paintings, but still.

Are you planning to use the same values-hues as the painting in the link you sent? I ask because the "original" image is very harsh - her flesh is chicken yellow, her forehead is practically glowing; I think the contrasts may have been exaggerated by the photo or editing. I think a little bit more subtle color variations, like you have in your underpainting, might be better. Perhaps look at different photos of the same image and guess between them what the actual painting looks like - unless of course you have access to the original.

12-14-2014, 11:33 AM
Perhaps look at different photos of the same image and guess between them what the actual painting looks like - unless of course you have access to the original.Allison, I don't have access to the original, but I have seen it recently - it was one of the paintings in the magnificent Spanish Sojourns exhibit that was here recently.

I've made some progress - had some metamerism issues with it that were discussed in Color Theory, causing some delays. Here is as it stands now:


Sorry again for the crappy photo - one of these years I'll learn how to photograph oil paintings! The darks are darker and the magenta on the sleeves not so piercing.

Pretty happy scumbling and glazing over an ebauche - it's an efficient process, I'll be doing some more this way. Still working with a student palette of earths, mars black and lead white, but now have added Rose Madder Deep from an old tube of Winsor & Newton I managed to pick up. Truly a shame they no longer offer it! A beautiful, beautiful paint, and apparently more lightfast than their current Rose Madder Genuine. Ah well, 'progress takes away what forever took to find'...

12-15-2014, 11:00 AM
I like to work on more than one painting at a time. I'm still working on the Green Fan, but in the meantime here's a start on another, Madre Gitano:


This one is also 24x30". Here's a link to an image of the original:


Sorry it's so small - it's the only one I could find online. I'll try to find another when I get more of a chance.

This is number three of a planned five Henri studies (for now).

01-04-2015, 12:55 PM
Green Fan is about finished - or at least, I've learned what I can from it. Here is the finish:


I wound up using cobalt green dark for the fan - the Old Holland terre verte was performing admirably, but in the end I just needed more opacity than any green earth can give. I suppose glazes might have worked, but I don't think that's how Henri did this.

I've begun ebauching Madre Gitana:


And here is a brunaille underpainting of a fourth Henri study, Anita Martinez:


This last one I'm doing at 16 x 20". Sorry I couldn't find a decent reference of the original online, here's (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pYJktOXp0N4/UN-8Z2eFW-I/AAAAAAAAEO4/q05rzoh1RNw/s1600/nortonshenri.jpg) the best I could find. When I get a chance I'll scan or photograph the reference I'm using and post it here.

01-16-2015, 02:26 PM
A bit more work on these:




For the second one, I have two refs of the original online for you to look at. The first is the blurry one I posted previously. The second is overall a much better pic, but is missing much of the background. Between the two you should get an idea what the original looks like:



I'll likely call a finish to this set after these two are completed - I need to get back to practicing with live models, since I have a portrait painting workshop coming up. But I'm pretty sure I'll be back to doing some more Henri studies before long. I'll wrap these two up soon as I can.

01-25-2015, 02:43 AM
Gosh, llawrece, I am sorry I missed this great thread. You made some wonderful studies. I saw the Spanish Sojourns exhibit 3 times (it's a 3 hour drive, so no small thing).

Just a head's up, in case you didn't know, there is a Henri exhibit in Laguna Beach starting on Feb 22, with a lecture by Derrick Cartwright on the 26th.

You did a beautiful job on your studies! I like Anita particularly. :)

02-01-2015, 10:47 AM
Thank you, Marcia - and thank you SO MUCH for the heads up about the upcoming Henri show! I'd have been devastated to miss it!

02-01-2015, 03:25 PM
My Mom is flying out from Cozad, NE (where Henri grew up), for the lecture. We will be in Laguna Beach from the 24th - the 27th, probably see the exhibit on the 26th before the lecture on the 26th. PM me if you think you might be there then, or attend the lecture, if you want meet. :)