I'd promised to paint my little sister, but before commencing on a large canvas, I thought I might try a small study of her first. Two days ago I had read about the flemish technique to painting, and thought I might kill birds with one stone.
Of course, Flemish technique at speed is a contradiction, it's a long winded procedure, but as I am using alkyds and am budgeting by painting on paper, there's nothing to lose.
In way of a disclaimer I have very little technical knowledge in painting.
I primed the paper with Lascaux gesso, and lightly drew the portrait outline. When I felt fairly confident the proportions were correct I went over the lines using a pen nib and water resistant drawing ink. (graphite will disappear and/or smudge when the oil paint is applied).
I produced a mix of titanium white, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue and lamp black for the imprimatura stage. Rubbing linseed oil onto the paper using my finger, I rubbed off any excess with a tissue. The paint mix for the imprimatura should have been an olive hue, but I'd mixed a very nuetral gray, so I added a small touch of windsor lemon and then applied the imprimatura. It was too dark! The next day I made a lighter mix and applied it again - the ink drawing was just about visible through the paint.
The next stage is the umber underlayer. This afternoon I painted the umber onto the paper using my pen lines as a guideline, the idea being that each stage of the painting stands up on its own before the next stage is followed through.
The toning stage was much quicker than I was expecting, but I now need to leave it to dry before I touch up areas where the shading is incorrect.
Note, I've not made the dark's too dark, as when colour is added later it will naturally deepen in contrast. I also need to fix one of the eyes and tweak a few things. The dress has a very intricate design, but I figure it would be wise to tone the dress first before attempting to add it. Ordinarily I should probably wait a week before I work on it again, but as this is Flemish at speed, I'll work on it again tomorrow.
Once the umber underlayer is correct, I will need to add a "dead layer" before contemplating colour.
I've no idea how this going to turn out, as I've done very few portraits in oil, but I'll post the progress as I go along, even if it's disastrous.
Please feel free to criticise or correct me as I go along, I'm sure it will help me a great deal.