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Old 02-02-2009, 10:47 AM
Lauren F-M's Avatar
Lauren F-M Lauren F-M is offline
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Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

Happy February, Everyone!

Today marks the halfway point (in the Northern Hemisphere) between the official start of winter and the start of spring, so -- being ever optomistic -- I think ahead to spring and tulips, and tulips bring to mind the Netherlands, and then, one of the Netherlands' greatest painters -- Jan Vermeer of Delft.

He lived in what is often referred to as the Golden Age of Dutch art. To quote part of the opening page to the first chapter in "The World of Vermeer" from TIME-LIFE's Library of Art series (which is excellent, IMO):
"Vermeer was born in the town of Delft in 1632, near the zenith of an era that saw the Dutch nation lift itself into prominence as one of Europe's great powers. During this Golden Age, which spanned most of the 17th Century, Holland achieved unparalleled economic, social and political growth. In a brief period of about 75 years it produced a treasury of painting whose brilliance has rarely been surpassed.
"Jan Vermeer was the last great master in the legion of artists who produced this explosion of art. By the time of his death at the age of 43 in 1675, this Golden Age was coming to an end; the nation and its art were in decline. Vermeer himself died apparently little known or esteemed and it was 200 years before his luminous, tranquil paintings were recognized as ranking among the great masterpieces of Western Art."


So -- while this thread is entitled "Master Class" I am hoping that we will all share in the teaching and learning. I plan on going over, with lots of WIP shots and notes I've made, the process used in copying two small portraits by Vermeer, which I've done in an oil painting class. My teacher has kindly given her permission for me to share.

The first portrait is the well-known "Girl with a Pearl Earring."
http://www.essentialvermeer.com/cata...l_earring.html

The second portrait is called "Portrait (or Study) of a Young Woman."
http://www.essentialvermeer.com/cata...ung_woman.html

Both portraits have a similar pose and background, and just being 'head shots' are fairly simple to do. I did both my copies as 8" x 10".

I highly recommend the website, http://www.essentialvermeer.com
It has indepth information on all things Vermeer. I expect that I will link to it a lot!

Besides the TIME-LIFE book on Vermeer, which was published in 1967 but is still a very informative book on Vermeer, I have a great little inexpensive book on Vermeer from Taschen's "Back to Visual Basics" series, called "Vermeer: The Complete Paintings," by Norbert Schneider. I recommend it, as it has all of Vermeer's paintings in colour, as well as a very informative text. I like how it also compares subject matter and looks at similar things in the different paintings.

That is a fun thing to do, as you will notice looking at Vermeer's complete works (all on the essentialvermeer site), is that he has a lot of the same props and clothing in many works.

I welcome you all the share other web sources and books on Vermeer, and any additional information -- and corrections! -- to what I will offer.

I'll be back later to discuss the palette used for "Girl with a Pearl Earring."
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Last edited by Lauren F-M : 02-02-2009 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:44 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

Thanks for this class on Vermeer, Dutch master artist, Lauren. I am looking forward to learning more about him (better go to the library) and in attempting to follow his procedure in copying his work.
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Old 02-02-2009, 04:39 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

hey Lauren,

I am so much looking forward to it!!!!! I love Vermeer's work .........

cheers and happy painting

Andy


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauren F-M
Happy February, Everyone!

Today marks the halfway point (in the Northern Hemisphere) between the official start of winter and the start of spring, so -- being ever optomistic -- I think ahead to spring and tulips, and tulips bring to mind the Netherlands, and then, one of the Netherlands' greatest painters -- Jan Vermeer of Delft.

He lived in what is often referred to as the Golden Age of Dutch art. To quote part of the opening page to the first chapter in "The World of Vermeer" from TIME-LIFE's Library of Art series (which is excellent, IMO):
"Vermeer was born in the town of Delft in 1632, near the zenith of an era that saw the Dutch nation lift itself into prominence as one of Europe's great powers. During this Golden Age, which spanned most of the 17th Century, Holland achieved unparalleled economic, social and political growth. In a brief period of about 75 years it produced a treasury of painting whose brilliance has rarely been surpassed.
"Jan Vermeer was the last great master in the legion of artists who produced this explosion of art. By the time of his death at the age of 43 in 1675, this Golden Age was coming to an end; the nation and its art were in decline. Vermeer himself died apparently little known or esteemed and it was 200 years before his luminous, tranquil paintings were recognized as ranking among the great masterpieces of Western Art."


So -- while this thread is entitled "Master Class" I am hoping that we will all share in the teaching and learning. I plan on going over, with lots of WIP shots and notes I've made, the process used in copying two small portraits by Vermeer, which I've done in an oil painting class. My teacher has kindly given her permission for me to share.

The first portrait is the well-known "Girl with a Pearl Earring."
http://www.essentialvermeer.com/cata...l_earring.html

The second portrait is called "Portrait (or Study) of a Young Woman."
http://www.essentialvermeer.com/cata...ung_woman.html

Both portraits have a similar pose and background, and just being 'head shots' are fairly simple to do. I did both my copies as 8" x 10".

I highly recommend the website, http://www.essentialvermeer.com
It has indepth information on all things Vermeer. I expect that I will link to it a lot!

Besides the TIME-LIFE book on Vermeer, which was published in 1967 but is still a very informative book on Vermeer, I have a great little inexpensive book on Vermeer from Taschen's "Back to Visual Basics" series, called "Vermeer: The Complete Paintings," by Norbert Schneider. I recommend it, as it has all of Vermeer's paintings in colour, as well as a very informative text. I like how it also compares subject matter and looks at similar things in the different paintings.

That is a fun thing to do, as you will notice looking at Vermeer's complete works (all on the essentialvermeer site), is that he has a lot of the same props and clothing in many works.

I welcome you all the share other web sources and books on Vermeer, and any additional information -- and corrections! -- to what I will offer.

I'll be back later to discuss the palette used for "Girl with a Pearl Earring."
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Old 02-02-2009, 05:55 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

Good one Lauren -

I love Vermeer's ability to paint light. Looking forward to learning some of his techniques

Ryan
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Old 02-02-2009, 06:57 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

Will watch with interest
Regards
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Old 02-02-2009, 09:04 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

I'm wandering in, don't work with oils but will probably learn alot anyway - good art's cross-trainable
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:59 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryster007
Good one Lauren -
I love Vermeer's ability to paint light. Looking forward to learning some of his techniques.
Ryan

Hi, Ryan!

I'm reading up on Vermeer's palette, and found a mention of how he attained luminosity using Genuine Ultramarine (made with real Lapis Lazuli). He also used lead white.

Here is an interesting explanation, using as an example a painting that was done around the same time as 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'.
http://www.essentialvermeer.com/deta...r_pitcher.html

Here is a good explanation of Vermeer's palette:
http://www.essentialvermeer.com/palette/palette_vermeer'_palette.html

I'll be back later today to start discussing the palette I used for 'Girl with a Pearl Earring.'
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:01 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

Thanks Lauren...I 'm glad you will discuss the palette he used. I hope I have most of the colours. I will check the links.
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:10 PM
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Mette Rörström Mette Rörström is offline
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

Hi! Here is a link that you can see and read about weermeers paintings.(Among many other artists.)
http://www.artrenewal.org
(click on ARC Museum..)
Hope it is useful.
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Last edited by Mette Rörström : 02-03-2009 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:02 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mette Rörström
Hi! Here is a link that you can see and read about weermeers paintings.(Among many other artists.)
http://www.artrenewal.org
(click on ARC Museum..)
Hope it is useful.

Hi, Mette,

I am familiar with the ARC website, but could only find Vermeer's artwork listed to see them and possibly order prints. I couldn't find any info on him other than that. Perhaps you could include the link to the pages you are referring to, so we can find it.

Thanks for the referral -- there is so much wonderful info and art on that site.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:43 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

I am sorry...I was sitting and reading about vermeer when I gave you the link...but now when I went back(arc website)..I can not find it. But atleast you can see his paintings.
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Last edited by Mette Rörström : 02-04-2009 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:56 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

No problem, Mette!

Sorry that I haven't posted more -- life got busy in the past few days.

While the 51-day long bus strike in my city ended a week ago, it is taking a few weeks to get the buses back on the roads (since now they all need to be inspected and tuned up), so I'm still balancing driving my kids and husband to school and work. My 'kids' (ages 21 & 24) are at two different colleges/universities, and my husband works downtown -- where the traffic gets slow at rush-hour. However, the buses for the main routes (which they use) are supposed to be back tomorrow, so I hope things will be less hectic.

Meanwhile, I think I have the scans about ready to post, regarding our colour palettes. The process I was taught includes doing a 9-value black/grey/white values chart, and a colour and greyscale chart for each painting, to help work out the colour mixes we will need before we start.

Looking at my WIP photos, I have better ones for the second Vermeer than for my first (natural, I suppose, as we learn with each one we do), so I'll post up both to start, so things will be easier to understand.

However, for those of you who want to get prepared to do your own Vermeer copy in oils, I did both paintings as 8"W x 10"H. I did the first one on canvas, but chose to do the second on birch panel, as I generally prefer the smooth surface. Prime with gesso -- I like to have a few coats to lesson the canvas tooth, or on board, to sand between layers and get a nice surface. I also recommend some primed canvas sheets (like Fredrix makes in pads) or primed cardboard to do the colour charts and value studies on.

Pigments needed (in oils):
Titanium White
Ivory Black
Raw Umber
Burnt Sienna
Yellow Ochre
Indian Yellow
Vermillion Red or Cadmium Red Light
Alizarin Crimson
Ultramarine Blue
Indigo

We also used a medium -- like Liquin or Gamblin Galkyd Medium -- and solvent (Odourless Mineral Spirits)

Brushes: some small to medium rounds and filberts, soft synthetics & filberts

I'll be back to talk more about Vermeer's palette and the one I am recommending...
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Old 02-07-2009, 03:06 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

I think I have most of the colours, Lauren. ..in alkyds or in traditional oil paints. The only ones I'm not sure about are indigo and indian yellow...but I'll check. ... I have a few cheap oils bought ages ago and maybe those are included.

I have some fine grain canvas and I think I'll use that.

I also have a small gesso primed hardboard panel but its only 6 by 8 and too small to use I think!
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:34 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

This is great! I have always wanted to do the girl with the pearl earring so here is my chance!
I glued canvas onto masonite and put an extra coat of white, let that dry and then stained the canvas a middle tone. Tomorrow I am going to start the girl if all goes according to plan.
I don't have indigo and have to drive 3 hours to get to the closest art supply store so I am wondering if I mix like pthalo & umber or something like that. Anyone know what mix would work the best?
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:43 PM
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Re: Master Study Class: Vermeer's Oil Painting Techniques

Sorry for being absent and not explaining the palette more.

The Indigo (blue) and Indian Yellow are mixed together for the background. Vermeer used Indigo mixed with Weld. My teacher felt that Indian Yellow was the closest substitute for Weld. If you don't want to purchase these pigments, a deep blue like Prussian Blue or Phalo Blue will do. You might need to add a little Black or Raw Umber. You can also substitute a Cadmium Yellow Medium for the Indian Red. However, if you want to learn more about pigments, you might want to pick them up. I found that Winsor & Newton or Gamblin had good artist quality paints at a very reasonable price.

According the the essentialvermeer website, a limited amount of pigments were available to Dutch artists of that period. While Rembrandt used more than 100 different pigments in his work (though probably not in one painting), Vermeer used less than 20 (that have been detected in his work) and only used 10 in a systematic way.

They are listed as: (notes taken from essentialvermeer.com)
AZURITE - a cheaper blue that Vermeer used in light grey & mixtures of green; may have also used as a base colour.
CARMINE - [Cochineal, Crimson Lake] very transparent red; excellent for glazing
CHARCOAL BLACK - made of Carbon/ Charcoal; has strong brownish undertones, easy to prepare & has excellent hiding power. Vermeer used in painting black marble tiles.
GREEN EARTH - [Caledonite, Glauconite, Terra Verde of Verona, Ciprus Green] In oils it becomes soapy in texture. In mass tone, it is a rather dull green. Vereer mixed it with Lead White & some Lead-Tin Yellow, & in some shadowed skin tones.
INDIGO - In oils, this pigment was very transparent; a good pigment for glazing; a strong yellow undertone. Vermeer used in background of 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' mixed with Weld, to make a deep green glaze.
IVORY BLACK - [Bone Black] The deepest black. Vermeer didn't use it much, preferring Charcoal Black.
LEAD WHITE - [Flake White, Cremnitz White, Kerms White, Silver White, Berlin White, Slate White] Has outstanding brushing qualities & mixes well with every other colour. A warm & very opaque white. Still very popular with many oil painters, dispite some controversy about using a paint containing lead.
LEAD-TIN YELLOW - [Massicott (source: northern England), Giallolino (source: Italy)] A strong lemon hue, very light in tone, good hiding power. Vermeer used as a principle pigment for yellow drapes & the fur-trimmed yellow jacket that appears in 6 of his paintings.
MADDER LAKE - [Red Madder, Rose Madder] A ruby-red tone, highly transparent, excellent for glazing.
RED OCHRE - [Red Ochre, Red Earth, Iron Oxide Red, Red Iron Oxide, Indian Red, brun rouge (French), Roter Ocker (German), Reddle, Spanish Brown] Vermeer used frequently to tone the grounds of his paintings.
SMALT - [Cobalt Blue] A deep blue, similar to ultramarine, made from powdered glass made a deep blue by using cobalt.
ULTRAMARINE - Vermeer used 'Genuine Ultramarine,' which was made with ground pure Lapis Lazuli (as semi-precious stone). It was very expensive, but the results were stunning. A very deep transparent blue -- VERY dark.
UMBER - [terre d'ombre] Vermeer used at times, mixed with black in underpainting stage. Also used mixed with white in grounds to create warm light grey.
WELD - A yellow, made from the Weld plant
VERDIGRIS - [Copper Green] a bluish green, the mosst vibrant green pigment available, but not very lightfast. Lost use as more stable pigments became available.
VERMILLION - [Cinnabar, Chinese Vermillion] an opaque red pigment, very bright & a bit orangey. In modern time, largely replaced by Cadmium Red.
YELLOW OCHRE - Vermeer used extensively in flesh tones.

The Seven Principle Pigments Commonly used by Vermeer:
1 - LEAD WHITE
2- YELLOW OCHRE
3- VERMILLION
4 - RED MADDER
5 - GREEN EARTH
6 - RAW UMBER
7 - IVORY BLACK
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Last edited by Lauren F-M : 02-09-2009 at 02:49 PM.

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