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Old 08-24-2019, 12:24 PM
Richard P Richard P is offline
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After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

I'm in the middle of working on a copy of a Rembrandt self-portrait.

It's 12" x 12" Oil on Dibond, prepared with two perpendicular layers of clear gesso over a transferred reference drawing.

I really like the later work of Rembrandt with the thick impasto and virtuoso brushstrokes. He worked in layers with thick paint, I work in one layer wet in wet with fluid paint.. hmmm, a bit of a problem that!

So I'm going to try to capture the spirit (but not the genius) of one of his paintings without the thick paint application and use of multiple layers.
I tend to work now in 5 value steps, from pure black to the lightest values and then adding touches with pure titanium white into the lightest areas where needed.

First of all I trace a simplified form outline drawing that shows the rough positions of the features for each value step onto the board.

I thought it would be useful to post pictures from start to finish so you can see how the painting develops. I'm always liked following threads where the painting develops..

So, the very simple start:


More later..
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Old 08-25-2019, 05:09 AM
Richard P Richard P is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

Pure black (and darkest value areas) blocked in:

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Old 08-25-2019, 07:51 AM
bhindi bhindi is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

Really cool.. the outline drawing looks like a geographical contour map. Interesting technique.
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:19 PM
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Keith Russell Keith Russell is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

I'm not sure what your objective is, here. I mean, you'll end up with a picture that has some things in common (composition, geometry) with an image by Rembrandt, but...so...what?

You aren't drawing in his style, you aren't mixing colours in his style, and you aren't applying paint in his style.

So, what are you attempting to learn/achieve by doing this?

Genuinely curious...
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Old 08-25-2019, 05:04 PM
Richard P Richard P is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

If I was copying his drawing, colours and painting style (layers, impasto) I would be trying to create the best copy I could.

But I'm trying to capture a feeling (or a spirit) of Rembrandt while painting in my own way. It's making me think about each painting stroke and how best to represent what I see in my own style. That way of thinking, that questioning during painting is what I'm finding useful. I'm trying to stretch myself and grow as an artist.

Hope that makes sense.
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Old 08-26-2019, 04:36 AM
Richard P Richard P is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

First dark values (besides black) blocked in. They look a lot brighter in the photo than in reality. The dominant colour in the face here was grey into which I will add saturation adjustments.

I realise this looks very odd at the moment, but the shapes and colours will be refined as I go. I work wet into wet on the surface so these are my base colours.

You are going to have to trust me on this one!

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Old 08-26-2019, 08:39 AM
ik345 ik345 is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

Richard... "clear gesso over a transferred reference drawing."

Or is it the other way around? Or maybe I'm not getting how it works? (Like some semiopaque gesso - is this what you mean with clear?)
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:46 AM
Richard P Richard P is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

Clear gesso is an acrylic medium with silica added in. It's much more toothy than a white gesso, nearly transparent and much less absorbant.
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:07 PM
Richard P Richard P is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

Blended the orange-red and the green into the grey for saturation adjustments where needed:



Still baffled..?
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Old 08-27-2019, 04:13 PM
Richard P Richard P is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

Using the colours I mixed to block in the previous areas, I paint wet in wet into the pure black areas. I'm using a sketchy style here to paint in the details in these shadows. I'm not mixing on the palette, just on the panel.

It always looks odd for the first few steps then starts to appear from the white background.

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Old 08-28-2019, 01:30 PM
Richard P Richard P is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

Next step blocked in:

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Old 08-29-2019, 03:47 AM
Richard P Richard P is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

Painting the details into the previous area, wet in wet:

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Old 08-29-2019, 06:05 AM
bhindi bhindi is offline
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

It's coming along really nicely. I love the little splashes of red.
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:25 AM
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

As an ex pro photographer i think your consistency of lighting of the steps is exceptional. Something some people often overlook. The exposure of the dark tones is wonderful!
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Old 08-29-2019, 09:40 AM
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Re: After Rembrandt - WIP from start to finish

that's what i was thinking, the blacks look lush with endless life, sheer pleasure to watch this thriller unfold!
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