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Old 04-13-2018, 01:38 PM
forrie forrie is offline
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Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

Is there really any meaningful advantage to the (time consuming) Flemish technique vs. just working from simpler approaches. Does it add more depth, is it really appropriate for non-portraits (for example).

I've read that many people have dropped this approach due to its time consuming (and tiresome) approach. Some simply don't follow it specifically -- I can see a grisaille (in one stage) being one way to shorten this.

Curious what more experienced painters here feel about this.

I've seen some works started with a simple umber layer, then grisaille (be that tinted or not) and from there, color.
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Old 04-13-2018, 02:49 PM
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Ellis Ammons Ellis Ammons is offline
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

The power of glazing is not to be discarded. It's a way to boost your colors beyond what you can achieve when mixing with white. Mixing a color with white will turn out a muted, pastel look. However simply glazing a object that doesn't require that extra boost in color is not acurate for realism. In reality there are many different colors in an object especially shadows that will reflect the light of object around it. To create a realistic object you have to mix the color on your pallette and put it on the canvas and leave it alone. Every brush stroke should be a different color. In this way it is more time consuming and difficult than the flemish method. Once an object is built in this way and your color is not quite as strong as it should be.. Then you glaze.

But you have to be very careful with the glaze. It's very easy to get carried away and destroy all the colors you spent hours working on. You may create a pretty and polished picture. But your subjects wont look real anymore.

The pictures of a painting so that all you see is the jumble of brushwork on the internet is not the way the painting looks in real life. Once you see a painting in person that is not manipulated with glazing and every brush stroke isn't blended in you will see how real a painting can be. Once you stand back all of the brush work disappears and the object will appear before you like magic.

All in all you have to make the decision of if your making a pretty polished painting. Or if you are creating a painting with real color so that the object looks real in real life. Myself,. I love creating both types of work.

Now if I could just follow my own advice.
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Last edited by Ellis Ammons : 04-13-2018 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:38 PM
JCannon JCannon is offline
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

Ellis has done an excellent job of putting into words something that isn't easy to verbalize. That said, I think it is wrong to dismiss the idea of completing the entire work in glazes.

Surface color -- especially skin color -- is never one thing; it continually shifts. The "broken" technique of the Impressionists can capture this evanescent, ever-mutable quality, but so does the glazing technique of certain Renaissance masters.

If ever you are in Los Angeles, check out this small picture of Christ carrying the cross, formerly attributed to de Predis, a pupil of Leonardo's. (It's now thought to be the work of Marco d'Oggiono, another student of the master.) This may not be a truly major work, as such things are reckoned. But I found it hypnotic. No reproduction can do it justice. The surface is so smooth and glasslike, it doesn't look painted. I will grant that the drapery is uninspired. But the skin color was obviously accomplished in several layers (perhaps more than several) and the result is a small bit of magic. The color is ever-shifting from point to point, and one gets the sense of the skin's semi-transparency.

Obviously, this is not the only way to make a good painting. But it's still as valid an approach as any other. And I'm still resentful of the painting teachers of forty-or-so years ago who imperiously forbade young artists from working in that fashion.

That said, what is nowadays called "the Flemish technique" strikes me as carrying things a bit too far. It should be understood that it's not really authentic, in terms of emulating the actual techniques of the old Flemish masters. See here.

Quote:
So most of what you will see about "Flemish" painting methods, although sometimes used by very skilled artists, is basically what some 19th century German academics erroneously thought Northern European painting was. There is one school that alternates layers of egg-oil emulsion white with layers of oil glazes in primary colors. Another school calls for each painting to be made in seven layers, each of which dries for seven weeks (are we artists or numerologists?).

Last edited by JCannon : 04-13-2018 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:38 PM
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Delofasht Delofasht is offline
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

Another major benefit of working in “The Flemish Method” is that of very specific purposes for each layer. Each serves a purpose and function for creating variation and depth, but in addition to that each layer further allows the artist to focus on specific elements of gesture, composition, structure, form, color, and then refine form before finally glazing more depth of color and variation. Breaking it down into manageable and distinct steps allows the artist to focus on the needed information for that layer before working on the next thing. This organization makes work very controlled with specific milestones, and often the artist will find each layer could be called a finished work in its own right.
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Old 04-13-2018, 10:36 PM
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

If you compare a Bob Ross painting vs a multi layered one, you could notice some differences. Based on what I have seen so far, the artist has a better control of the final outcome, and the beauty is beyond a photograph, withstanding hundreds of years.

Place yourself 300-400 years back in time, imagine being presented with something so beautiful that your mind and heart practically stay static for a second.

Do you notice any difference here:




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Old 04-14-2018, 04:52 AM
AllisonR AllisonR is offline
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis Ammons
Now if I could just follow my own advice.

Ditto!

Very clear and valid points have already been made. Each artist has to find their own way.

Personally I do a compromise, not full 7 layers. 1. a value wash, then "erasing" back to the white canvas with turpentine for highlights and more of the same wash color for shadows. This is rough but gives a general value painting. 2. If flesh I will add a proper verdaccio (like grisaille but in subtle greenish) and the rest I may leave alone and just paint in color. Or I may also do the rest in grisaille. 3. Then paint in color. But when I paint in color I am not glazing. I am actually repainting, covering up 80-100% of the grisaille / verdaccio with mixed paint. 4. color again, corrections, improvements... 5. Final highlights, details... Glazes I leave to the end, only in certain areas.

Artists might say why paint the grisaille if it will all be covered up? Two reasons 1. It gives an overall color harmony. 2. It is easier to paint in color on top of the proper values - if my hue is right but the value is off I can see that right away, wipe it out and correct.
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:52 PM
forrie forrie is offline
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

This is really great information, everyone. Thank you :-)
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Old 04-14-2018, 01:42 PM
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

7 layered technique is completelly NOT a portraits technique. Flemish artists used it for still life paintings and for floral paintings. Nobody used 7 layers for portraits because of dynamic lost doing so many layers.
Many artists including Caravagio used alla-prima for portraits.
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Old 04-14-2018, 02:57 PM
Richard P Richard P is online now
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

It also depends on how much time and patience you have. I don't really want to spend hundreds of hours and several layers on one painting
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:37 PM
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard P
It also depends on how much time and patience you have. I don't really want to spend hundreds of hours and several layers on one painting
Nowadays you can paint on top of digital print. Printer can give several layers economy.
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Old 04-14-2018, 05:52 PM
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard P
It also depends on how much time and patience you have. I don't really want to spend hundreds of hours and several layers on one painting

Its possible to complete a flemish painting in one day. Just buy some rapid drying medium. Im working on one that dries in 10 minutes!
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Old 04-15-2018, 03:25 AM
Richard P Richard P is online now
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

10 minutes? Not sure if that is good for the paint film! Why not use acrylics for the underpainting?
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Old 04-15-2018, 06:18 AM
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard P
10 minutes? Not sure if that is good for the paint film! Why not use acrylics for the underpainting?
Yes, we can do seven layers or 107 layers of acrylic paint without patience, drying fumes and without having fat-over-lean overwhelming head ache!
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:12 AM
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0chre 0chre is online now
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

IMO you can achieve pretty much every effect you want in three or four layers, if you make smart use of transparancy and opaqueness.

The so-called Flemish method is a strange amalgamation of several historical techniques. The 15th/16th century Flemish masters did not paint like this, at all. And I believe no-one really did until the later part of the 20th century, when this particular technique was invented.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:09 PM
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Re: Does the Flemish Technique Have Advantages?

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And I believe no-one really did until the later part of the 20th century, when this particular technique was invented.
Then who was the artist invented this 7-layers method?
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