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Old 08-30-2005, 12:25 AM
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Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Hello All

I thought that since many here seem unfamilar with the "Classical" method of oil painting, Layers, that I would post my wip in a separate thread, rather then take up so much "space in the "Show your self portrait" thread. That way only the people interested in learning about this method have to view it.
I was asked specifics about the method so I will take it from the begining step by step.

step 1.
Painting from either life or a photo, this is done from a photo, much easier when doing a self portrait.

Here is the photo that I used

From this I first started with a linen canvas, coated with a lightly colored ground of lead (flake) white and burnt umber and let that dry. Then I did a underlayer in the same lead white and burnt umber, a bistre.
Here is a pic of the bistre in progress:


I brought this underlayer to a high degree of finish and then let that dry.

After the bistre layer was dry I then started to apply color in thin semi opaque layers called velaturas. for these velaturas I used a mix of paint and medium which consists of an italian maroger, beeswax, turp, stand oil and venetian turp. This give the paint a lovely creamy and slightly opaque quality.
Side note- I always do a velatura of the shadow areas first. Since I use the classical "venetian" method I used terra verte for the shadow underpainting color. I let this dry.
Here is a pic of this stage:


In this pic you can see the bistre and the greenish tint to the shadow areas . I know it seems strange to do this but, it gives a very real look to the flesh in the finished painting.

Here I am still adding a second velatura layer of flesh tones still mixed with the same medium;


Third layer, velatura stage. I have also changed the original bistre backgroud color.

As you can see, because the layers of color are thin but slightly opaque, you can see how the terra verte from the first velatura show thru as a shadow in the flesh.
Jodi
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Old 08-30-2005, 12:40 AM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Here is where I am at as of tonight. I have finished the velaturas on the flesh and am now starting to add the glazing layers. I have started with the arm.



As you can see the flesh on the face and the chest look very soft and have that "creamy" quality.

The arm is very wet in this pic so it has a glare at the moment, but I think you can see how the glazing layer on top of the velaturas makes the flesh look very three dementional. It seems to glow from the inside out. That is because the light passes thru the glazes easily and also thru the velaturas, but not quite as much and then gets to the flat bistre underpainting and reflects back to the viewers eye. Where as in a direct painting method you have one flat layer of paint on the canvas, so the light cannot pass thru but instead bounces off the surface and gives the paint a flat quality.

Here are a few close ups:







That is is for now. I will post more as I go.

Hope you all find this helpfull in understanding the Classical Methods of oil painting.

Jodi
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Old 08-30-2005, 07:48 AM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Jodi - this is great. I loved to see the step by step process. Will keep an eye on this thread.
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Old 08-30-2005, 12:23 PM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Thank you so much for doing this demonstration, Jodi! I am really grateful that you are so generously sharing your knowledge.

I am going to try this method on my next portrait. I wonder if you would mind sharing your skin tone palette for the velaturas, and also, what colors you are using to glaze? I'm glad you showed the close up, because it really shows the advantage of this method.
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Old 08-30-2005, 01:11 PM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

You are so welcome Eileen-
Maybe this wip will inspire others to try this method. I am sure there are many oil painters here that thought that the classical methods were extremely difficult to understand, let alone master, but in actuallity it is just a matter of using the right materials and following the right steps. I will say it does take some practice to feel comfortable with it and everyone has their OWN way of using these methods. But that is the point of learning something very old, but new to you, to find what you think would work for you as an artist and incorporate it into your own paintings.

The palette that I am using is a fairly limited one, especially when compared to "modern" oil painters. But with a few choices of color you are really able to get a very rich and full spectrumed look to any painting. Think about the Masters, they had very few colors at their disposal and yet their paintings are the most magnificent pieces of art that one could ever see (IMO).

I use both WN and Williamsburg paints.

For the ground I used WN's
foundation white (a lead based white) and burnt umber. I mix that with 1 part turp to 6 parts paint.

For the bistre:
Williamsburg Flake White (slightly creamier the WN's)
WN's Burnt Umber
I mixed these together in different values from 1 to 5
I used the same medium as I do for the velaturas, but added more turp to it.

For the velaturas:
1st Velatura
Williamsburg Native Italian Earth Line Terra Verte over just the shadow areas.

Second and subsequent velaturas:
Flesh tones:
Williamsburg Flake
WN's Yellow Ochre
Williamsburg Vermillion

Velatura Medium:
4 parts italian maroger, 2 parts beeswax, 1 part english turp (add a second part for the bistre), 2 parts stand oil and 1 part venetian turp.

For the Glazes I will be using the same colors but a different medium. It is one that I make especially for glazing. It consists of :
3 parts stand oil, 3 parts washed cold pressed linseed oil, 2 part damar varnish, 1 part venetian turp, 1 part english turp

Fabrics:
Williamsburg Flake
WN's Ivory Black
WN's Ultramarine Blue

Background:
WN's Ultramarine Blue
WN's Ivory Black
WN's Burnt Umber

I think that about covers it. If anyone has any Q's, please don't hesitate to ask. I am more then happy to answer them, if I can.

Have a great day all,
Jodi
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Old 08-30-2005, 07:59 PM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Hi Jody! Great demo!!

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Old 08-31-2005, 11:07 AM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Thank you Rose.

I am now starting to add the first glazing layer to the face. At this stage, I am just glazing in the highlight areas with flake white (and in some spots, a touch of yellow ochre mixed in), and the shadow areas with burnt umber, mixed as needed with vermillion and or yellow ochre. I will finish this layer on the face and the neck and then let it dry before I move on to the next glaze layer.
Here is a pic:




Jodi
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Last edited by eileenclaire : 08-31-2005 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 08-31-2005, 11:11 AM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Just a note here- I am not sure just how many of the wrinkles and flaws I will actually put in . I want it to be real, but not TOO real Artists licence

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Old 08-31-2005, 08:03 PM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Hello Again,

I hope I am not boring you all with this demo, I can see that people are looking but not speaking. Doesn't anyone have any questions??? Or have you all decided by now that this method is not your "cuppa tea"?

Well at least I work very fast for a Classical Realist. so I will finish this thread soon

Okay, I have finished the first glazing layer on the painting. I will leave it to dry thoroughly before I start the next.

Here is the final pic of this first glazing layer:



Have a great night all,
Jodi
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Old 08-31-2005, 08:30 PM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Jodi, the portrait is looking good. I am not familiar with this method so I've been learning from this demo. How long does it take to dry in between layers?
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Old 08-31-2005, 08:35 PM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Hi Jodi

just looking in, and cheering you on

Dave
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Old 08-31-2005, 08:55 PM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Jodi, thank you for the palette info.

I do have a question - when I did the glazing for my latest portrait, I used Liquin as the medium. Have you ever used this? How did you come up with the mix that you use? Does the type of medium used affect the outcome of the painting? I have seen so many recipes for glazing, yet it's hard for a beginner to know which one to choose.

I am really enjoying watching your progress on this.
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Old 08-31-2005, 09:54 PM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Hey Dave, you are so supportive and sweet to come and see Thanks soooo much!

Janet- Usually, barring high humidty, because of the ingredients in the medium that I use and the fact that the layers are very thin, the painting is dry enough to work on (dry to the touch, not sticky anywhere) within 24 hours, most of the time sooner. The velaturas dry quicker then the glazing layers. (more drying agents are in the velatura medium) So if I have painted a velatura layer today and stopped at 5:00pm, then by the next afternoon I can usually paint on it again. When I have glazed a layer, then it can take anywhere from 24 to 60 hours to dry throughly enough to work. The glazing mediums ingredients, such as the venetian turp is WONDERFUL, but if you try to work on it too soon, it will delaminate and ruin the entire painting. When you are using glazing methods and mediums, you can only tell they are dry enough by the feel, not the look. They stay wet looking for weeks and in some areas, months. If it is even the slightest bit tacky or soft feeling, it is not ready and you are better off to wait another day.

Eileen- Yes I have used Liquin, and it is good as a all around medium. It dries very quickly which is the main reason most people use it. If you are going to use Liquin then you should use OMS instead of turp to thin it though, since it is an alkyd base. But remember that OMS does not clean the paint from your brushes very well, so when you are finished painting for the day, you should wash your brushes out with turp first and then clean them as usual.
I have experimented with many mediums, both ready made and custom hand made. The ones that I am using here are my particular favorites. The mediums you choose has a great deal of influence on the final results of the painting as well as the ease of application. I think that everyone is different and should experiment with different things to see what suits them and their style best. Both of my medium mixes are from very old recipes. The velatura medium is thought to be very similar to ones used by Rubens. And the glaze is thought to be the one used be Vermeer. I have studied the masters and read so many books in the 40 years that I have been painting that I could probably give you 20 different recipes for mediums, and most are fairly good. But like I said, I am comfortable with these and find that I can get the effect that I want with them. The mediums that I use give the paint a three dementional effect and the glazing gives the look of stained glass. It is so hard to see these effects on a computer screen and especially when the pics are resized so small for here. I don't think you can get those qualities with Liquin. And the venetian turp liquifies slowly and difuses the paint into a beautiful soft glow. But it must be mixed with other ingredients.

Have a great night all,
Jodi
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Old 08-31-2005, 09:59 PM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

Thanks for the demo! I've tried the classical method before, but it was more of a make-a-bunch-of-weird-layers-and-call-it-classical type of thing. I'll have to look into this venetian turp, too.
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Old 08-31-2005, 10:02 PM
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Re: Self portrait WIP- Classical Oils Method

BTW- I am not sure what happened to the photo of the wip from step of the start of glazing the face, I think I accidentally named this last photo the same thing and the other photo got overwritten, changed somehow. Odd????

Oh well, I will have to be more careful

Sorry!

Jodi
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