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Old 02-04-2013, 12:49 AM
santy2040 santy2040 is offline
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portraits

hey team

i have a question about portraits but not the image of the person itself rather the background. I know that the background plays a huge role in the emotion and effect the painting gives. the issue I'm having is with dark backgrounds. do people start with a black canvas and then over paint the lighter colours or start with a white canvas and lay it on thick. please if you would share your insights.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:26 AM
Ribera Ribera is offline
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Straight Black, Awful. . .

One never commences a portrait (or any work)
on a black support:
All oil color's transparent (and in time'll only
get moreso), so inevitably, that black'll only
show through the layers atop.
That'll both dull the work's chroma, and lower
the values.
On the other hand, though, many artists do
prefer a lightly-toned background, as when
painting on a stark white ground, every stroke
placed upon it appears too dark (In precisely
the same way every stroke on that black
must then, appear too light.), so, if that sur-
face instead is roughly a 7th value, the
paint placed atop'll appear more accurate.
r
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:08 AM
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Judy Manuche Judy Manuche is offline
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Re: portraits

Ditto the above from Ribera, I use toned canvas, usually burnt sienna.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:17 PM
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DAK723 DAK723 is offline
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Re: portraits

Start with a white canvas, and as mentioned, you can tone it to a medium or darker value right from the start. You definitely do not have to lay it on thick - the thinner the better especially for the initial layer or layers as you want them to dry quickly.

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Old 02-04-2013, 04:37 PM
santy2040 santy2040 is offline
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Re: portraits

ah i see, the only reason i ask is because i look at some of the "classical" portraits and they are so dark see attached.

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Old 02-04-2013, 11:19 PM
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Toril Toril is online now
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Re: portraits

Is it because they were painted in candlelight and then have darkened over the years on top of that?

I thought some painters used black or dark supports... although perhaps not for where there is supposed to be skin color on top?
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:36 PM
fxoflight fxoflight is offline
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Re: portraits

Hi there,
Not saying this is correct or incorrect, but artists do start with a black or almost black support sometimes. http://caseybaughfineart.com/free_demo_page.htm
-fxoflight
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:27 AM
santy2040 santy2040 is offline
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Re: portraits

that video was really good. thank you.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:57 AM
Ribera Ribera is offline
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Portraits. . .

santy,
Re: the portrait posted, while it's quite strong,
and appears to have black areas on it, neverthe-
less, had it commenced on a black ground out-
right, the white shirt, paler regions of that back-
ground, and most essentially, the fleshtones
through the yrs inevitably must've dulled and
darkened.
In fact, precisely that has occurred in many
works toned to a mid-tone, so it appears to me
most likely the artists instead, once the compo-
sition was established, glazed with black, mult-
iple times, until it was as close to black as oil
paint can get.
r
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:56 AM
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viking009 viking009 is offline
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Re: portraits

Just a small snippet from a book about Caravaggio

"While Caravaggio used a

light gray ground in some of his earlier works, by the

time of the Contarelli Chapel paintings, his first major

commission, he had begun to paint directly on to the

dark, earth toned red-brown, or dark brown single

ground which he used to enormous dramatic effect"

Which leads me to believe a dark toned canvas can be used to great effect.




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