Hi Stephen, welcome to this months Master activity. I like the direction you are taking with yours
Will be looking forward to your progress.
I was just doing a bit of studying up on old Carravagio, and I found a wealth of info in my Book "How to Paint Like the Old Masters" by Joseph Sheppard. Lots of good info in there on his probable processes. Maybe I could share a little?
1. Apparently - there are no traces of Carravagios drawings which would lead one to assume that he painted directly - a debatable point among many artists. Shadow areas of his paintings reveal an underlying ground color in the shadow areas.
2. There is a belief that his medium may have been similar to Titian's per this author and he uses:
(20 parts linseed oil
litharge (or powdered white lead pigment or white lead paste) 1 part
turpentine - 20 parts
mastic tears - 7 parts)
For the Carravagio demonstration he uses a combination of this and beeswax medium.
3. His probable working sequence for his first sitting may have been rendered with "a warm, thin color, possibly burnt umber, which he handled like watercolor, leaving the color of the ground untouched for the lighter areas and painting the shadows with transparent color diluted with medium ........ leaving the underlying tone of the canvas to show through the shadows". The first sitting's tones appear well blended.
4. His second sitting probable sequence: Working flesh tones with shades of opaque grays and then "modeled and blended into the shadow edges". No build up of lights - transclucent shadows and "inner forms would be well blended".
5. In the third sitting - Carravaggio would paint "velaturas of flesh tints over the gray underpainting ... and would work subtle grays and pinks into the shadow areas for reflected lights".
6. The fourth sitting would be for details, "more subtle glazes and tints". The final sitting would "be for large overall dark glazes in which he could manipulate the shadows and control the lights".
The author of this book, in his Carravagio demonstration uses the following palette sequence:
"First sitting - burnt umber
Second sitting - white lead (flake white), burnt umber, ivory black.
Third and fourth sittings - white lead, yellow ochre light, French vermillion light, alizaron Chrimson, burnt sienna, burnt umber, ivory black.
Fifth sitting: ivory black.
Brush numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 11 round bristles, number 6 round sables, and flat bristle blenders."
So, for whatever that is worth to anyone, I do not know. But I'm interested in this sequence...... and this provided some insight on his probable processes.