Originally Posted by artinthebush
What does "chiaroscuro" mean. It's too intelligent for me. I'm just a guy in the street that's trying to paint pictures of animals.
Chiaroscuro is Italian...was used during the Renaissance period, and used shadows and tonal palettes to create a believable illusion of rendered form. There were various ways to go about it.
I mentioned my past...here is one from the past, 1984... a Snowy Owl with a Hungarian Partridge...
I painted this after studying, copying works of Rembrandt more exclusively in the late 70's...entering it into Wildlife art competition. It won...and defined the work I would then do for many years, breaking away and out little by little.
Note the color is darker, the emphasis is dimension using values, color takes a secondary or minimal place of importance.
This led into the Baroque period, which used the chiaroscuro with more dramatic stage lighting-like approach, which is what Rembrandt did say more than DaVinci...
Traditional ways of using chiaroscuro was to do an underpainting, then mix up a glaze of brown paint with medium...such as 1/4 Damar, 1/4 turps, 1/2 linseed oil and paint.
You'd pour the medium/glaze over the entire dried underpainting, then use a rag to carefully wipe out the form, rendering light and letting passages disappear into the darks as though emerging.
Rembrandt and the Baroque period upscaled this, by applying clear mediums over dried paint...then painting directly into the layer of wet medium. Not fully painting but bits here and there. Then let the layer dry completely, paint another layer of medium...and paint more into that wet layer. On and on..upwards to as many as 30 layers or more. This is why you can walk up to a Rembrandt and the darks appear as if you could push your hand right into the canvas surface and beyond without touching anything.
To me...there is less magic and mystery understanding it all, and it all requires labor. When I see a hyper realistic work of such rendering, knowing what I know...painting as I did, I tend to sum it up with a gesture of my shoulder shrugging and simply say, "There was a lot of work!"
Not saying its not art...but am suggesting the outcome doesn't surprise me. It can be controlled, is totally to be expected if one has the patience to put 300 hours or more into a painting.
What is a mystery to me still...even though I've put out 200-300 paintings per year for the past 12 years doing them myself...is painting a work start to finish in one sitting, and having such control over the brush, the pigment...such understanding of light and color...that you can nail it without that which is come to be expected from 300 hours.
Oh...you won't have the detail of a 300 hour work...and many define good art on detail, but detail is no guarantee the painting will appear to breathe. A difference between lifeless detail, and that which FEELS real. Realistic versus REAL'ness...
I'm trying to uncover and master what I can of that...but I submit, the work may have an unfinished look them them...even more gestural, but THEY are not easier. I think in actuality, the taskmaster of the serious hyper realistic works I did for near 17 years prepared me to take on this latest work of mine.