|Two Cherries, oil on panel, May 2013|
I started a portrait of my father on Father's Day of 2009. I wanted to portray him as Renaissance landowners were depicted - in clothing of that period, in a room that overlooks his land. I combined several documents, trying to come up with a composite that conveyed what I had in mind. Despite my initial goal of making all decisions before the painting began, I have changed directions a number of times. It's all a part of the learning. I have to let it sit without being touched for a few weeks before I begin again. I am in no hurry to finish. I usually work on more than one piece at a time. Sometimes I'll execute several small drawings or acrylic paintings before returning to an oil painting.
I wasn't satisfied with the color...people said he looked like clergy. So I started over, and also have attempted to change the gaze of his eyes...probably four times. It gets pretty frustrating when I can't seem to get it just right.
This graphite drawing measures 2.25" x 3.25". Drawings this size typically take about 20 hours to complete.
I started a painting on panel in January 2012. Here are various stages of the underdrawing, and below, the imprimatura with the addition of some whites. The imprimatura is the initial color put over the underdrawing (in this case, red ochre with transparent red oxide). It serves to unify the painting and will express itself even in the final painting. The whites are applied by mixing dry white pigment in an emulsion. After the whites are fully painted, I will work on the darks. After this underpainting stage is complete, I will begin the process of adding color.
The whites are built up using dry pigment - a mix of zinc and titanium white - in an emulsion medium. Once the whites are built up, the darks are worked in.
Working in the darks: This is a transition from the drawing to the painting stage. I continue to use emulsion as the medium with dry pigment. This keeps the underpainting very "lean" and is in keeping with the "fat over lean" addage. The underpainting is considered lean because there is very little oil in the emulsion and none at all in the dry pigments.
|detail from April 13|