Monthly Archives: January 2015

learning to paint

Once again I am acting against my better judgement and showing you work in progress.  Not even really work in progress, just an exercise in progress.  I am not sure what compels me to take this ill-advised action.  But here goes.

A couple of months ago I assigned myself the little exercise of copying this lovely portrait of Lady Elizabeth Pope by Sir Robert Peake.  I have posted previously about my effort to figure out what direction to take with my painting.  So as sort of a warm-up I undertook to try to copy this painting.


Harder than it looks.  I can’t even think about how much time I have spent on this, let alone tell you.  And I can’t tell you how many times I decided to abandon it as a waste of time and perhaps a way to postpone figuring out what I was really going to do next.   I have put it aside many times and worked on other things.  But I can’t seem to let loose of this.

So here are several pics of this project in progress.

I started with the historical method of developing a grisaille (essentially a black and white) underpainting.



This next step was a greenish glaze, again another historical technique.  The greenish undertone is supposed to neutralize the reds and pinks in the paint used for the skin tones for a more natural skin tone.




So these two steps took weeks.  But it turns out this was the easy part.

The hard part is all the rest of it: finishing the painting.  I have experimented with various paint mediums and have settled on stand oil and turpentine.  The hard part is figuring how to handle the paint, how to handle color.  The hard part is painting.  Which I thought I knew something about.  There is painting and there is painting.   I have given myself quite and education in the process.  So if I don’t finish this little project it will have been time well spent.

So the question remains: What next?

Here is a detail of the next step in finishing this exercise.  If I “finish” it maybe I will share it.