Friday, July 29, 2011


There's no doubt about it. This work painting Ginerva d'Benci has been humbling. And with that, I can say that I am learning a lot and still feeling that I am only scratching the surface.

After various approaches, I restarted this evening from a simple base of smoothly sponged yellow ochre and titanium white. From there I worked in some highlighting with pure white scumbles and developed some shadows with red ochre, later turning to Burnt Umber Reddish instead. Every so often I'd scumble a light white layer to pull it together. I also used transparent layers of yellow ochre to unify and warm.

I worked hard to maintain extremely light mixes. Even so, I still ran into some blotchiness, especially when using the red ochre in a slightly aggressive manner. (Notice on her left cheek the unevenness, and on the right the relative smoothness in form transition.)

I also worked on proper tempering. I have been inconsistent and tried to stay aware of my mixes, which gave me good results.

I have noticed how sometimes I get myself into trouble with heavy layers. It's all about mood. Some nights I don't get to pick up a brush until later in the evening and by then I am either tired, rushed, or both. I'm trying to be conscious of my state and relax into my painting when the time finally comes.

I think I will be drifting from time to time from this endeavor while I regroup.

I want to continue copying Old Masters drawings and paintings with white and red chalk on toned paper. (Supplies are on the way.) There is plenty to learn with a more easily controlled medium.

I want to explore turning form in egg tempera with simple shapes, something that I can apply to more complex shapes as I learn from my copying exercises.

I want to develop color charts in egg tempera with my growing collection of pigments.

And lastly, I want to get in some botanical work in graphite, watercolor, and egg tempera.

There! That's the plan! I have only four weeks left to work (so exciting!) so these paths are soon entirely within reach. With this, I'll be starting a botanical art course in late September. (More on that soon.) Additionally, I'm scheduled for two full days of demonstrations and lectures during the ASBA conference in October.


  1. So what do you do in your spare time? ;-)
    Quite impressed with all that you have accomplished while still holding down your full time job- can't wait to see what transpires when you finally have huge chunks of time to devote to all your interests.
    One thing that struck me while reading this post was that often in centuries past, many artists had assistants that did all their mixing of pigments so that all they had to do was pick up the brush- you are tackling the entire process from A-Z... quite the education!
    ~ gretchen

  2. And they even had apprentices who did some of their painting.

    I really enjoy working with raw pigments and exploring new additions to my ever growing collection. What I find so cool is that these very same pigments are the base for all our media. At some point I will return to mixing watercolors. Perhaps gouache. And just maybe pastels.