Flemish Technique Forum 1

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  • Transcript from a forum posted on .how-to-draw-and-paint.com called Flemish andItalian Renaissance technique discussionas started on november 27th 2010 byDamaclese

    Please note that the following is a direct transcript from the forum FlemishTechnique. They are pasted here as they appeared on the post. Very few grammarcorrections have been made, only those which help in text comprehension.I have always been mesmorized by the glow and light in the dutch masters particulalyand would love to try my hand at painting this waywellto get that glow I assume you are talking about the light that looks like its coming fromwithin the painting its caused by an optical layering afect that happens when lightpenatrates the Surface of the painting then is refracted and subsaquently bounced in andout repetidetly through out the layers of paint this isnt that hard to do in flemish tech ifyou understand this layering and how to keep your colors clean

    I have some thoughts on how this is acheaved and not every ones going to agree with meon this but i think its caused by separating each layer with a layer of linseed oil and agenarous top coat of at least three layers of linseed at the end of the painting each layer oflinseed provides a cristal clear layer alowing light to not only penatrate but to be bouncedaround inside of the painting making it look like its glowing from withinFrom what I've read, there is little or no evidence (as shown through chemical analysis ofold paintings) that the Masters used clear oil layers between painted layers. The "glow"was possibly created by painting many thin, transparent layers over an opaque neutral(usually a grey shade) backgound...the "dead layer" which will be talked abouteventually. Light goes through the transparent colors, hits the opaque background andbounces back to our eyes, so that what we see is basically like looking at an objectthrough colored glass. But I do believe they had a "secret" which we haven't discoveredyet.have heard about the 'dead' layer, the monochromic tonal layer the painting is first putdown in isnt it? But I hadnt heard of either the theory about the layers of linseed oil (it

  • would have taken a looooooooong time to dry between layers wouldnt it?) or the opaquelayers of paintyes i agree with you the layers of clear i use are just something i figured out on my ownsorry if i gave the impression that that was a historical fact its not i was just painting oneday and was at the end of a painting and i did not have any picture varnish so i used thelinseed mixed with liquen during the summers here whith the ac runing it takes a monthor more for linseed to dry so i wanted to accelarate the drying any way long story short iwas impresed with the depth that it created and set out on an odicy to see what i could dowith that dicovery that when i started uesing it inbetwen layers and low and behold itcreated this depth and light quality that was vary remanisent or rembrants work but without good clean colors dosint mater how many layers you paint it wont glowthis is a repost and of course im sure some will disogree with this analisis but the point isto give a starting point and this is based of the few cemical and MRI analassises ofNorthern and well as Italin Paintings that have taken placeHeres one possible reconstruction of the painting sequence:

    1.Make a detailed drawing on paper and transfer it to a gessoed panel. Reinforce andelaborate the drawing with ink or dark paint. Northern European artists usually made verydetailed underdrawings.2.The initial layer of paint, called the primuersel, is used to define the dark areas of thepainting. The primuersel color is made by mixing black with earth tones such as red oryellow ochre; it is therefore similar to the verdaccio used for flesh tones in the traditionalItalian egg tempera method (but without a green earth underpainting and not just in fleshtones). This layer was probably often done in egg tempera or tempera grassa. Either way,this layer should be used to define form, edges, shadows, and other darks throughout thepainting.3.Now apply the basic colors to each area of the painting, starting to work up modeling offorms with opaque colors but avoiding fine detail. This stage is called dead coloring.As with primuersel, some artists used egg tempera or tempera grassa for this layer. Fleshtones can be begun with mixed tones using appropriate brown or pink mixtures of white,vermillion, and earth colors. In light areas, keep the paint as thin as you can; you want thewhite of the gesso to show through. X-ray scans show that lead white was often used onlyto emphasize the brightest highlights of flesh tones, with a very thin toning of the gessoused for most light areas of flesh. This approach keeps light areas bright and avoids lateryellowing by minimizing the amount of oil. In shadow areas, dont worry so much aboutpaint thickness, but keep the surface of the paint smooth. In areas that will later beglazed, keep light areas lighter than the intended final effect, since glazes will darkenwhat they cover. When you have taken this stage as far as you can, let the paint dry onceagain.4.If you began the painting in egg tempera or tempera grassa, you will switch to pure oil

  • paint no later than when dead coloring is completed. Use paints ground in linseed oil.When switching from tempera to oil paint, you may choose to apply a very thin layer ofoil to prevent excessive absorption by the tempera underlayers. From now on, you will leteach layer dry thoroughly before further painting. If the layers are thin, this will take upto several days each time, depending on the pigments you use and whether the paint con-tains siccatives. It may be helpful to wet sand in between layers as needed to maintain asurface that is thin and smooth.5.You will now work each area of the painting toward the intended final finish. Wheredesired, you can either thin the paint slightly with medium (oil mixed with a varnish orbalsam) or put a very thin layer of medium onto the surface and paint onto that. Applyfine detail to light areas. Areas of dark or bright colors, especially those around the mainareas of interest, can be glazed. So, for example, a red robe, after a primuersel of blackmixed with red ochre and then initial opaque modeling with vermillion and white, couldthen be glazed with a transparent red lake, using fingers, a rag, or a soft brush to make theglaze very thin over the lights and thicker over the darks. A little ultramarine or indigocould be glazed in to neutralize and reinforce the darker shadows. Multiple glazes can beapplied (allow the paint to dry and wet sand in between layers) until a clear sense ofthree-dimensional depth has been achieved, generally with inky darks, intense midtones,and bright lights. This process can be very time consuming, especially if you are notusing siccatives, but it produces a striking effect that is immediately noticeable whencomparing Flemish oil paintings to other work of the period.6.The final stages would be used primarily for detail work and to apply thin scumbles ofopaque color mixed with white where needed over lighter areas of glazed color. Again,sand between coats. It is possible that some fine details were applied with egg tempera,worked into wet oil paint. This development of detail would continue until a very highdegree of finish was obtained.this guy leaves the gray layer or the Dead layer out conpleatly but thats ok we can do itany way thers no hard and fast rules on how you go about doing this so if you want to dothe gray layer do it if not drive right in to the colors its your alls callegg tempra is egg yoke with pigments added to it it was what the uesd befor they hadoil paints i dont ues it and most modurn artist dont but there are a few out there you donthave to falow that stepyou alwas paint fat ofer lean in oils so the amout of medeam you will ues increses witheach layer so that by the time you get to the color layer it sould be vary thin and inkyconsisinces so how much you start with is your chousei think the wet sanding is a vary anal retentive step ad you can forget that just try topaint smothly if you can no globs of paint untill you get to the last layers then you can dowhat is caled Inposto were the white final tuches are mad thikly to add a dimetion butforget the sanding unless you just have to do it and its invalvs the ues of wet sandingpaper you get from a hard ware store you dip it in water and sand the serface slitly to get

  • rid of the high spots and i do mean just a few pases you dont want to sand threw thelayers of paint just knock them back a bitsiccatives are drying agents like Liquen ther are many just ues Liquen its modern andsafe for oils its mad by winser and newtonscumbaling is when you take a filbert or round brush and ues it on its side back andforth in a scumbaling mostion that side to side not pushing and puling dose that makesenso i forgot balsam is a type of wax that comes form balsam plants the commin name forthis plant is Stocks they are vary pretty flowers i grow them in the garden for there sentvary powerfully sented if you want to ues waxes in your paints go to your local qualityart store and ask them they will know what you can get by the way your art matiral dealercan help you alot with the right stuff they have most stuff or can recomend were to get it idont start off with on line ordering your not exspireanced enough to get the right stuff onyour own unless you get help and i havint found the on line stuff any cheeper ones youpay shiping and the help you get at your local art store is worth the 10 or 20cents you aregoing to pay to get the stuff in the first place dont you all thinkthe picture you start with is up to you and your skill as well as tanasity at tacaling projectsi my self some times find pictures i think i my not have the skill to paint but i often savethouse for later i never discard