Saturday, April 04, 2009

Anna Q Nilsson 2

Back to painting Anna Q Nilsson today and a second underpainting layer. There are many ways of oil painting, and painting in lots of delicate layers is often seen by the invariably snooty people who do it as the best way of painting. It's really one of the easiest ways to paint.

The best portrait I have yet painted was my self portrait which was done in three prefect layers; a plain green imprimatura (wash) to tone the canvas; a perfectly accurate and smooth greyscale underpainting; then a highly transparent glaze layer. It's no surprise that this came out so well because I had a good source image; me! That's rare for the way I paint because I'm limited by the artistry; if an idea calls for a windmill I must paint one even if it means making my own model.

This portrait is an acceptable likeness and unusual in that the source image is very blurred; something that painters of the past didn't need to worry about!! The only feasible option is to paint the picture blurred too. Trying to sharpen up imaginary lines is impossible. The whole task is not easy, but that's why it's rewarding to try.

This picture is for a local show and purely an example of my portrait painting, so I'm free to experiment. I've decided to limit my palette to black, white, yellow ochre, and burnt sienna just for fun.

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