Thursday, March 10, 2016

Steps in the Production of a Painting Video

I just started playing around with some new video software and have put together some videos on the painting process, mostly aimed at helping my students.

Here is one on the steps in the production of a painting:

Here is  "Big Form Modelling a Bouguereau".

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Painter and the City

Antonio Amandeu Conceicao Cruz was born in Porto and lived there his entire life. He took as his subject matter his hometown and spent a lifetime chasing the wet and mysterious light, characteristics of Porto.

In 1956 the great Portuguese director Manuoel de Oliveira produced the film "O Pintor e a Cidade". A beautiful silent film alternating scenes of the painter, the city and the artwork.
A simple love letter to one of my favourite cities.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Interview about Sacred Art

The Kolbe times recently interviewed me about my role in the Sacred Art program at St. Mary's College in Calgary, Canada.
A New Renaissance:The Sacred Arts
More information on St. Mary's Sacred Art program

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Great Statement about Beauty

Dr. Elizabeth Lev is one of my favourite art historians. An American based out of Rome, she speaks about art history with one foot thoroughly planted in the theology of the Catholic Church.
She recently did a TEDtalk about the Sistine Chapel in which she describes it as, "..a great statement about how beauty truly can speak to us all, through time and through geographic space."

If you enjoyed that there are longer talks about the Sistine Chapel and more on youtube:

Dr. Lev's website.

I also recommend her book, "A Body for Glory" which looks at the representation of the human body through art history through the lens of Pope John Paul's "Theology of the Body".

Friday, December 11, 2015

Off the Coast Podcast - A Conversation with Daniel Gamelas

Daniel Gamelas is a Portuguese sculptor based in Porto, Portugal whose work focuses on  pre- Roman Iberian culture. Daniel has founded the first traditional art academy in Portugal, AARP.

Daniel's Website:

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Method of Caravaggio - Part 3 - The Overpainting

As we have seen, Caravaggio developed a system of painting that allowed him to be extremely efficient in the period before his death.

 The wash drawing is executed to a high degree of finish. The flesh is under painted with white and drapery is painted directly. Then, when dry, the overpainting of the flesh is started.

Caravaggio's basic palette included lead white, red and yellow ocher, lead-tin yellow, vermilion (cinnbar), malachite, carbon black and earth colors, plus madder lake and copper resinate glazes. 
I use a variation of a palette  invented by John Angel and used at the Angel Academy.  I have tried many different palettes and this one is perfect for copying Caravaggio.
 From left to right: Lead white, Zecchi roman ochre, Zecchi vermillion, Old Holland persian red, Old Holland red umber, Michael Harding burnt umber, Michael Harding raw umber, Old Holland green umber and ivory black.

The painting is then finished piecemeal. The colours are painted thin but opaque and then blended to a finish.

Copy by workshop student Jacqui Butterworth.

Below is a video of the workshop demo on the application of the overpainting:

For more info on the Methods of Caravaggio workshop :

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Method of Caravaggio - Step Two - Underpainting the Lights

When studying late Caravaggio paintings,  one gets an idea of his working method in this period.

He is working very efficiently, leaving the mid-tone ground to act as shadows and thinner application of umber to describe darker tones while the lights are painted with few colours.

In the Martrydom of St. Ursula, notice the flesh in the figure of St. Ursula, on the right. It is painted with an opaque white which is pulled thinner as the form moves away from the light. This gives us an idea of his underpainting process.

Continuing on from the last blog entry, once the wash drawing has dried, the lights are rendered using a white. Caravaggio would have used a lead white but titanium works as well. If using titanium, add in a little bit of calcium carbonate to give the paint some body, opacity and to help it dry a little faster. Where the flesh is lightest, the paint is applied thickly. As the flesh darkens the paint is pulled thinner, resulting in the illusion of the three dimensional form.

Here is an explanation of the process, filmed during the workshop at Angel Academy.

Once this has dried the flesh is painted using a limited palette. The next blog entry will describe this process.