Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Creating a Caravaggio - The Painting Stage

The first step in the painting stage is called dead colouring. In this stage, each element of the painting receives a coat of opaque paint. One colour for the part in light and one colour for the part in shadow. This is the overall average colour of an area that sets up the big relationships between all the parts. It is this big relationship that carries the painting and guides the addition of later details. Notice for example, in the image below, how the flesh colour of the head and hands is both darker and redder than the flesh of the torso.
The medium used here is one part linseed oil to three parts damar varnish.

Next, in the first painting stage, we focus on creating the illusion of form with colour. This is the stage in which all the variations are placed into the simplified earlier stage. The look should be one of a mosaic of colour with little or no blending. The medium used is one part linseed oil to two parts damar varnish.

Finally, in the second painting stage, the colours are replaced and attention is payed to the subtlety of blending. The goal is to recreate in paint all the various textures. The medium is one part linseed oil to one part damar varnish.

Once the painting has dried take a look at the overall effect. Some parts may need repainting. Often a simple glaze or tone of color will achieve the desired look- either darkening some part or softening an edge here and there.

Make sure you wait six months to a year to apply the final varnish.

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