My version of ‘The White Hat’ by Jean-Baptiste Greuze is complete

Phew, I have finally finished my version of a Jean-Baptiste Greuze painting, “The White Hat”. I started this way back in June of 2009, and finished it in late February 2010. This is oil on canvas.

The White Hat - after Greuze

The White Hat - after Greuze, by Airn LeBus. Oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, 2010.

The White Hat - after Greuze (detail)

The White Hat - after Greuze (detail)

I’m not sure if there was an issue with my original drawing or if something happened whilst painting, but I started to realize the facial features were really out of place and spent the last several sessions altering and moving things around, even completely painting over an eye that had been nearly finished. It was difficult but I’m glad I changed it because it looks much better now.

I used a direct technique, no underpainting…the paint is pretty thin, and very matte/non-glossy at this point (I might oil it out and/or varnish it later). If I were to do another painting in this vein, I might try painting more thickly, and with more contrast between the darks and lights. I do like the soft feel this has though, I think it works with the subject matter and color scheme.

I had some difficulties with the source photo I used, it seemed inaccurate contrast-wise and was missing a lot of detail that I had to try and “make up” or guess. The hat and clothing and stuff was also kind of difficult to figure out from the photo, and I tried to do my own version of some of it but really at my skill level should have probably just stuck to what Greuze had done. In any case I am happy with the overall results and definitely learned a lot and have a nice painting to hang on my wall.

The total time I spent on painting only was about 24 hours, usually in 1.5-hour sessions. In addition to that there was the drawing, preparing the canvas, transferring the drawing, and stuff like trying to figure out how to fix the features when they were awry (which took a pretty good chunk of time).