Master Study – Robert Campin

I decided that I need to do more studying with the old masters…to start I am going to try painting one by Robert Campin:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ARCampin.jpg (link opens in a new window)

I have a nice hi-resolution picture of the original painting, which I cropped so I can just focus on the face. I especially love the way he did the eyes.

I’m painting this on 8×10 wood panel in oils and will use a monochromatic “dead layer” underpainting to start. I will then glaze color over it and do additional work on the shadows and highlights at that point too.

This is after 1 hour of painting and a few hours of drawing:

 

Robert Campin study WIP 05-20-2012

Robert Campin study WIP 05-20-2012

I sketched this freehand on the panel but divided the panel into 4 sections, then did the same to my photo to give me a little assistance in making it more accurate to the original.

This underpainting is all in raw umber and titanium white…I did my usual method before that of going over the drawing in sepia Sharpie pen then putting an imprimatura wash of yellow and black mixed acrylic over the drawing. This time I also used an eraser to get rid of most of the pencil before putting the acrylic on.

Here’s what it looked like drawn on the panel and then inked with the imprimatura, almost ready to start painting:

Robert Campin study drawing and imprimatura

Robert Campin study drawing and imprimatura

 

Sketch after Ridolfo Ghirlandaio

I’ve really been drawing a lot but most of the stuff is pretty quick or for whatever reason I haven’t been posting the stuff here. Here’s one I did last night though, I spent about an hour doing this sketch from a photo of a really amazing painting by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio. This is about 3×4 inches and it’s Col-Erase pencils on a greyish paper. I really like being able to add highlights onto a drawing…my primary medium is oil paint and it’s so flexible! I usually feel pretty limited when I am drawing instead of painting…

Anyway, here’s the sketch:

After Ridolfo Ghirlandaio

After Ridolfo Ghirlandaio

Conté drawing of the Virgin Mary after Leonardo da Vinci

I just recently started messing with Conté crayons and tried drawing this Leonardo piece a few times. This one is 8 x 10 inches, conté crayons on lightly textured paper:

The Virgin Mary in conte crayons, after Leonardo da Vinci

The Virgin Mary in conte crayons, after Leonardo da Vinci

I like using Conté! It’s not as messy as I first thought, and I think it’s really well-suited to these classical-style drawings. Being able to add highlights is important to me, and is something that I miss when drawing with pencil. I also like being able to blend with my fingers and re-work areas many times. On the drawing above I toned the paper first with sanguine Conté and blended it with a paper towel.I’ve found that I need to work in a larger scale than I normally do, and that the paper texture really matters. I definitely plan on doing a lot more with these and am happy I have a new medium to play around with :)

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).

Greuze study update 3 and 4

I think this is almost done, but I’m not sure. I might decide to make some fairly major changes, I am still debating.

Greuze White Hat study work in progress

Greuze White Hat study work in progress

*Update 02-14-10: I did decide to make some big changes, and altered the nose, mouth, and other stuff. Here’s the current stage of the painting, maybe it’s really almost done this time:

White Hat study - work in progress 02-13-10

White Hat study - work in progress 02-13-10

White Hat after Greuze – update 2

Still working on my Greuze study, The White Hat. Here’s where I am after tonight’s session:

White Hat WIP 12-29-09

White Hat WIP 12-29-09

This is the biggest painting I have done so far, but it’s still only 16×20 inches. Maybe I am fairly close to wrapping this one up? This has progressed pretty speedily…I think I have spent about 12 hours on this, not counting the drawing part.

The White Hat – after Jean-Baptiste Greuze, work in progress

Although I haven’t been posting much lately I am indeed still working on stuff…most of it is not ready to be shown to the public yet though. I have been doing a lot of drawings and stuff, especially figures and faces.
Here is another master study that I drew a while ago and finally transferred to canvas and started painting. Click for a bigger version, it’s easier to see once it’s bigger. You can see the pen drawing on canvas with the first imprimatura paint layer. I have also started to paint in the background and the oval ‘frame’ around the portrait.
The White Hat, after Jean-Baptiste Greuze - work in progress

The White Hat, after Jean-Baptiste Greuze - work in progress

This is 16×20 inches and is oil on canvas. It’s based on a painting usually referred to as The White Hat by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, originally painted in 1780.

Petrus Christus study completed – Portrait of a Young Lady

I finished my Petrus Christus master study. This painting is usually referred to as “Portrait of a Young Lady” or “Portrait of a Girl”, etc. His version was painted c. 1470.

Here’s my version, completed and in a nice frame. Portrait of a Young Lady, Airn LeBus after Petrus Christus, 11×14 inches, oil on panel, 2009:

Portrait of a Young Lady

Portrait of a Young Lady, Airn LeBus after Petrus Christus, 11x14 inches, oil on panel, 2009.

My version differs from the original in many ways, mostly on purpose with a couple things unintentional :)

Here’s the original: Petrus painting at wikimedia

I wasn’t looking to copy the original painting exactly and did my own thing on stuff like the background, eyes, highlights, and overall tone. Also, because the original is very cracked and small I had difficulty seeing how some parts looked. The necklace and decorative metalwork of the hennin hat look a lot different than his.

Petrus Christus study - detail

Petrus Christus study - detail

I painted this with oil on panel, and used a “dead layer” underpainting in raw umber first for the face and body. After I was satisfied with the way it looked, I started glazing flesh tones over the dead layer, very thin, with bleached linseed oil and just a small amount of paint.

The main colors I used in this painting were mars black, raw umber, burnt sienna and burnt umber, vermilion (hue), yellow ochre, and titanium white.

I wanted to do the text inscription after looking at some paintings by Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein the Younger. That part on my painting was pretty painstaking to execute and plan; it was the most complicated text I have painted so far. I did it over 4 or 5 sessions, getting the overall lettering correct first and letting it dry before embellishing it, and putting the raw umber drop shadows last when the rest was dry to avoid smearing what I had already done. I lightly oiled out the area each time before starting a new session.

Here’s a photo without the frame, you can see the detail of the inscription and stuff better:

Petrus Christus study without the frame

Petrus Christus study without the frame

One of my favorite things about this painting is that her gaze really follows you around the room. Anywhere you are, if you glance towards the painting she is looking right at you. It’s a little creepy :)

I spent about 45 hours painting this. The drawing took an additional 6 hours or so. A lot of the painting time was spent painting and repainting the metalwork and trying to figure out how to do that and the necklace. I spent at least 3 times longer on the necklace and maybe 6 times longer on the hat metalwork than I would have if I had known exactly how to proceed. So as always, this was a learning process…that was one of the primary reasons I did this painting in the first place, so I guess it worked out :)

I have two other posts about this painting, to see them look at the master study category.

Petrus Christus, Cleopatra, and Medusa

My framed Petrus Christus study next to my Cleopatra drawing (after Michelangelo). The cool Medusa statue was purchased at Michael’s craft store last Halloween :)

Petrus Christus study, Cleopatra, and Medusa

Petrus Christus study, Cleopatra, and Medusa

Wot I am working on right now

Many of my current interests are strewn around my computer so I took a snapshot to show wot I am working on besides my 2 Alice paintings and a Falero study which are not pictured. I have been drawing every day from this Andrew Loomis book “Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth” which is really awesome. I have also started a study of Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s “The White Hat”. Anyway see the picture, I even labeled the sections…you can tell I have too much time on my hands :)

wot i am workin on

wot i am workin on

Oh, FYI those paintings are all on wood panel and are drying face-down leaning on this plastic thing, I guess I should have turned them around for this picture…anyway you can see them in previous and upcoming posts. I am going to post the finished Petrus Christus study and Graveyard Girl painting in a few days.