French Ultramarine Blue
Cadmium Red Deep
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Yellow Light
Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose 502 (a transparent magenta)
Winsor & Newton Transparent Yellow 653
From left to right: 3/4" Loew Cornell Flat, #10 Loew Cornell Filbert, two #6 Lowe Cornell Filberts (one has a short handle, one has a long handle), #0 Loew Cornell Liner. I believe that is the extent of the brushes I used for this glazed painting.
I don't know the exact material of which each is made, but they are either sable, or some synthetic that is quite similar to sable. Most bristles are inclined to leave too many brush strokes for a procedure such as this, so I opt for the softer ones.
INFORMATION ON MEDIUM
The medium that I use is basically a Linseed Oil based medium, with three different mixtures: A "lean" for underpainting, a "medium" for the middle layers, and a "fat" for the final, topmost layers.
I have a list of these mixes typed up, and propped in the lid of my easel. I can't seem to remember the recipes from time to time when I do my mixing, so here are the recipes.:
LEAN: 5 parts Turpentine (or Oil of Spike)
1 part Damar Varnish (or Venice Turpentine)
1 part Stand Oil
MEDIUM: 2 parts Turpentine (or Oil of Spike)
2 parts Damar Varnish (or Venice Turpentine)
1 part Linseed Oil
FAT: 2 parts Turpentine (or Oil of Spike)
1 part Damar Varnish (or Venice Turpentine)
2 parts Sun Thickened Linseed Oil
For painting the grisaille underpainting, I would use the "lean" mixture, as it contains less Linseed Oil (the "fat" ingredient). For the middle layers, the "medium" mixture is appropriate, and for the final, topmost layers, the "fat" mixture is the best. But, please realize that although the "rule" is to paint "fat over lean", there is nothing wrong with painting "lean over lean" or "fat over fat". This keeps the drying of each layer compatible with each other. We don't want faster drying mediums on top of slower drying medium, as we try to avoid cracking of the upper layers.
Notice, that I have indicated either Turpentine or Oil of Spike (Lavender) for the recommended solvent. I use either. Actually, Oil of Spike is a more agressive solvent than Turpentine. It smells quite good, and if you want something that will "bite" into the previous layer a bit more than turpentine, this is certainly the solvent to use. Don't mistake it for Linseed Oil. Oil of Spike is not the replacement for Linseed! It is a solvent (similar to Turpentine),--not an "oil", even though it may be called such.
Many artists use Damar Varnish as the "resin" in the mix, and others believe it is a bad idea, mostly because of archival problems in yellowing, and the questionable inability remain intact when the coating of Damar Varnish needs to be removed for cleaning. I have used it for quite a few years, but I realize that it's a bit controversial. Lately, I've had very good experience in using Venice Turpentine. Though it's called "Turpentine", it behaves more like a resin (actually a balsam) than a solvent, and helps to aid adhesion between layers, as you glaze your painting. I don't know whether it gets a bad a "rap" from conservators as Damar Varnish does, but I am using it for this painting, and it has worked well for several others before it.
This is an 8" x 10" oil on canvas.
I began this painting by first making a sketch from a reference photo onto tracing paper the exact size of the canvas to be painted. I transferred the sketch to the white, acrylic-primed canvas by hinging the tracing paper sketch at the top of the canvas with tape, and placing transfer paper between the canvas and the tracing paper sketch, with its graphite coated side down, in contact with the canvas.
Using a ballpoint pen, I drew over the main lines on the sketch, to transfer the image to the canvas. For those of you who subscribe to the idea that graphite somehow "migrates" through layers of oil, or "strikes through" as is sometimes claimed, I guard against this questionable phenomenon by painting a thin coat of acrylic primer (Grumbacher 525 Arcylic Gesso) over the transferred image.
This thin acrylic layer allows the graphite image from the transfer paper to be visible enough for painting, while sealing it from the future oil paint layers which are often claimed to be so vulnerable to the impending "migration" of graphite. Thus far, I don't believe anyone has claimed that graphite exhibits that mysterious "striking through" characteristic through acrylic paint.
My underpainting is made by mixing Raw Umber with Ivory Black, 1 to 1. Enough white is added to create the various tones required.
With a palette knife, I mix my paint for the grisaille with Raw Umber and Ivory Black, using equal parts of each. I use the LEAN medium mixture in my palette cup, and dip my brush into it each time before picking up a bit on paint on the tip of my brush. I add enough white to create the tone values needed as I go, and I do this mixing by using my brush and picking up various quantities of the "dark" mix with the white, and mixing with the brush on the palette.
Except for the initial premixing of the Raw Umber and the Ivory Black, which I do with a palette knife, I don't premix any lighter tones; I simply mix white with the brush on the palette in the course of doing the grisaille underpainting.
This underpainting should be quite accurate in form, shape, and tone, as it becomes the true base structure upon which you will be adding your successive glazes. If it takes more than one sitting to achieve an accurate, smooth, detailed, grisaille underpainting, feel free to do that. There is absolutely no reason this underpainting has to be completed in one, or even two sessions.
GLAZING FIRST COLOR LAYER
In glazing my color layer, I first cover the surface of the underpainting with my painting medium--in this case, the MEDIUM mixture. I apply a thin coat of the medium, and then begin painting my colors into this coating of medium. I select my colors by the hues that I want , without considering the transparency or opacity of the paints, themselves. I apply the glaze layer of color so thin that the colors are virtually transparent (or at least, translucent) by virtue of being applied in such a thin coat.
Some artists seem to be concerned about this glazing tending to appear as a "hand tinted photograph". Well, I may be in the minority, but that's precisely the "look" I'm after when I do my beginning glazes.
Here is the result of the grisaille underpainting with a thin glaze of color painted over it:
GLAZING SECOND COLOR LAYER
The second layer of glaze is applied, just as the first, simply adding more color at each step.
My palette here consists of French Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Pthalo Blue, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow Light, and Flake White.
Once more, I apply the painting medium directly to the dried previous layer, and again paint into the medium with the fresh paint, applying it thinly. Keep brush strokes minimal. Smooth as you go.....blend. Plenty of time for impasto strokes in the upper layers, but not at this stage.
Here is the result of the second glaze layer:
GLAZING THIRD COLOR LAYER
For my third glaze layer, I add Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose 503 (a transparent magenta), to mix with my Pthalo Blue or my Prussian Blue for the plum color. This gives a clean purple. For the more shadowy parts of the plum, I mix Cadmium Red Deep with my Prussian Blue, as it is loaded with yellow, and the addition of yellow to purple creates neutral... (black).
The fabric background "green" is being created on each layer by mixing Prussian Blue with Cadmium Yellow Light. The dark shadows of the folds have Fr. Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber added to them.
Winsor & Newton Transparent Yellow 653 is being used for the light, yellow embellishments on the apples. This transparent yellow creates a bright yellow when mixed with white (in fact it HAS to be mixed with white for lighter colors, or it wouldn't look like much of anything.) The reds of the apples have so far been composed of various mixes of Cadmium Red Deep and Cad Red Light, with perhaps a bit of Cadmium Yellow Light here and there.
Old Holland Flake white is the white of choice in tinting many of these colors.
The process of glazing is always quite gratifying for me because each and every layer adds so much color, depth, and detail, while small corrections are capable of being made on each layer, quite easily. For example, on nearly every layer I'm modifying the outer shapes of the apples, somewhat.
Here is the result of my third glaze layer:
GLAZING FOURTH COLOR LAYER
Now, here is where I add a new color on my palette. I have realized while working up the first layers of glaze, that the "reds" of the apples are inevitably going to require that "ruby" appearance, at least in certain key areas. The Cad. Reds just didn't seem to be giving that to me--too "orangey" when done with the Cad Red Light, and too "dark and dirty" when done with the Cad Red Deep.
The color I added to my palette for the reds of the apples is Rose Madder. I haven't used it in a long time, but it seems to do the trick on this painting. This Rose Madder, by itself, or when mixed on the canvas into the other reds/yellows of the apples when painting into the medium worked very well in giving me the "apple red" for which I was striving.
I'm simply glazing colors over colors, very thinly, without giving any consideration to the opacity/transparency of the paints. It's the thin application that makes them transparent. Each layer seems to optically blend and meld with the layers beneath it, imparting a depth and detail that are quite fun to do. I am using a tiny brush for the detail in the apples. I think it's a "0" liner by Loew/Cornell.
As layers are added, certain areas become more opaque, such as highlights and lighter colors. This is fine; there are no rules stating that each layer must be totally transparent. The paint "builds" in its application and its opacity, as the more final layers are applied.
Here's the fourth layer of glazing that I've done on this painting:
GLAZING BACKGROUND LAYER
The entire background has received another glaze, as well as many parts of the apples and the plum, as well. This is the stage at which you begin applying your paint in a more opaque manner. and re-establishng shadows, highlights, and detail in the work. If a few "shapes" are not to your liking, this is the stage at which to modify them, and to thus increase your illusion of "realism". The depth of color and form (modeling/shape) keep building with each glaze layer.
As realistic as the plum may have appeared in the first or second layer of color, the continued building of glaze layers increases the richness many times over as these layers combine with the underlayers to give the illusion of a plum.
At this last stage, I don't deal with the painting medium in the same way as I did for the intermediate layers, in that I don't apply the medium directly to the dried surface of the painting; instead, I dip a small touch of medium out of my palette cup, and mix it into the paint that I intend to apply to the surface of the painting.
Notice, that as realistic as the plum has been appearing, I once again, did some small contrast changes and detail work. Much of this sort of glazing is nearly microscopic in its nature. The "secret", if there is one at this point, is to work very carefully and meticulously, being extremely careful to mix just the appropriate color on the palette, prior to applying it to the painting, and continue spreading it out thinly to the surface of the painting. The idea is to modify the existing painting slightly, while not making any drastic moves to its appearance. One of my goals was to achieve the "dusty" haze on the plum, as plums often appear when fresh from the grocery store before washing and polishing.
Although I primarily used Old Holland Flake White (lead + zinc) during the building of the layers, because it has more of a translucent appearance, and blends ealisly, I now am working with Permalba White (titanium + zinc), because it is more opaque in its nature, and works well for catchlights and to mix with other colors for soft, but opaque, tints.
While it may be nearly impossible to detect any changes in this last phase, you may note I worked a slight bit on the following areas: the plum, the apples, at random places, smoothing out the highlights, while also emphasizing a few highlights on some key areas of the fabric background.
I also signed it. I am quite pleased with the way that it turned out, using several layers of glazing. In checking my records, I found that this entire painting took me approximately 18 hours.
Thank you for following along with this process. It has been my profound pleasure to have received your interest and support on this glazing procedure.