Being back from London I can now summarize my learning process. Overall it was a great experience learning to paint with oils. The tutor was very good and I had the feeling, that I’ve learnt a lot.
On the first day we did the sight-sized drawing and toned the canvas with raw umber and solvent. Please see the last post for details.
On the second day we transferred the drawing onto the canvas:
We used tracing paper and laid it onto the drawing where we traced the lines. On the back of the paper we drew the lines with charcoal. Then we laid it onto the canvas and with a hard pen drew the lines onto the canvas.
This is the drawing transferred to the canvas.
The tutor made a simplified colour wheel to show us the complimentary colours. So if the painting is too red, we should add green to neutralise the colour.
In general faces seem to be yellow on the skull/forehead. Rosy or red on the cheeks and green under the mouth.
The colours we used were:
Ivory black, ultramarine blue (which I never really used because the ivory black has blue shades in it), raw umber, cadmium red, yellow ochre and titanium white. A more translucent white would be zinc white and the best white would be lead white, which is very toxic. In a later stage we added titanium yellow and alizarin crimson to the palette.
The general rule of oil painting is fat over lean. So we should use more solvent in the beginning. I’m not a fan of solvents so I used the pure oil colours most of the time.
1) Sansodor solvent
2) 50/50 oil/linseed oil
3) more oil
Transparent colours are for shadows or dark areas, opaque colours are for light areas.
We painted alla prima and wet into wet. When the paint becomes tacky we could add medium. The best way is to mix the right colour on the palette. But this is very hard so there are not many artists who can achieve this.
The most important part at the beginning stages is to simplify forms. The hair has one tone, the forehead, the side plane and the eye sockets as well as mouth and ears. Five mixes should be enough for the first parts of the face.
Light parts: mix white with yellow ochre. Hold it onto the model on your palette knife to see if the colour fits. Then we could add very few red drops to the mix. If it’s too yellow we should add more white. But we had to be aware that white “kills” colour.
1) put down midtone
2) put down shadow areas
5) Lips and so on
Midtone and lighter colours.
The painting in more detail. I will do another picture of it after a few weeks when it is more dry.