I have decided to tackle a portion of a Caravaggio painting to better understand his technique. "Judith Beheading Holofernes" is the painting I chose, and I am going to focus on the head of Judith. There are a few theories as to how Caravaggio was able to stage and create his dynamic images, but for now I want to focus on the paint application. Maybe another time I will attempt his full technique, because I think he used the camera lucida, but I haven't had a chance to try it out.
I am painting over an existing piece that never really went anywhere. It has a lot of Mars Black on it, which I do not intend to use as my black for this piece. I will be using Ivory Black. The Mars is VERY blue. What I have learned thus far is:
Caravaggio's "drawing" is superb in this painting. The face is extremely well rendered.
His use of reflected light is beautiful.
The attention to detail is very interesting, and carefully observed.
I know he painted with glazes after establishing his form and lights - and that is what I'm doing too.
I keep putting down a fairly strong white (with a touch of yellow ochre, burnt sienna and cad red) and glazing over it. It seems I am getting a decent likeness of paint, but because I do not have an underpainting - or even a decent ground, I am getting a semi-dull color. It is tricky to get the warm tones to shine through working off the Mars Black.... I know he painted off a warm ground.
I have a new show opening as part of the 3rd Annual TEN SPOT show at the Lichtenstein. 10 artists were invited to show work.
I recently re-worked the ol' painting Balance Rock- and decided to include it in the show.
I had originally planned to include figurative works as well, but when they were installed, it just didn't gel with the rest of the show.
I had been working on new pieces called "The Golden Hour" and was excited to get a few of them into the show instead.
Here comes the show.
I've been working on this for over a month now. 40+ pieces. This show will contain work spanning the past 4 years. Many have been in storage or taken off their stretchers and rolled up, never to be seen again. It will be hung Salon Style - meaning wall to wall - floor to ceiling - with only a few inches between each piece.
Most have been dusted off, put back on the easel, and asked: "will you be in my show? Yes or No." The No votes get a second question: "Is there something I can fix?" If this answer is "Yes" - it goes back on the easel for a makeover or touch up. Sometimes completely painting over the entire image, other times adding the elements I wish I had added, or fixing passages that never came out right in the first place.
Re-painting can be destructive - but the philosophy is this - It was destined to be in storage anyway, so why not try to make it beautiful. It can not get any worse than it already was. and besides. I am confident enough in my abilities that I can resuscitate any dead canvas. and if it doesn't come out? It was No anyway.