Old masters

It’s been a while since I last updated my art blog and you may be wondering why. Well I’ve been back at school learning a new technique (well old technique) called verdaccio. The best way to learn a technique is often to copy an existing painting, so I chose a still life to copy by a Dutch Old Master (Willen Claeszoon Heda).

Still life, retake on an old master[Click thumbnail for a larger image]

Its quite a time consuming process, which starts by doing an initial underpating in gesso and ink. A further tonal underpainting in oils (grey/green) goes on top. After the two layers of underpainting, the colours are put on in a series of translucent glazes. The key to using this technique is to get the underpainting really accurate. As you might imagine I went through a range of emotions with this painting – sometimes I loved it and other times I really detested it! However, once I got onto the colour layers I really started to enjoy the verdaccio technique and the depth you can create using the colour layers.

Anyway, have a look and see how you think I did with this technique. I’ve also started a second painting in a bit to try and master verdaccio. This time I’m copying a Caravaggio, his painting of St Catherine to be precise. I love the drama of light and dark that Caravaggio uses to realise his figures, even if the subject matter isn’t entirely my cup of tea. That said, I think its going to be fun to see how close I can get. Also if I remember, I’ll be taking a photo at each step so you can see how the technique is developed.


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