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Old 04-15-2002, 06:20 PM   #1
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
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Attachment




I am going to try to post my attachment. Mike McCarty has been helping me with the technical aspects of this and I would have pulled out my hair without him by now. Thank you Mike. I think I did it.

Joan
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Old 04-15-2002, 07:29 PM   #2
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
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Underpainting attempt

This is my first attempt at an underpainting from Sargent's 'Lady Agnew'. I am hoping for some input before I go to the next step, which will be glazing with burnt umber and Liquin (unless somebody tells me otherwise . . . . ). I would appreciate any comments.

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Joan
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Old 04-16-2002, 12:37 PM   #3
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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Since this is a copy, it would be helpful if you posted the painting that you are copying from.

So far this looks OK, but could you post a larger detail of the face? On my screen I can't see any shading...it looks very flat. If your painting does indeed look like the posted picture...let us know and we'll go from there.

Underpaintings are supposed to be quite finished and detailed. At first glance, your values look OK....don't go any darker. Let's post some more pix here and then we'll go into more detail.

Cynthia: Could you move this whole thread to the Old Master Copies section?
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Old 04-16-2002, 02:45 PM   #4
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
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Sargent's 'Lady Agnew'

Here is a photo of what I'm copying.
Joan
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Old 04-16-2002, 02:56 PM   #5
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
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Close-up of underpainting

Thank you Karin for replying. I will attach a close up of the face. I can take criticism, it's the only way to learn.

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Joan
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Old 04-16-2002, 03:57 PM   #6
Peggy Baumgaertner Peggy Baumgaertner is offline
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Joan,

This is simply FYI, but Sargent worked alla prima, not with a grisaille and glazes. Lady Agnew is a masterpiece of virtuoso brush strokes. This doesn't mean that it is not possible to do a grisaille of this portrait, but it might be easier to copy a masterpiece that was painted in the style you are emulating.

I see in both this rendering and the painting I critiqued of your daughter Megan, that you are missing the shadow plane on the face. Your drawing is very good, but I see this flattening out of the face in both. It might be easier in the future to find a photograph, painting, or light a model from life where the shadow is very strong and very apparent to force yourself to see the planes of the head.

In fashion photography, the aim (seems to be....) to flatten out the planes and just show eyes, nostrils and mouth. The aim in portraiture is to show a three dimensional shape on a two dimensional surface, i.e., the planes of the head. Lady Agnew is front lighted, a very becoming and flattering lighting system, but there are still a more definite shadow shape on the right side of the nose and on the right side of the face, spilling over onto the neck and shoulder. This shadow shape is a middle value on the Sargent painting, and you've painted it as a light value.

Hope this helps.

Peggy
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Old 04-16-2002, 05:11 PM   #7
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
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Peggy,

Thank you for your reply. I do realize that I am timid with my shadows. In the painting of Megan when I tried to darken the shadows I remember getting greens. That was before I discovered this forum and I have learned a lot about color since then.

I remember taking an art class and I was drawing in charcoal. The instructor came by my easel and took a piece of charcoal and absolutely blackened the eye sockets, trying to make a point that I needed to get much darker. Then she walked away. I have never forgotten that, it was a class I was taking while living in Holland and it was in Dutch so I'm sure I missed a lot. Though there wasn't much instruction at all in the way of talking.

I will concentrate on making things look rounded, more 3 dimensional. It's funny, I thought I was doing that, but obviously not enough. I have taken some photos of my children with a single light source and have chosen the best ones to work with next.

Thank you for taking the time to critique this attempt and the painting of Megan!!!

Joan
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Old 04-16-2002, 06:13 PM   #8
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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I disagree. In many of the paintings of Sargent that I have seen, he does indeed use an underpainting technique. It is just that he has so darn much "frosting" that it is difficult to see - unless you know what you're looking at.

For this reason Sargent is not really a good one to learn underpainting on. But when you are just starting out is is good to paint something that you like a lot.

Anyhow, Joan, without going any darker or lighter in value on the face, you need to really paint this with more refined detail. The eyes especially need attention and the whole face and figure need to look as if it is carved from marble.

You might use a picture of the original painting without color (xerox, Photoshop print, etc.). But be sure to keep your value range quite narrow at this stage.

"Whites" will appear quite dark, and darks will be much lighter that what you see. See the other thread on "underpainting."
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Old 04-16-2002, 08:03 PM   #9
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
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idea Ah ha

I have read a lot on this forum about painting what one sees versus painting what one knows. I have painted from life in all my classes and just now have begun to paint from photographs. My instructor in Holland really turned her nose up at painting from photos. I have learned a lot since then!

As I was just thinking about values in painting, I am wondering if I should be painting the darks darker than I see them. I suppose that is probaby an impossible question to answer witout knowing what my reference material is. Hmmm, thought I would ask anyway.

I think I need to go to the museum and look for a poster of a better example to copy because, frustrated as I am, I am determined to learn how to paint using glazes.

Thanks,
Joan
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Old 04-16-2002, 09:23 PM   #10
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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Quote:
As I was just thinking about values in painting, I am wondering if I should be painting the darks darker than I see them.
NO - just the opposite. If you start out with dark dark areas there is no place to go....

By this I mean that if you are glazing color into shadow areas that are already dark, you end up with a really dark dead mud color at the end.

When you start out with the "dark" areas lighter than you intend them to be at the end....(we're talkin' relative here) there is plenty of "room" to add numerous glazes in pure color and thus deepen and enrich the final shadows without getting them too dark.

Attached is my underpainting copy of Mme. Ingres after an Ingres portrait. I never bothered to add color so you can see how I underpaint. Note that there are NO real darks here...and there are NO real lights here either.

Underpaintings are meant to be a very narrow range of values. In theorey, you are starting in the middle. You build light in the light areas and they get lighter. You also glaze and the shadows get darker and more luminous.

I hope that you are not thoroughly confused by now. A good artist to copy is Vermeer....I think that he teaches the clearest lesson.
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