22 October 2010

Inspired by Rembrandt van Rijn

Portrait of Tom van Watts 2010, 20 x 16, oil on linen
Today's post shows the second of 2 paintings from the Rembrandt master study class. This portrait was inspired by Rembrandt's methods and incorporates his very limited palette.  I laid the painting in from life, then finished it from a photo.  The painting took about 25 hours to complete.  The model (a Watts student named Tom) wore 17th century Dutch attire made by our instructor, Meadow Gist. He grew his beard out for the job...very authentic.

Not sure I was true to Rembrandt's methods, but I stuck with the limited palette of yellow ochre, cad red light, alizarin crimson and burnt sienna, plus black and white, and used only bristle brushes.  I kept this Rembrandt self-portrait close by for inspiration.  I modified the head tilt and length of the model's neck, lightened the feather, and pushed the color notes in the face to energize the flesh tones, something Rembrandt would have done. However, I used a detailed underpainting (shown below), something Rembrandt would not have done. Since I prefer painting wet-into-wet, I stored the painting in a freezer between sessions to slow drying, and used clove oil on my palette.


An added note:  For personal reasons, it's been a few months since I posted.  For most of that time I wasn't doing anything art-related.  Oddly, that 6-week break improved my painting somehow.  Must have done some mental processing during that break that helped me move forward.  Good to know that we don't always have to be deliberately doing something to improve. Our subconscious is part of the learning process, too.