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.

16 comments:

  1. Very nicely done, Candace, my fave palette combination, myself, (plus a dab of ultra at times ;-)
    xo

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  2. Fabulous work, as always! Not only is the portrait great, but that ruffle is outstanding!

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  3. Nice job, Hi Candance, thanks for your comments, sorry for the late responce, class started and its pretty busy. As to Cherlye, the model, she is a total fitness model, who is a broadway dancer. During the short pose session she did the whole routine from "Fosse and Chicago," amazing stuff, class was blown away. Hope I can get her back in studio, she is currently doing a one woman show. HB

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  4. magnificent! the portrait and that plume are beautiful!

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  5. Thanks all for your kind comments. I expect to paint a bit more loosely as time goes on, but these exercises are about modeling form and learning to use the medium, which, as you all know is a challenge. But I guess that's part of the fun.

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  6. Your last paragraph really struck a chord as I have been painting for the last six weeks but getting nowhere so a break would probably have been more beneficial.
    It's great to see your progress over the time I have been coming to your blog and I love this modern Rembrandt it really does have the feel of the old masters.

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  7. Great job Candace. I agree with Celese. That plume really works.

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  8. Your work always makes me believe that using the masters as a muse is worth the time and effort. I also have found that being away from the easel periodically somehow helps. I call it simmer time.

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  9. I most highly recommend Rollo May's book "The Courage to Create"....this concerns the time away from your art.

    My best from a colder NYC.

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  10. Hey, Gary and Celeste. I actually was dreading painting the plume, mostly because I thought it would be difficult to come up with something convincing. Turned out to be a lot of fun. You never can predict these things. I might be able to paint other challenging forms now, too (eg.a breaking wave, a horse's mane) based on the form of that plume. Thanks for your comments.

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  11. Deborah and Paul, Nice to get confirmation from artists I consider successful. I like the concept of "simmer time". Never underestimate the power of the subconscious mind, so important to creativity. I'm glad it's there :o)

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  12. Hey, John, Glad to see you posting around again. Thanks for the tip on "Courage to Create". I've been meaning to read it, but it slipped through the cracks. Best, C

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