A Modern Approach to a Traditional Technique Continued (Using Direct Color)

For the leaves in this painting I have decided to apply color directly onto the white ground.  This will create rich, fully saturated color, which I thought would contrast nicely with the more neutral flesh tones. I will end up doing a great deal of glazing here as well.  The white ground will reflect through the thin veils of paint to create an ambient light.  This method was used by Jan Van Eyck, a fifteenth century painter credited with the invention of oil painting.  Upon viewing his work some six centuries later, one can truly appreciate his mastery of color.  Within his small scale paintings, there always seems to be an infusion of light.  A light that is crisp (unlike the diffused light of Vermeer, Rembrandt and other great masters) which intensifies the detail of his subjects.

Below I have created a list of the colors used for each leaf.  Because each leaf has a different display of colors it will call upon different color mixtures. I applied the color in the same manner as I did with the portrait, by mapping out the shadow shapes first with translucent layers.  I was cautious not to make my mixtures too dark.  I am not using any white in this phase, so to lighten the saturation or value of a color, I brushed it out transparently and let the ground reflect through.  This approach will keep the colors clean without modifying the strength of the pigment.  The colors I used are produced by Robert Doak, except for the ones that are noted in parenthesis.

1.   Viridian Green, Yellow Ochre, and Cadmium Yellow Light.

2.  Viridian Green, Transparent Red Oxide, Raw Umber, Alizarin Orange (Williamsburg) and Baroque Red.

3.  Transparent Red Oxide, Scheveningen Red (Old Holland) and General Rose Madder.

direct color blog 4

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