I've gotten myself into weeks of something totally foreign to my aesthics! The Venetian Technique is Photographic Realism. After one class, I know one semester will not yield one finished painting. The Venetian Technique--translated to this week, in this decade, in this century-- is highly dependent on photographic skills--which I have a few, but not on the level required to get a high definition reference photograph suitable for the course. I do not own extensive Photoshop software. My camera is nice, but not over-the-top. I'm sitting here the day after class one, hovered over my owner's manual and surfing digital photographic information online--like What's ISO? What's" White Balance? How many pixels in high definition resolution? My homework is to come up with a subject I won't mind spending weeks or months painting and a reference photo of it that's as sharp and clear as they come.
|What better reference for a monochromatic|
underpainting than a black and white?
Having not taken Digital Photography and barely understanding my camera's menu. All I can do is fool around with various simple subjects till I get a photo that will allow me to take it through the steps of the Venetian Technique. They are very easy--actually the Venetian technique strickes me as more of a method or just a way to start a highly realistic painting.
1. Take a high definition photograph of a subject you love so much, you will be glad to spend months painting it. I do love my shoes, but I think that's too complicated. I need a subject that I can set up to photograph with a dark background and one light source.
Last night, I thought my crystal decanters might be interesting to work on for a period of time. So I washed them (it's been ages since the last time), put together a still life set, mounted the camera to a tripod and clicked away. Then...
2. transferred the photos to computer, cropped, enhanced and blew up in proportion to the canvas I bought--24 x 26" (small compared to my classmates'). Then rejected it. it was too complicated, as you can see. If it hadn't been, I could have proceeded:
3. Draw a grid over the photograph. When I've done this before, I put the photo in a cellophane sleeve and drew the grid on that--that is if I cared about the photo--if I didn't, I drew the grid directly on the photograph. Incidently, while Richard Schmid favors alla prima or the direct method, the Venetian Technique is an indirect method. These are two techniques are total opposites. (I'm hoping I will find a way to combine the two. The decanters would be that kind of subject).
4. Using a 2 or 3H sharp pencil, draw a proportionate grid on the canvas.
5. Carefully do detailed contour drawing on the canvas. It's important to be accurate and light handed with the pencil--says me who is heavy handed and impatient.
6. When the pencil contour is finished, go over the lines with a fluid oil paint in a dark color with a number 1 sable pointer. Burnt Umbra and Ultramarine are the darkest paints on the required palette.
7. When the drawing is completely dry, tone the canvas in preparation for the monochromatic underpainting.
8. Totally finish the underpainting so it could stand on its own if you didn't care to go further--which I may not.
|White Fountain, oil, Todd Burroughs|
I saw one portrait, but the artist was a real beginner. I don't understand why the canvases have to be so large. Having a practical nature, I think 16 x 20, 18 x 24 would be fine for people new to this method, but Todd said working larger makes it easier. Could be? But not after class and having to tote the large wet painting through the building and the parking lot. I was surprised the association didn't have the drying facilities that the colleges do.
So on with my quest for a simple, sharp photographic composition for my first endeavor. The crystal decanters are way too involved. They look to be a full years work. Todd's beautiful White Fountain took him eight months--and he knew what he was doing.
ALSO OF INTEREST: the return students had Kinko blowups of their photographs the size of architectural plans. Then they also had sections blown up so they could see every detail down to the twig on a tree. They all seemed sane, but I'll need some proof before bringing anyone home. What have I gotten myself into?