Words from The Oracle

Words from The Oracle - The phoenix can only fly when its feathers are grown

Delphic Sibyl

A study of the Delphic Sibyl, after Michelangelo.  Work in Progress -


Colour - Flesh tones the fourth layer
Posted 3rd March 2013
The painting today!



Bronze glazes added.
That's her looking much more tanned.
Texture has also been added to her skin  and highlights added to her hair.
The original Delphic Sibyl is a red head and she's starting to get there.



Colour - Flesh tones the third layer
Posted 27th March 2011

Orange glazes added.
That's her looking quite tanned. She'll get more and more tanned as the warm glazes are added. Then less tanned when the cool tones and highlights go on.
Fleck have also been added to her eyes which will sit in the middle of the glazes when she's complete.

Yellow glazes added.












Colour - Flesh tones the second layer
Posted 18th March 2011
 Delphic Sibyl,  Michelangelo. An oil painting study of the Delphic Sibyl, after Michelangelo by artist The Oracle EJHamilton.E J Hamilton.Hamilton. Edinburgh.Scotland.
Contemporary Renaissance, Classical Realist.Daily painter.Professional.Classical painting techniques. Master.Masterworks.Guide.Charcoal sketch.Oil sketch.Underpainting.Grisaille.Monochrome.Verdaccio.Dead layer.Colour theory.Composition. Hue.Purity.Value.Colour warmth.Complementary. Gallery.Exhibition.Most beautiful woman.Youthful.Female.Enchanting. Legendary figure.prophecies.Apollo.Delpho.Sistine chapel.Vatican.Ceiling.Flowing material.Dress.Cloak.Headdress.Bare feet.Scroll.Prophetic Scroll. Gazes into the future.Angels.Genii.ignudi.Cherubs.WIP Work in progress at 2nd layer of colour glazing. Close up of face.
I took a quick snap so you can see the start of the shading glazes on her face.
You should really leave 6 weeks between layers to give the painting maximum longevity. So I have time to paint mini studies while waiting for the latest layer to dry.
I became a little nervous when attempting the layers on her face so painted 'a study of a girl' to practice a little before starting on the Delphic. This gave me the confidence I needed to start.

Glazing is amazing!
Photos don't capture what it does. Since the layers of glazes are transparent, light is refracted as it passes through each one individually, hits the underpainting and bounces refracting back again. It causes the painting to glow and have richness and depth of  colour the likes of which I have never created before. I have only added 3 layers of glazes to her eyes, how pleased will I be when the 20th glaze is applied!


A study of the Delphic Sibyl, after Michelangelo. Step by Step.

Colour - Flesh tones the first layer
Work in progress at 1st layer of colour glazing. Skin tone on arm and hand.

Colour - The fourth layer
Each layer of colour that is applied defines the end colour.

Once you spend a great deal of time studying the original Delphic Sibyl you realise that the colours are completely different than you thought at first.

Something that you originally thought was blue is in fact purple, something you thought was green is yellow or orange.

As you build the layers one by one, from highlights down to the deepest darkest glazes you start to have an understanding of why these paintings glow.

The shadows are usually built up from a contrasting colour, so the shadows in the green top are shades of red and the shadows in the orange lining of her cloak are purple.

One of the reasons I chose this painting to study was due to my lack of understanding as to how the colours in her clothes worked together when they really shouldn't.

Now I understand why it all works.


Colour - The third layer
The colours in the painting have now started to glow.
Work in progress at 3rd layer of colour glazing. Full painting of fabric of headdress, dress and cloak.

Colour - The second layer
Work in progress at 2nd layer of colour glazing. Close up of fabric of dress and cloak.
Work in progress at 2nd layer of colour glazing. Close up of fabric of headdress and cloak.

Colour - The first layer
The original Delphic Sibyl was probably touched up between 1710-1713 and has been stripped of many layers of top glazes during the intense cleaning which took place in 1980's.
The original, original, would have been richer with more depth than the image we see today.
Some of the other paintings which have been restored in the Sistine Chapel , have quite obviously been taken back to their 'first layer' so this needed to be taken into consideration. The base colour in the first layer can be profoundly different to the end colour.
Work in progress at 1st layer of colour glazing. Close up of fabric of dress and cloak.
Work in progress at 1st layer of colour glazing. Stage two of top.Work in progress at 1st layer of colour glazing. Stage one of top.

Work in progress at 1st layer of colour glazing. Headdress with bright initial colour applied.

Underpainting - The Dead layer
A light layer raw umber and yellow ochre was added to the Grisaille layer. This layer was applied in a very subtle manner which is only fully evident in evening light.
Work in progress at Dead Layer underpainting stage, also known as Verdaccio. Showing close up of top section of painting .
Work in progress at Dead Layer underpainting stage, also known as Verdaccio. Showing close up of face. Hand holding a paintbrush included in the photograph to confirm scale.


Underpainting - The Grisaille layer
Underpainting is a vital part of this type of painting. 
Work in progress at Grisaille underpainting stage, also known as monochrome. Showing full painting.The underpainting defines the colour values which will be added later. There are many different types of underpainting.


After studying the paintings produced by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel I decided that Verdaccio was widely used (mix of black white and yellow), with good use of raw umber and yellow ochre for characters who are shadowed .
I also saw evidence of Grisaille underpainting (grey) on the most detailed figures.

I came to the conclusion that a combination of underpainting techniques can be used by an artist on a single painting. I chose to use the Grisaille monochrome method for the Delphic Sibyl as it can produce the finest details under flesh tones.
Work in progress at Grisaille underpainting stage, also known as monochrome. Showing close up of top section of painting.
Work in progress at Grisaille underpainting stage, also known as monochrome. Showing close up of top section of painting with arm completed.
Work in progress at Grisaille underpainting stage, also known as monochrome. Showing full painting with bottom section completed.

















The sketch complete

Work in progress at sketch stage. Showing full canvas.






I smudged her eye right at the beginning, so the sketch makes her look like she's had no sleep or been thumped!


I didn't need to correct it at this point as it was just a charcoal base.










The original sketch on canvas
The canvas is taller than I am!
Work in progress at sketch stage. Showing full canvas with half of sketch completed.



I started with a little sketch of how I wanted the painting to sit on the canvas.
I then gridded up the canvas so that the figures sat in the same position as my sketch.

You can't use graphite pencil for the base sketch as that would bleed through to the top layer of oil. I used 3 shades of charcoal, black, grey and white.









How this all started
Posted 16th March 2011

Michelangelo copied the work of Giotto at the age of 14.
At the age of 16 I copied ink drawings of ABC warriors from 2000AD.

When you have artistic blood and all of your talent lies in your finger tips, it’s difficult to pinpoint which aspect of art you should concentrate.
How do you pick one?
For the past 20 years I simply couldn’t.

I have now finally tried the one I have been avoiding from the start…Oil painting.
Why did I avoid oil painting?
Because I am an absolute perfectionist, and I couldn’t face the idea that potentially, I wouldn’t be any good at it.

It’s difficult being an artist.
People moan that contemporary art is no longer ‘fine’.
I don’t want to create artwork that is over intellectualised, requiring analysis.

An apprentice would have spent years copying his master.
Today it is all too easy to become Jack of all trades and master of none.

Since I started painting, work is nearly always a torture.
I know that great artists suffer; the reward of suffering being experience, but I had no idea that painting would make me so aware of my lack of longevity.
It’s hard to imagine I’m likely to master anything, after spending all day at the office.

So….as there are no longer old masters with whom I could apprentice, I have to do the best that I can studying the masters work at night, and hope to get at least one thing done a day.

I started ‘a study of the Delphic Sibyl’ a while ago and I haven’t really been able to give her the time she needs.

I am therefore starting this blog to encourage me to keep progressing.

Elena
xxX

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi El

Fantastic work. Really interesting
to read about your style of painting. Can't wait to see more.

Love Mum x x

Anonymous said...

Hi El

The style and colour of the clothing reminds of Tamara de Lempicka in particular her paintings "Jeune Fille Vert" & "The Musician".
It does also have a look of Lucian Freuds picture of his first wife.

The cherub at the back looks a bit John Blanche.

Of course they will have been influenced by the original.

I'm impressed. Hope to see more in the future.

Love
Your Brother

Anonymous said...

Love the colour of the fabric and the way it seems to have proper weight... Looking forward to the finished product.

Great stuff keep it going.

Anonymous said...

She's going to be beautiful. I like that you are studying the original but it has your style, not just a copy.

Anonymous said...

I have searched sooo long for your blog, finally found it, after googling your name :) and I can tell you I am not disappointed! Miss you lots love your cousin :) .... give my love to Dax and Andy x