STOP PRESS ! Tina is exhibiting at The Mall Galleries, London in August and will also be delivering a 2 day workshop this summer called ‘The Art of Portrait Drawing’, at the RBSA, Birmingham. Contact Tina through the links below if you need further information.
Wednesday was our final demonstration for this year’s programme. Tina decided it would provide an opportunity to show us an example of the Verdaccio technique using oils.
Verdaccio is an Italian term used for the greenish (or blue tinted) tonal under-paintings common to early Renaissance art. Using complimentary tonal colours to replicate the model’s skin as an under-painting and then building up the colours in layers creates a more balanced and more harmonious colour to the portrait, which develops a life-like ‘glow’.
Tina started with a ‘grid’ drawing of the model, working on oil paper which she then primed with a clear coat of gesso (this will stop the pencil from smudging).
Mixing together some tonal values from her limited palette of Ivory Black, Titanium White, Sap Green, Burnt Umber and Yellow Ochre, Tina set to work reproducing what she could see from her reference photograph. This method required blending the tones together as she went along. It is so important to get the tones right, ready for the colour glazes to follow.
With this method Tina uses Roberson Matt Glaze Medium and Sansodor Low Odour Solvent mixed together in a little pot. Generally this tonal layer will be dry the next day.
Once dry Tina went back into the work using a glaze of sap green to darken the shadows even more and checked carefully what needed to be changed or enhanced.
With the tonal layer completed you can then start to use colour. The model was fair skinned and so the palette chosen for the flesh hues was Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow, Cadmium Red, Permanent Rose and Cobalt Violet. For the glazes Tina used short flat brushes. Using a glazing medium mentioned above means that the thin layers dry quickly.
Make sure that you are matching your colour values to your tone values for success, in this technique.
Just when you think you have learnt everything possible from Tina’s demonstrations you find there is still more to discover and for me this was possibly my favourite demonstration of them all. The glow of the skin obtained using this method was incredible – the old masters knew what they were doing for sure!!
Thank you so much Tina for all you have done over the ’Covid’ months. We are looking forward now to a possible return to normality and hopefully life drawing will be back ‘in the flesh’. Further news on this to follow in due course.