On a photocopy of the painting, I drew 3cm squares. On this brown paper, I drew 4 cm squares are reproduced the original painting.

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On the back of the brown paper daring, we rub dry pigment. This is an ancient technique, used by artists to make fresco painting.

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see the drawing on one side, the pigment spread on the other side

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Then the drawing is placed onto the canvas, pigment against the canvas, and the original lines on the drawing are retraced.

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This lays downs a faint layer of pigment on the canvas.

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This is the traced portrait.

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We start with the background, because if you start with the pface, and then lay down a darker background, then the face may seem too pale.

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Elise took some pictures of me applying my first awkward brushstrokes.

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There, the outline is done. end of day 1.

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I begin with the hair. Black is produced by using some dark blue and brown.

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And then some timid face color. The idea is to get some neutral light color in the face and to work from that to produce skin tones. Skin tone is red ochre, white and natural sienna.

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Begin with an eye.

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The little cutout allows you to concentrate just on the eye. it is hard to see anything in the beginning, hard to see what to paint (I am still in the beginning).

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End of day 2.

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It's a girl looking better and better but not all that much like the original.

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Those aren't my fingernails. I asked my teacher for help with the nose, she immediately adds the strokes that are needed. I hate that, so I go over them and mess them up again since I am not sure what I am doing, though it seems evident when you see her do it.

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Saturday morning, 11 dec. It is easier to paint when rested. Worked on the comb. Still looks like she has a helmet on..

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Once again isolating the eye to see it better. This would be harder to do on a sitting model...

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Trying to get some color onto the nose. I hated noses, before beginning these lessons. Not so much now.

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A light trace of the where the necklace will go.

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The teacher said to trace lightly the line of the necklace, and that is was better to do this at a certain distance from the painting. It took me two tries.

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I like what I did with the necklace and dress, before I began today, I wondered "how am I possibly going to do this”.

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This saturday morning, I did finishing touches. I Finished this lacework around the top of the dress. It would help if I knew about lace.

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Elise told me to add glaze (a layer of translucent paint made from mixing color directly into the neutral binder (or vehicle)) to darken the face in certain areas. I am not sure what I am doing.

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Elise, my teacher, says with the glacis you can recover/repair a lot. She says that is the great thing about oil, it is forgiving, you can make a mistake, add a wrong color, and recover from it, whereas acrylic (or watercolor) is not forgiving. One interesting comment my teacher made to Luc, another elderly student, is that oil paint is a collection of little balls of pigment surrounded by oil. And you can see painting as moving the tiny balls from one space to another on the canvas. It helps.

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I am done with this painting. It is the best I can do, unless I let the teacher make the final touches. It took 12 sessions of 2 and a half hours each. It is fun, relaxing, bothersome, a little like golf, sometimes you think "I can play this game" and other days...

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Back home after being lacquered.

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Final product

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Final product

Click on a picture to expand and read the corresponding description.

Buy this copy here.

GREGORY GREFENSTETTE

Painter Portraitist Artist