I chose, for my second painting, one of Waterhouse's Ophelias (he did three).

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This setup is a Camera Lucida, described by D Hockney in his book (follow link).

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When you look in the hole you see the image in front of you projected onto the surface below (there is a prism inside).  Here is a whole report on this objecthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMRpmqeKg-g I bought mine at http://camera-obscura-lucida-shop.com/

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When you look through the hole, you can see your hand also. This is the sketch I made following the outlines. Hockney claims that Ingres, David, and artists back until 1530 knew of these techniques but kept them secret. The camera lucidas were widely sold in the 19th century. Here is the drawing on the canvas. This allows you to make the reproduction without worrying about proportion.

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At the art class. The teacher said to fill in the background (around Ophelia) with "juice", semi transparent paint (so you can still make out the drawing, and give some basis over which to work out the details. This filling in took the rest of the class. I spent the first half hour showing the camera lucida to the teacher and the 2 other students. This teacher had introduced me to the Hockney book, but she had never seen a camera lucida.

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She loved the camera, and did a portrait of me (not shown) in about 2 minutes. I left my apparatus with her in lieu of partial payment for my next lessons, and ordered a new one when I got home. Filling in, following the outline of the dress which will be white.

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This "juice" does have some texture: I was mixing Sienna (a yellowish), Ultramarine (blue), and Burnt Umber (a reddish color).

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This fantail brush makes line fuzzy and allows you blend in different sections. Irene gave me a few for Christmas.With cross strokes (hatch strokes) the lines disappear though the areas are not uniform and retain some interest.

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The background is a dark forest (with a stream hardly visible).

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I added in some burnt something or other to make things darker.

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Then made some of the trees even darker. End of first class (8pm to 10:30 pm).

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2nd session, didnt get much done. Found the background harder to do than I expected, felt like I had no idea what I was doing. It is hard to concentrate at the end of the workday. Saturday mornings are better.

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3rd session, a saturday morning spent on the background.

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I spent the saturday morning doing the background forest (right hand side), I learned that you have to paint in the dark paint, as if you were painting real trees.

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The little white line is the stream that Ophelia will drown herself in.

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3rd lesson, a saturday morning.

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4th lesson, an evening.

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Comparison so far.

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Fifth session on this painting. got to do the face, more interesting than the background .

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the teacher says this will be the first layer.

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how it should look. Still a long way to go.

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may 18, dabbing on flowers in the fields.

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started on the scattered bouquet in her lap.

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added some of the daisies and the plant in front of her legs

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May 25, 2011; Almost done, added in a lot of flowers. Used glacis to darken the background, redden the foreground.

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Some wild carrots, and scattered flowers on her lap.

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Frustrating saturday afternoon. I had hoped to finish the painting but spent the two hours just working on the hair and face, without feeling that I have finished even that part. This is the BEFORE.

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AFTER. after two hours.

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Final version (before applying varnish in October).

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Back home after being lacquered.

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Final product

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

GREGORY GREFENSTETTE

Painter Portraitist Artist