Classical Portrait Study with Oil

Classical Portrait Study with Oil on 12″ x 16″ Linen Panel by Artist V.W.

I previously shared a portrait study I was working on. Here are some more details to that. I was surprised to learn how much red is in this painting. I am always done with this one, and although it is not exact, I am okay with it because I have learned so much. I plan to do more of these in the future.

Here are some of the steps: Drawing and “Dead Coloring Stage”

www.vanessawithun.com

Why Do I Train in Classical Art?

In a world dominated by galleries representing contemporary styles in art, it is an overwhelming decision to know where to begin when it comes to selecting an artistic style. The truth is I am equally inspired by artist like Jean-Michel Basquiat as I am by artists like Rembrandt and Monet. I think there is room for all kinds of artistic expressions because art represents a unique voice and a statement. People paint for different reasons and in different ways. My first encounter with art was actually from my relatives who painted in a more “contemporary” form. One was a graphic artist/designer, and the other is a graffiti artist. Notice I put quotes on the term “contemporary.” The truth is, any art done recently is in fact contemporary. I decided to call myself a Contemporary Realist because I am influenced by many styles of art and have integrated them into my work. In fact, I am inspired by art from many cultures.

My art will never look like those done in the Renaissance or those painted in another time period. However, I have chosen to train in the Classical Realist style. The reason for this is because I was always drawn to strong shapes and contrast in art. I also love the challenge. I know when I copy older drawings and paintings, I am pushing myself to learn from them. I love structure in painting, but I am also drawn to representational art that tells a story. I love chiaroscuro used by painters like Velazquez and Caravaggio and I am excited by the challenge of depicting the movement of light. I also love Classical Greek Literature and philosophy, which have inspired me to look at art and beauty differently.

When I first began my artistic journey, I was attracted to Representational art, specifically to the more Classical style, which is classified as Western art. I studied from several people who painted from life and in a more traditional way. There are quite a few painters today that have embarked in this journey, however, very few I know are Black or Afro-Latina. Although I enjoy this style for my own personal reasons, I know that there is power in who I am and who I represent. I don’t want anyone to ever say to me that the color of my skin, gender, or any other socially constructed identifier prevents me from painting a certain way and pushes me to paint in any other way. We are only free when we can paint how and what we want regardless of who we are.

This painting was acquired by the Pompano Beach’s Cultural Arts Division for its permanent collection.

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Classical Painting “Woman with Pearls” 18″ x 14″ Clayboard

I’ve always been interested in classical painting and the “old master’s techniques.” Aside from the usual landscape paintings, I wanted to take a moment to think about my own perspective on the recent protests going on in relation to the murder of George Floyd. As a woman of color, or Afro-Latina, I think it is important that we share in the beauty of all colors and race. As an artist I want to take control of the narrative in which people of color have been portrayed by others by making people of color the center of beauty.

www.vanessawithun.com

My Version/Study of Rembrandt’s Portrait

After eight days of study, beginning with a charcoal drawing, a Verdaccio underpainting, and finally adding color, I am happy to say that this is complete. I could have gone in with more details but I chose to leave it as. The medium used was a mix of Venetian turpentine, damar varnish, and linseed oil. I learned so much using this process and will be doing this again in the future. I am curious to see how this old master’s technique and medium may be applied to a landscape painting. I guess I will find out soon!

rembrant painted complet July 14 2017 watermark

Finished painting….

 

 

Here are some progress pics:

rembrandt drawing 3.jpg

Charcoal underpainting and beginning of the Verdaccio painting….

Rembrant painting in progress.jpgHere I used many colors to create the illusion of natural flesh. The same color in the background was used in the face.

 

Work in Progress… Charcoal Underpainting (Study)

Rembrant drawing 2

This is an underpainting done with charcoal. I will painting over this in verdaccio, which is done using a combination of grays, greens, and brown color. It is a technique used in classical paintings. This is my rendition of a self-portrait by Rembrandt. I will be finalizing the details this weekend before painting this. This is the first time I have gone this detailed on a drawing before painting.