PAGE 4: Painting a Copy of Jan Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring"

Using Oil Glazing Technique and a Grisaille (Monochromatic Gray) Underpainting

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In this image, the second glaze layer is being applied over the dried first glaze. This glaze is also composed of cadmium red medium and yellow ochre. I am making this layer a bit more strongly colored than the first glaze by diluting it with less of the glazing medium. It is beginning to impart more color to the shadowed areas of the nose, and cheek (the chin and neck have not been covered yet, and still show the color achieved by the first glaze that was applied in the prior steps).

Again, the light areas must be brought back out by working white paint into the glaze. The aspect of traditional glazing recipes that is unique is the manner in which their natural, resinous ingredients continue to accept paint even as the glaze is tacking up and drying. Paint applied to this partially drying glaze forms the basis of the "scumbling" technique used in Northern Europe during this time. Even as the glaze is tacking up, paint that is thinly applied in a dry brush technque tends to melt off of the paint brush and absorb into the sticky glaze. Modern synthetic glazing mediums do not have this quality, and in my opinion they should be avoided.

This image shows the white paint being blended into the glaze layer. The lightest area is to the left side of the forehead, with this lightness feathering out into the slightly darker side of the forehead on the right.

This image shows how the light areas have been brought up to a rather high key, bright state. It is best to err a bit on the bright side when it comes to emphasizing the highlights, in order for subsequent glazes to not obscure the brightness of these highlighted areas. The sense of brightness can always be reduced later, by glazing accordingly, but if you lose the sense of brightness early on, it is quite hard, if not impossible, to bring it back.

A little of the brightness of the whites of the eyes is also being brought back out by painting into the wet glaze.

The white paint applications have been smoothed out a bit in this image, and a second glaze of red is also added to the lips.

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Copyright 2008 Thomas Penrose