PAGE 7: 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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This closeup shows some of the texture of the stretched linen canvas and the paint applications. There is a still a need to unify some of these colors with further glaze applications. One of the characteristics of the grisaille underpainting is the manner in which the gray tones showing through slightly from underneath can add a pleasing cool tone to the shadow areas.

Although the face is still in need of more work, the rest of the painting needs to be brought to a higher level of completion so that the final coloration of the face is executed more accurately than otherwise could if it was still surrounded by a gray underpainting. In this case, a heavy uniform glaze of cadmium yellow is applied to the turban. Notice that the shadow areas of this area are still showing through the yellow as a gray color. Again, this illustrates the need to bring out the true color in these shaded areas, which will be done in subsequent steps.

A uniform glaze of cadmium red, yellow ochre, and raw umber is applied to the face, creating a more unified appearance, but also flattening out the light areas a bit too much.

White is carefully and sparingly scumbled into this wet glaze, to bring out the highlights a bit.

The whites of the eyes are also modelled. Remember that eyeballs are spherical, and must be modelled accordingly, to convey their round form. The whites of eyes cannot be painted by simply applying a uniform white application of paint. Remember that nothing can convey a sense of three dimensional form if it is not modelled to some degree. Otherwise it will simply look flat.

Some more carefully applied scumbled paint, to emphasize the lights.

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Copyright 2008 Thomas Penrose