Building an Image

The first glazing layers on Thomas Touching the Side of Christ

figure of Nicodemus from Thomas Touching the Side of Christ

After years of working on the underpainting, this autumn has seen the first  color appear on my painting of Christ and Thomas with all of the disciples gathered in a room together.  I am taking a lot of cues for the colors in this painting from Rogier Van Der Weyden’s famous Descent from the Cross in Madrid’s Prado museum.   

Thomas’ robe in process

It is a clunky and halting phase of the process, trying to use the appropriate colors, and the right medium, and the right balance of medium to paint ratio.  I’ve had to rub out hours of work at a time, when I’ve come back the next morning to realize the color isn’t working.  

You can see the uneven blotchiness in Nicodemus robe.  This will be resolved with subsequent glazed layers.  

It is tempting to render the layer to a finished state, even though I know there will be subsequent layers.  It is foolish to carry detail too far just yet, and it is difficult to leave certain problems alone until a more appropriate time.  I caught myself over-rendering the blue of Nicodemus’ robe and had to stop myself midway through.

The darkness of the grayscale layer underneath determines a good part of the value of the glazed colors

Glazing takes advantage of the semi-transparent nature of many pigments when mixed with linseed oil as a binder.  By building up multiple thin layers of paint, it is possible to achieve unique and special color and luminosity in a picture, especially in the correct light. 

various mediums, and their component parts on the pallet.
Thomas’ garment is a mix of Alizarin Crimson, Quinachradone Red, Burnt Sienna, and Cobalt Green.

This painting is a huge learning experience.  They didn’t teach this sort of thing in art school while I was there, so I am having to work through a lot of discovery and failure, even while taking advantage of the many written treatises on painting throughout the centuries.

The relationship of the blue and yellow is particularly nice

4 thoughts on “Building an Image

    1. Thank you, Karen. It is done with oil paint, with linseed oil as the primary binder- although sometimes safflower oil is used, or even walnut oil as well. I certainly anticipate using purple!

  1. Jack,

    I recently wrote a book (“Jonathan Edwards, Beauty and Younger Evangelicals) and the publisher is currently designing the cover. Would you allow us to consider using the Jacob Wrestling the Angel art? It captures the younger evangelical wrestling and beauty so well.

    It is a small press and you can see their other publications here: (https://www.jesociety.org/ )

    I hope all is well with your family and work.

    Blessings – Adam

    Adam Boyd 828.669.8766 http://www.merri-mac.com http://www.camptimberlake.com http://www.blackmountainexpeditions.com Our 73rd summer of camping

    >

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