Grisaille Underpainting of a Visionary Episode from Zechariah

I wanted to share a series of images showing the process of the making of an underpainting which I have been working on for the past few months. The image itself is an illustration of a vision of the biblical prophet Zechariah laid out in chapters 3 and 4 of the book of Zechariah in the Old Testament. It is a beautiful story of God’s grace and restoration, rich in symbolism and images. It is not very long and is certainly worth reading.

This grisaille is done in egg tempera on an oak panel, built from an oak that came down on my father’s farm in Greenwood county, was subsequently milled (quarter sawn) and air dried for 10 years. The panel has been cradled with walnut and ash to help keep it flat over time. The surface is a traditional gesso as describe out by the 14th century Florentine Cennino Cennini in his Il libro dell’arte. Once the grisaille is complete, I will start to paint layers of translucent colored oil glazes, hopefully to beautiful effect.

the original drawing
the cradle on the back of the panel.
the walnut stiles are “floating” to allow for seasonal expansion and contraction across the grain, held in place only by the ash rails
laying out the main geometry and locations of vanishing points
redrawing the image onto the panel
ready to start painting
part way through
detail of the upper center of the image, using artistic license, I have inferred the trinitarian presence from “the Angel of the Lord”
detail of Satan accusing the high priest Joshua
the little porcelain pallet I use for mixing
on the work table early in the morning
detail of Joshua receiving new garments
current state of the grisaille- nearly completed

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