MaterialsProduct InfoTechnique

Star of the Dance

This article continues the exploration of various techniques used by Samuel Shelton.

In this small portrait, 9×12, I used the following earth colors. Nicosia Green, Red Iron Hematite, Ercolano Red, Orange Ocher, Brazilian Violet, Roman Black Earth, and Treehouse White. When painting with ancient colors I take into account that they tend to be thicker, but also not as opaque as modern colors. The particle size is a lot larger in these pigments and when dry on the canvas they have a tooth to them almost like a fine sandpaper. This portrait was done with a direct method but in two passes. The first was heavy and the second I used a glaze by rubbing walnut gel onto the whole surface in order to lubricate it and bring back the sunken areas. Into this wet surface  I used the same ancient earth colors to glaze the final product. 

Small Portrait

In the following painting, Star of the Dance, I used the following colors but mulled them myself from raw pigment in walnut oil:  Nicosia Green, Red Iron Hematite, Ercolano Red, Orange Ocher, Brazilian Violet, Roman Black Earth, and Treehouse White. 

I started the painting with a raw umber and white underpainting on an umber toned ground. After this I rubbed each section I was going to paint with walnut oil to create a glaze. Into this wet surface I painted a local color glaze letting the underpainting shine through and then immediately added thicker color particularly in the lights, but also selectively in the darks. Brazilian Violet is a great shadow color for glazing over an underpainting. Also the use of just walnut oil as my glaze medium proved to provide a very soft look in the final analysis. I also cut each color in half with impasto medium which added to the soft luminous look. This is so far my favorite process to painting. It produces a glowing look to the painting that is unachievable with a direct method of painting. One glaze will do it so long as you add more paint into the glaze which results in more opaque lights and transparent shadows. 

Star of the Dance 1
Star of the Dance 2