Category Archives: The Mixed Technique

Paintings executed in a combined technique of egg tempera and oil. An underpainting is developed in egg tempera usually over an underdrawing in india ink or silverpoint. Then a series of painting sessions occur by working a resinous glaze into the surface and wiping it off. This still tacky surface receives a full development of semi-transparent egg-emulsified paint, working wet-in-wet. Because the resinous glaze is very thin and the egg tempered paint is very lean it is possible to build up a richly varied paint-surface through repeated layers. This is an “indirect painting” technique.

A Piece of Me, #12. The mixed technique over collage. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in

A Piece of Me #12, the mixed technique

I’ve finally reached the last in this series of panels using the mixed technique. This last one, like the one previous to it, was a landscape composition containing elements of background, middle ground and foreground. In this case, the foreground and middle ground were figurative elements: the foreground was a quarter slice of my face; the middle ground contained a number of figures, four distinct ones and miscellaneous body-parts of two others. (Geez, this sounds like a post-mortem.)

A Piece of Me #12, egg tempera over india ink on collaged substrate.

A Piece of Me #12, egg tempera over india ink on collaged substrate.

A Piece of Me, #12. The mixed technique over collage. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in

A Piece of Me, #12. The mixed technique over collage. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in

So I was interested to render these elements carefully in terms of hue and value. For example, the lady in the centre of the middle-ground had on a very pink shirt in the original photograph. I toned it down because I didn’t want it to attract too much attention. However since I’m strongly lit, wearing a black shirt with an oatmeal coloured coat I wasn’t too worried about the foreground. Only the challenge to render it well. In the end I’m pretty pleased with the result and of course, the underpainting, underdrawing and collage all play a formative role.

Full description of the whole project here.

A Piece of Me #02, the mixed technique. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #02, the mixed technique

After a long, partially self-imposed, partially corona-virus imposed hiatus (no, I was not sick, just stuck for awhile on Gilligan’s Island) – I have finally been able to return to the drawing board in my Bruges studio. Hooray!!!

This then, is one of the last panels executed in the mixed technique. The composition for this and the final one (still yet to come) are both challenging and interesting at the same time. They contain elements of a traditional landscape layout, that is, foreground, middle-ground and background. For me, as a painter, that primarily means I want to control both my chromatic and value contrasts: the foreground can contain the warmest hues and the strongest values; while the middle ground less so and the background even less.

A Piece of Me #02, the mixed technique. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #02, the mixed technique. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

Actually, I rendered each of these elements separately, then balanced then up at the end. The man with the cap in the foreground came last. The figure in the centre (I call him Joe Biden), was  a quick fix, following the architectural background, which also happened relatively quickly (due to the work up of my previous layers). My interest has always been in having each panel function on its own as well as having the capacity to integrate itself into the finally completed whole. Due to their landscape elements these panels should be able to do both rather well? So, of course, I’m looking forward to putting it all together at the end!

Unfortunately, I do not have photographs of earlier work up versions of this panel. I guess I was too excited to get back to work so I forgot to do that. My apologies, I’ll try to rectify that in the future. Full description of the whole project here.

 

A piece of me #27. the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #27, the mixed technique

A piece of me #27, the egg tempera underpainting.

A piece of me #27, the egg tempera underpainting.

A piece of me #27. the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #27. the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

This panel represented a few challenges mostly due to the very dark shadow of the man’s gray/black pants leg. It’s a strong element, front-and-center, commanding attention. So I wanted to represent it accurately, but also I wanted to depict enough other dark accents surrounding it to encourage the circulation of light (or lack thereof). The ring and the shadow of my linen coat work rather well for that. But is it enough? The shadow is strong and also uniform. So I still may try to introduce some scumbled detail into those deepest leg-shadows after this level dries.

However, that is or will be complicated by another, technical complication. After I had started laying in some very dark gray pigment into the medium/glaze (in the pants leg), I found that the paint dried almost immediately (!) – too quickly to manipulate. In painter’s parlance this is called “sinking in”. This happens when the ground is too absorbent. In this case, I think the absorbency was caused by the combination of the linen fabric that I had glued onto the HDF panel as part of my substrate preparation as well as the siccative nature of the particular pigment (Payne’s Gray) that I had used in that area. “Sinking in” is remedied by a localized treatment of retouch varnish, which I applied before reworking that area yesterday. Though improved, when this area thoroughly dries I still may try to supply more balancing nuance (the scumble mentioned above). However, I am not dissatisfied with the result. I think the treatment of the linen jacket, the tile work upper left, the plaster wall lower left as well as the ringed fingers are delicious. So these are the comments of the-always-critical-chef.

BTW: sorry for the glare – that’s only in the photograph – not the image.

Full description of the whole project here.

A piece of me, #17, the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #17, the mixed technique

A piece of me, #17, the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me, #17, the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me, #17, the egg tempera underpainting over the india ink underdrawing.

A piece of me, #17, the egg tempera underpainting over the india ink underdrawing.

This panel was pure painter’s delight. Took me about an hour to do. My challenge: how to make a field of dark green with some slight shadowed undulations interesting

So I mixed up five shades from the deepest shadows to the highest highlights and set to work. And though I did use some lead white for the tints, I was also careful to make use of the white of the gesso substrate, too. This was done by using a fan shaped dry brush to brush the pigmented paint into its neighbor. When the manipulation was vigorous enough the dry brush tended to reveal the substrate – which made the whole panel more luminous. Finding light in the shadows. And relative to the composition, I was careful to introduce whatever hard lines it offered as a counterpoint to the amorphous fields of green. This is the result.

The whole is already more three dimensional than its underpainting. I’ll take it.Full description of the whole project here.

A piece of me, #52, the mixed technique over collage on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #52, the mixed technique

A piece of me #52, egg tempera over collage

A piece of me #52, egg tempera over collage

A piece of me, #52, the mixed technique over collage on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me, #52, the mixed technique over collage on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

One of the most interesting aspects of this particular collaged panel was my pants cuff. It projects a few millimeters from the rest of the composition (!). Really. During the oil level, I found that balancing the warm whites of my pants, socks and the plastered wall with my skin tone was all made possible by the value adjustments inherent to the composition (and the judicious use of a warm-gray pigment from the tube). BTW: I prefer my grays warm and I don’t mix them on the palette. It’s too difficult to consistently achieve an elusive neutrality (which may not exist anyway). Full description of the whole project here.

A piece of me #22, the mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #22, the mixed technique

A piece of me #22, the egg tempera underpainting over pastiglia

A piece of me #22, the egg tempera underpainting over pastiglia

A piece of me #22, the mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #22, the mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

This panel was executed over a pre-prepared lightly sculpted pastiglia. On the pastiglia level I tried to create the effect of folds of clothing: the bends of my linen jacket and the flowing shirt of the lady standing behind me to the right. Unfortunately, due to my method of creating the pastiglia, a number of pinholes appeared in the gesso of the linen jacket. The oil was able to hide some, but otherwise it’s not an ideal situation, kinds like acne, you learn to live with the scars. The light jacquard pattern of the lady’s blue blouse was a nice surprise for me as I began to work on the enlarged image. Fun to render! Full description of the whole project here.

A piece of me #37, the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #37, the mixed technique

A piece of me #37, egg tempera underpainting on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #37, egg tempera underpainting on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #37, the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #37, the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

Just finished this one yesterday. I was trying to create enough difference between my off-white linen pants and my oatmeal colored linen jacket. As you can see in the underpainting on the right there was little differentiation between the two. An additional challenge occurred with my knuckles upper left. I had done the underpainting (again, see right) in terra verte (green) so turning that into living flesh always presents its own challenge. All in all I was very pleased with the way the panel turned out, especially with my linen jacket. Very touchy-feely. That’s the aim. Full description of the whole project here.

A piece of me #07, the mixed technique over linen on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm. or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #07, the mixed technique

I completed this mixed technique panel this morning in about an hour and one half. It forms part of the larger mixed media project described here.

A piece of me #07, the egg tempera underpainting

A piece of me #07, the egg tempera underpainting

A piece of me #07, the mixed technique over linen on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm. or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #07, the mixed technique over linen on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm. or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

I think it’s one of the most beautiful ones yet. There’s a lovely range of values with a simplified yet harmonious contrast of hues (the warm yellow-orange fields tend to push the warm gray shadows towards their complement). The architectural details provide a graphical contrast of curves, lines and larger open fields. Since it is (or will be) a panel that fits into the far background of the greater composition, I tried to be careful to not make the shadowed elements too dark. (Of course, when the final painting is assembled some adjustments can be made, if necessary)

A piece of me #42, the mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #42, the mixed technique

Fifth in the mixed technique series of the larger mixed media project. An abstract wall composition with a fan shaped shadow on the right side. When I prepared this with pastiglia I sculpted it using a painting knife, as I imagined how a plaster wall might feel. The shadow was not sculpted to look or feel differently because after all, its just a shadow.

A piece of me #42, egg tempera underpainting

A piece of me #42, egg tempera underpainting

A piece of me #42, the mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #42, the mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

On the right the egg tempera underpainting. On the left the final after one working session in oil.

A piece of me #62, mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #62, the mixed technique

Fourth in the mixed technique series of the larger mixed media project. (You can read more about the mixed technique but clicking the category link on the right.) It’s consistently amazing to me how quickly these images come together – but only because I have spent months preparing the earlier layers. So this is a sustained argument for the power, saturation and luminosity attainable through an indirect technique.

A piece of me #62, mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #62, mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #62, egg tempera underpainting.

A piece of me #62, egg tempera underpainting.

This particular panel was fun because it was lightly sculpted using pastiglia and because compositionally it contained the top edge of one of my shoes. That created not only a different texture but also a stronger warmer hue inn addition to a set of stronger values. Here on the right then is an image of the egg tempera underpainting and the left the final achieved through one layer of oil.