Tag Archives: terre verte underpainting for flesh tones

A Piece of Me#36, egg tempera over collage on panel.

A Piece of Me #36, egg tempera

A Piece of Me#36, egg tempera over collage on panel.

A Piece of Me#36, egg tempera over collage on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

This panel was challenging in three particular ways, first, the flesh tones. Here I decided to follow the Renaissance protocol of underpainting the hand in the upper right corner in terre verte (earth green). It’s a lightly saturated, translucent pigment, so I laid in two coats (over the underdrawing), then proceeded to warm it up through modeling. It took quite a few washes to bring life back from the dead but in the end you get a flesh tone containing many nuances you might otherwise struggle to achieve.

The second challenge was “imposing” the original design over the pre-collaged surface. Of course, the collage was based on the original design, but due to the coarseness of the collage materials, it’s by no means exact. So I had to look carefully at the panel and decide what to emphasize and what to ignore.

Which led me to the third challenge, how to create a three-dimensional modeling of my leg in a way that works for this panel as well as the final image, i.e., where is the thrust? Because in a general sense, an abstract painting is a form depicting either the essence of form or formlessness itself. So, each panel I create can (at least theoretically) be successful as an abstract painting in its own right. But from my experience of this approach, particularly with the human figure as the overall subject matter, the resulting assemblage may be quite interesting (in a tactile sense) while the figure (as a three dimensional form) reads flat. That’s why I’m trying to pay attention to overall formal aspects like that now.

You can read a description of the full project here. A technical write up of the lessons learned about egg tempera in this series of panels here.