Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ter Borch: Part 2

End of day one













I started the actual painting of  "The Suitor's Visit" on January 5 and began by applying the base colors and aiming for relative values.  I tried to keep in mind as I was painting that I was going to be glazing some areas darker than others.  It seemed to me at that time that keeping things light was probably the safest way to go.  You can see from the photo after the first day that colors are pale compared to the original and you can see a lot of brush strokes.



End of day two

This week I started by working on the background and trying to get the right values as well as putting in a little more detail and correcting the drawing on the top of the fireplace to the right.  The wall in the background is actually wallpapered and has quite a bit of intricate detail that was testing my patience.  I found that I probably should have been more careful with my brushwork in the first stage since it was difficult to cover them up with the glazes.  Or it could be that I needed to use less glazing medium and more paint!

It's interesting to note that with every painting I understand a little more about myself.  It became evident quite early that I am very impatient and not too fond of detail. The glazing process is really a struggle since it requires planning ahead and working in stages and there are a lot of tiny details in this painting  that are really challenging.


  1. P.S.  Since we are not allowed to copy a painting at the original size, I've cropped mine, as you can see from the photo, so that it's 2 inches smaller in each direction.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ter Borch: Part 1

Toning the canvas















In preparation for my painting day on Wednesday, I stretched an oil-primed linen canvas and painted a ground of burnt sienna and raw umber.  This is a color that was often used by the masters as an underpainting. I can't quite tell what ter Borch used so I'm hoping this is close. 

"Gridding up" to size

The next step was to enlarge the image and transfer it to my canvas.  I did this by drawing a grid over a photo that I downloaded from the internet, then drawing another larger grid to size on a sheet of tracing paper.  (Kids, I had to use algebra to do this!) Then I drew the image freehand using the grid as a guide.


Transferring to canvas

I rubbed the back of the tracing with charcoal, placed it on the canvas, and used a drawing stump to press the image onto the canvas.  This had to be done very carefully to avoid creasing the canvas with too much pressure.





After the charcoal was transferred, I drew over it with burnt sienna and raw umber to fix the drawing.

Welcome to my blog!

With the start of the New Year, I have decided to begin a journal of my progress as an artist.  I'm hoping that writing a blog will allow me to share my painting techniques and growth as an artist with anyone who is interested.  And now is a great time to begin since I will be starting to copy Gerard ter Borch's painting, "The Suitor's Visit," on Wednesdays at the National Gallery.  I chose this painting because of Ter Borch's mastery of glazing techniques. Blake Gopnick recently compared him to Vermeer.  (He's good, but not that good!)  Hopefully, some of his mastery will rub off on me!

So if I can figure out how to work all the intricacies of this blogging stuff, I'll be posting regularly.  Stay tuned....

"The Suitor's Visit"