In addition to painting from life, there is a method to applying pigment in the Carracci tradition. First one begins by painting a monochrome underpainting. Once completed, one glazes color pigments atop the underpainting. These glazes have a high amount of medium and/or vehicle relative to the amount of oil paint. It is important to understand the viscosity and opacity of different paints in order to apply even coats that make up the painting.
I am in the monochromatic underpainting stage of the process. I am painting a still life composed of a miniature Chinese clay soldier, a platter of fruit, a small pitcher, and a flower. A striped cloth is draped behind the composition.
I realize this blog post sounds more like an essay than a usual entry, but in order to keep current on what is happening in my Thursday painting classes one has to understand the background. In fact, this is an abridged version of my first class where my teacher, lets call him my maestro, explained his painting theory -only with bits of his life spliced in. If he can move on from the typewriter, he should write a blog! The University of Cliff Smith, that is what some of the veteran students call the class. Cliff is quite a character, and in our class over the art store he is able to teach fully in the Carracci tradition, free of the usual curriculum requirements of the colleges he also teaches at.
For fun, here is a look at some of the paintings I have done prior to this class.