I haven't posted in a while due to a very busy re-enactment season this summer. I've started paintings at shows....
So here below is a series of 'The Roman Potter' in progression. This is a Birthday present for a friend of mine a local museum curator who loves Roman History especially pottery and jewellery.
Finally the finished painting, all done in egg tempera of course!! A4 size 14.8 x 21cm.
I have come back to the 'Pallas Athena' painting I finished last summer because I wanted to add imitation gold leaf to the dress to enhance the overall feeling of the subject.
The photo above (top left) show the gold leaf sheets and the size used to stick the thin areas down. Bottom left photos shows the leaf trimmed and lined in, while the dress fringe on the right has yet to be done! It's not easy to capture the grandeur of the gold leaf effect in these photos, the same goes for the short video at the bottom of the post.
I added a lit candle to emerge between the separated curtains.
The flower is from my garden. I wanted to create a painting with depth and simplicity. It's size is 10.5 x 14.8cm (A6) postcard size.
Below is a series of photos showing the painting in stages.
The top left photo is the silverpoint drawing followed by the successive stages of the background colours which changed in tone while the painting progressed with the flower itself! Finally to presenting the painting in its frame. I added an inner slip frame to lead the eye into the flower and give the whole piece more bulk because of the small size.
This flower was painted as a friend's Birthday present! So I had a very short deadline in which to paint it!!! The size of the piece is small, 10.5 x 14.8cm.
I used the same idea to create the texture in the background as my self portrait, using small brush strokes to build the colour up. Below is a series of photos showing the painting stages.
The first photo, top left, shows the flower drawn on the gesso board in silverpoint ( it's a pen with a silver lead instead of graphite). The middle starts with the base colours of the lily. The one on the right shows the flowers details beginning to be moulded into shape. The bottom photo shows the lily petals taking shape while the leaves and stems have better definition.
For the first time in my life I took part in a 'Roman' event at the #AncientTechnologyCentre , Cranbourne, Dorset UK, this brilliant and interesting site was to see extremes of weather over the two days of the event.
The first building you come across! The Viking Long house, above.
Above the Roman water mill, created by the 'Time Team', at one time at the Museum of London, now here at the ATC. The pitched canopy of the Saxon workshop with a recessed pit for the working area.
The Earth House, magnificent in its structure! These photos cannot do justice to the interior, you have to see it for yourself!!!!
The Iron Age Round House.
Neolithic Log Cabin.
The Roman Forge and workshop behind a garden full of plants from Roman times. This is the most accurate reconstruction based on finds from Roman Londinium. This is where I set up my painting display and demonstration.
The blacksmith at work in the forge.
So this is where I was! it's nice to have a workspace and to have room to display your wares in historic reconstructed historic surrounding, you don't get that chance everyday!!!!
Below is a series of photos showing the process to make the egg tempera paints.
So we end up with the egg yoke, yoke because of the fatty acids which act as the binder for the pigment, placing the contents onto a piece of granite or glass it's then easy to mix the two together to make the paint itself.
After mixing you need to transfer the paint into a palette of some sort, the Romans used oyster shells as an example. What you see is old mixtures I've used for previous paintings.
All that remains for me to do is thank Pascale Barnes and her staff & volunteers for such an interesting and delightful weekend event!!!!
The 'Orchid Rescuer' refers to Vicki's passion for orchids in all their forms. She visits any shop or garden centre that stock these wonderful flowers to keep them living longer than they sometimes do if they aren't selling well to customers. The stages above begin at the top left with a layer of verdigris (green). Looking back at the drawing, I seem to have lost the original sweep of hair along the hairline and down the temple!!! That can happen when the layering process takes place, it is so easy to hide the pencil guide lines with adding successive modelling flesh tones. I worked on this painting while attending an outdoor craft show at the Roman Villa at Chedworth, Gloucestershire, UK.
I used the opportunity to work on this piece because my deadline to hand it over as a Birthday present was fast approaching!!!!
Though I got the painting to a completion stage on the left here, I still wasn't quite happy with the eyes and position of the jawline meeting the earlobe. So I continued the adjustments when arriving back home at the end the weekend event.
Below is the portrait as near as I can get it. I don't try to slavishly copy a reference of the person, I try to capture the essence of the personality.
The top photo is the flyer for the workshop. The photos below document the process on how the wooden boards(5mm external ply) are covered, first in rabbit skin glue soaked muslin (top left). This acts as an anchor for the gesso layers to adhere to.
The gesso covering is a combination of 1/15 parts rabbit skin glue to gesso powder warmed in a pan to create a soup-like consistency. Once the glue soaked muslin has dried overnight, the first layer of gesso is applied by tipping a small amount of gesso from the pan. With a brush spread into the muslin (bottom left). To make sure that the gesso has penetrated into the open weave of the muslin, you use your fingers to rub it in gently so that no holes are visible that create air pockets. The pile of finished gesso boards below..
I set myself a challenge when tackling this subject!!! The first was the size of the painting. This is the first time I've created an egg tempera painting larger than 29 x 21cm (A4). As I have posted before, the inspiration came from visiting the excellent Cast Gallery at the Classical Archaeological Museum in Cambridge, UK, http://www.classics.cam.ac.uk/museum/
So many subjects to choose from. The following photos show the latter stages of progress with this intriguing image.
I wanted a gold colour for Athena's dress, so it meant beginning with a strong yellow, but then toning it back with a layer of white. Next item was to define the folds in the dress, this is a complicated design by the original sculptor!!!! The helm and shield are copper/bronze, (I wasn't sure which) again not an easy colour to emulate. The same goes for the scale armoured overshirt The flesh tones on the face began beyond the verdigris base colour.
The head and shoulders on the left shows the changes I made to the final look of Athena's features. In the middle is the torso with the complicated dress design and armour shawl, this has snakes around the fringe!!! On the right are the dress hems and footwear, made simple!!!
Below the finished painting it all it's glory!!!!!!!
This sort of original painted image on gessoed board would be sold at:
£450.00 GBP or €585 EUR.
The design of the dress and armour is based closely on a life-sized cast of a Roman 'Athena' this can be found in the cast gallery of the 'Museum of Classical Archaeology' in Cambridge, www.classics.cam.ac.uk/museum/
The curtain and floor were the first elements to be worked on. I wanted to complete the background, I knew this would be a challenge!!!! The hanging curtain took a while to form the folds and patterns I had researched. My idea is to show the floor as a mosaic with a medallion design underneath the figure of Pallas Athena. The photo on the left shows the basic colour scheme for the floor mosaic, which I need to merge into the setting along with the 'Pallas Athena' name.
The brazier behind Athena was the next item to work on. The photo on the right shows an overall layer of white over the floor to pull together the Medusa head and floral design.
Once I was satisfied with the look of the curtain and floor, I moved to the curling smoke coming up from the brazier. That completed, I started working up the Owl. The last photo of the four in this group shows the beginnings of colour on the Bronze helm and shield.
I'm working on a new painting. Above is the pencil sketch.
This one is larger than the others, 29.7 x 42cm (A3). I recently visited the Cambridge Classical Archaeology Museum, the cast gallery in fact. There is many versions of Athena in the rooms. I've combined the different dress details together.
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