Sunday, July 11, 2010

Oil lesson 3: Mona Liza~ monochromatic opaque underpainting

Last Saturday I felt like I was getting to know Mona Liza really upclose and personal~
I scrutinized every inch of her face until even now I can even visualize her in my mind….and due to the close scutiny, to both Ms Shia and my surprise we both discovered that she actually was wearing a gauze veil on her head…mmmm Interesting indeed!

Technique : Painting Mona Liza using monochromatic opaque underpainting on white ground

The lesson was to concentrate on the form and tonal value of the face using one color i.e vandyke brown and mixing with white to get the mid range tones.

Step 1 : mix the vandyke brown with white to get some half tones and apply these to the areas where there are shadows following the contours of the face, paying
careful attention to the eye sockets, cheeks, nose , lips and brow areas.

Step 2 : fill out the left overs with pure white, NO blending….just block in the colors.
To make sure that I followed this rigidly, Ms Shia hovered over me like a mother hen :)

Well, first draft of my Mona looked like she was of Asian origin, very voluptuous and looking very post natal ! Hahaha

OMG I cannot imagine how we were gonna achieve any similiarity to Mona Liza's face with all the blotchy spots all over!!

Step 3: Ms Shia told me to watch the magic as she used a medium fan brush and lightly fan Mona Liza's face ~ incredibly the colors blended so naturally, wow it was indeed magical!

Step 4 : Ms Shia then handed the fan brush and told me to finish the job…and horrors I actually made Mona Liza's face full of scratches !
Ms Shia goes "AIYA, cannot simply chincai bongcai sapu her face any direction you like !!"
Hahaha, the key was to imagine stroking Mona's face as if I was applying powder or blusher….

Oh ok, hahaha.

Believe you me, that made a heck of a big difference indeed.

Also with the right stroke of the fan brush, apparently we could make Mona Liza appear fatter or leaner just be slightly altering how the cheek bones flow or by adjusting the strokes above her bosom….ooooh, interesting!

I cant wait to see how we will glaze and restore Mona to full color spectrum after I finish off painting all the tonal values on her clothes and the background and let the paints dry .

Stay tuned for future lessons update to see how my Mona turns out in early August because before we can glaze, all the layers of underpaint have to be thoroughly dried!


Since I still had so much more paint left over, I decided to just for the heck of it also practise on a more contemporary beauty….a Dior model in Her World magazine ;P


E.V.E said...


mck said...

hee hee, glad you like it.
Dare to let me try painting you?
Send me a real nice portrait and let me see if I can do it one day la ;D