Thursday, October 8, 2015

In the Manner of the Masters

2015-14PO Hancock Portrait 16 x 12 Zane  Oil on linen panel

This portrait of a young man, Zane, was done entirely from life.  I used a technique and process that I explored in a recent workshop with classical artist Michael Siegel.  One could spend a lifetime studying the techniques of the old masters so I have only scratched the surface, obviously.  

What I find very valuable is the paint application process, the use of mediums (in Zane, I used maroger pronounced mare oh-jay, I believe) and a very meticulous approach.  By that I mean the literally every brush stroke is planned and then executed with care and deliberation.  Certainly, careful execution isn't restricted to the old masters - I've become aware that many of the painters I admire are surprisingly measured and 'slow' in the process of painting - but it is a hallmark of the classic painters and their work, I think.  I've been conscious of my own process for the last year or so, and I've made very deliberate efforts to slow down!  It has helped enormously.  All I have to do is remember to remenber!

Zane was painted with a very limited palette, which is simply my own preference.  I believe it consisted of medium red, yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, black and white.   There may have been a touch of other colors including a trial attempt with raw and burnt umber.  I've decided I do not like either color and have scraped them off my palette for good.  

I''m pleased with this portrait and with my journey into the style of the old masters.  I've learned a lot and that's what any exploration is about.  Personally I'll probably take a few tips away from this to be used on my own style of painting.   And just for comparison, here's the same model painted a few weeks ago in open session.  

2015-16PO Hancock Portrait 20 x 16 Zane's Braids   Oil on linen panel
Happy Painting! 

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art


  1. Nice build up with the warm/cool and value changes.
    Gamblin asphaltum has a warm rich hue as a substitute for burnt umber. And it is translucent - you might give it a try

  2. Hi Neil....Someone else mentioned asphaltium recently. I have never used it, but the next time I'm ordering suppies, I'll try it out. Thanks for the comments!