Painting ‘Speaker of Truth’

I had intended to present an abbreviated view of the process I used to paint ‘Speaker of Truth’ in my previous post. Then My thoughts took me elsewhere. So I thought I would revisit my original intention in this post. ‘Speaker of Truth’ was painted on a 10″x16″ Belgian portrait linen canvas which I triple primed with Rublev white lead ground. After transferring my drawing I executed the under-painting in raw umber. This basic division of labor in oil painting where one deals with drawing and the establishment of the values:


As an artist I find that I am always looking to learn from others and to try different palettes for flesh painting.  I have used full palettes of up to fifteen or more colors. I would say these lean toward being open palettes. In this case I decided to explore a limited. lower chroma palette and to utilize value strings. For most of the painting I used a limited value string palette I discovered online on the blog of James Raczkowski. Here is the link to Raczkowski’s entry. I found that while it does take time to premix this kind of palette, Raczkowski’s explanation to be concise and easy to follow. Anyone who has ever tried Daniel Greene’s or Frank Covino’s controlled palette approach with be in familiar territory.


I started with the hand and background in the first pass given I had fresh value strings of flesh tones. It is surprising how effective your flesh tones can be made to appear with relatively low chroma colors. One really doesn’t need bright cadmium colors to achieve convincing flesh tones. In Raczkowski’s color recipe he used cadmium red, which I substituted with Genuine Chinese Vermillion by Michael Harding. which I related to the Zorn flesh  palette.


Moving toward the final stages I over-painted the eagle feather as well as refined both the flesh and background tones. I introduced touches of king’s blue and violet gray in the upper portions. My intuition suggested the introduction of these bluish grays to imply that the journey toward the healing of spirit is a marriage of earth and sky/heavens…being grounded in the spirit. Niawen kowa/Much thanks for looking. You can see the complete painting in the previous entry and on my portfolio page. Thanks go out to James Raczkowski for sharing his knowledge and thereby being a part of this painting though he did not know he had. The blogosphere can be a wonderful place.



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