The last set of photos I posted from Chuck were of Philip and the Ethiopian, a Bible story from Acts chapter 8. He showed us what a flat looks like after he has grayscaled it and then what that same flat looks like after color is applied. As a reminder, he wrote:

I am an old school oil painter and unlike Greg, I have not learned new tricks (e.g. acrylics, which he uses to such stunning effect). The method is to first paint the whole figure in a grey scale, using raw umber and white mixed (except for flesh which is done using burnt umber and white).  Before laying in the flesh tones themselves, I place a thin glaze of viridian over those burnt umber/white areas. One of the photos shows the green glaze stage.

Chuck also sent a pair of photos of his work on the Girl with the Pearl Earing. Again, the first photo shows us the piece done pre-shaded and pre-highlighted, and the second is the completed piece. I find these sorts of contributions very useful in learning how to paint.

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girl w pearl sony 001

Thanks again, Chuck.


6 thoughts on “Chuck Smith and the Girl with the Pearl Earing

  1. That is beautifully done. Is the viridian allowed to dry before painting the flesh tones? I would really like to know more about this.

  2. Bob, Chuck wrote answering your question concerning the viridian wash. He writes, “The viridian glaze, like all my other glazes, is allowed to dry before proceeding with subsequent painting—whether with more glazes or opaque coats. I was curious to know if he uses acrylics in these grayscale processes. He responded, “As I said, I am strictly an oil painter, so no acrylic bases.”

    1. Thanks for the quick response. So I guess as you lay down your color tones the under painting shows through a little? I’m assuming you’ll still have to shadow and highlight with your final colors.

      1. Chuck emailed me a reply to Bob’s question: “The under painting does not exactly “show through”, but it modifies the resultant painting. With oils, no layer is completely opaque and even less so with transparent glazes. The translucent effect actually increases over time (as can be seen in paintings by the old masters). The light penetrates and is reflected back to our eyes through the layers of paint. This is why glazes can produce complex tones and shadow areas can be complex, rather than just black voids. Of course, it is also why thin glazes can produce unexpected results…not always desirable ones, but always instructive. I hope this response answers the question.”

  3. That makes sense. I’ll try this on my next flat. Love this website by the way. Thanks.

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