Sunday, August 3, 2008

Grisaille Painting of Da Vinci's Nephew's Sculpture

"Marble Man" is basically a grisaille, a painting using just French Ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and titanium white. Typically a grisaille is a painting done in shades of grays. I use this three color combination to build a fairly warm gray. The more burnt sienna I use, the warmer the results. There aren't any super darks in the painting -- grisailles are usually used for underpaintings -- but I like the look especially for the application of depicting a marble sculpture.

The painting is based on a photo I took on an art historical trip to Florence, Italy in 2006. The statue, found in a niche in the courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio, is of Sanson and the Philistine. This sculpture is by Leonardo Da Vinci's nephew, Pierino da Vinci. Now, I didn't know this until I took the painting into Rob Liberace's class -- figuring that Rob's encyclopedic (really!) knowledge of art would come to the rescue. It did.

"Marble Man," 12"h x 9"w, oil on Raymar panel, copyright Jill Banks 2008

Soon after this I'm back into color. I've been working on another sepia-toned watercolor wash today -- a scene of Venice for this week's entry to the Landscape show at the Art League. Plus, I've been to Kinko's to enlarge a black & white sketch for a commission I'm working on. I think all this monochromatic work stems from the dark and light exercises I've been asking my class to do. But now I'm ready for yellows, reds, blues and greens... an outburst of color.

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