Making of

A picture emerges

Again and again I am asked how I approach a picture like this, how I paint it. For some of the more recent work, I’ve documented the individual steps. In the following I would like to present this documentation to you. But you should take into account that these are pictures whose structure and color combination I already know in advance. So for me they are easy to paint down with some leisure.

Another type of picture is much more difficult. When it comes to creating the painterly gesture of the artist in expressive pictures, the spontaneity of the brushstrokes and the lightness of the work, one can only leave the lead to chance and inspiration. How often have I stood in front of a picture, pondering the next step in my head and assessing the quality of the picture so far, only to then make the wrong decision and lose the picture irretrievably.

á David - a documentation on facebook

  1. At the Christmas exhibition in the Hansesaal in 2015, my installation received a lot of praise, but there were also voices that wanted pictures from me again. Anyone who deals with my work, for example in my solo exhibition “Me?!” in 2013, knows that I am currently dealing with the works of other artists. I literally put myself in the shoes of her work. The picture I’m working on is one of them. Whoever is the first to find out which painting I am currently using as a basis will receive a bottle of sparkling wine at the open studios on May 22, 2016. So have fun guessing.
    p.s. At the very edge you can see how slowly an image is created.
  2. After four days: First the head bandage, then the upper light half of the face, the lower dark half and today the mouth. Oil on canvas with a size 2 hair brush.
  3. Wrinkles are not as easy as you think. Especially if you’re still trying. to achieve a texture of fabric.
  4. A few creases have appeared again today. Of course, it is a typical beginner’s mistake to paint from one side of the picture to the other with all the attention to detail, because you are not able to bring in the mutual relationships of the individual brightnesses and colors to one another. Likewise, correct positioning or proportion is difficult. – But I’m not a beginner – For me it’s more important to have a pad, a grip on the canvas. After all, I’m standing in front of the easel with my hand outstretched and painting with a tiny hairbrush. No forearm or palm rests. So that I can at least use my little finger to support myself on the unpainted canvas, as a right-hander I paint from left to right.
  5. So, now let’s continue with the left arm.. (I was asked how you can see the whole development: You just have to go to my Facebook page! And please don’t forget to “like” me, otherwise I’ll see not at all, who is interested.)
  6. The hand has an interesting foreshortening, but I think it works like this… (Feel free to ask questions or discuss as well.)
  7. The head on the neck works and the arm fits on the shoulder
    You can see that I absolutely have to continue painting in the next few days so that the transitions are still wet.
    This is the advantage of oil painting. You can take a longer break from painting, as oil paint dries very slowly. (The splashes of fat on the stove didn’t dry the next day either)
  8. I was often asked how I paint this kind of picture: You can see it quite well here: I don’t mix the colors on the palette but on the canvas. If you look closely, the first color for the highlights (ivory) and the first color for the shadows (Naples yellow light) have already been applied. Both areas are then darkened with burnt sienna and my favorite color madder lake.
  9. .. and this is what the arm looks like when darkened appropriately. Now that I’ve changed the settings, everyone who subscribes to this page can also like the pictures. So please do a little advertising for art lovers.
  10. The lower part of the arm looks like it has been in the sun for too long. But I think it works. That’s the disadvantage of painting like this: the brightness and coloring depend on your surroundings, of course, and that comes later (see above). So you have to force yourself to go darker and not be influenced by the surrounding white. In my experience, it’s important to pay attention to the area that’s in shadow, always getting a little darker than you think. But something different. Looking at the original, doesn’t it look like the arm is somehow broken or twisted at the elbow joint?
  11. Now the stitch is set. This is applied in wash with madder varnish. This technique of putting layers of paint on top of each other is also used in watercolor. Here it is important that the paint does not contain any white parts or dirt, as is the case with many cheap paints. Then the light would already be reflected in this layer and you would no longer be able to see the ones below. Of course, the bottom layer has to be reasonably dry so that it doesn’t physically mix with the top layer.
  12. A few more wrinkles. As you can see, the “brown” arm works with the background.
  1. It really works
  2. I had a problem: there is a principle by which harmony among colors is automatically achieved: all colors are mixed from a basic palette. This means that each of these basic color tones is distributed almost over the entire picture area. Before I started with the picture I had put together my palette. Ivory and Naples Yellow along with Burnt Sienna and Madder Lake for the skin tones. “Zinc White” and “Natural Umber” for the creases and of course the background. This “umbra natural” also as the darkest tone to darken other colors even further. “Chrome yellow dark” for the wooden box and finally “Umbra greenish” for the green cloth. But today I was horrified to discover that this “greenish umber” was not able to achieve the desired green of the cloth even when mixed with one of the other colors. In addition, I looked at the inkwell – it was bluish. – No chance. – I had to bring myself to put “Indigo” on the palette. I know this denim blue and its effect with other colors well, because it is one of my favorite colors next to “madder lake”. – And together with the “dark chrome yellow” I had the green I wanted.
  3. The writing on the letter will come later.. (I forgot to leave the quill pen empty, but was able to erase the spot again with turpentine)
  4. … and again a few wrinkles. (I’ll probably have to darken the white cloth a bit so that the green hangs “in front of it.”)
  5. The feather
  6. The knife. The materiality of metal is actually quite simple: A very high and sharp-edged contrast. But I have to get to the blade again. Here my template is incomplete or too blurry in the enlargement.
  7. It’s time for the background…
  8. No, the inkwell is not black, but a mixture of umber and indigo with highlights of white.
  9. I had to wipe out the feather twice, but the third attempt was successful.

  10. As you can see, after darkening the floor, I also had to darken the shadow on the white cloth. But this is not difficult, since a simple glaze is sufficient.
  11. So, now only the wooden block is missing. This one will be even more exciting because I don’t intend to paint each wood fiber individually.
  12. That’s it. I can only add the missing letter text when the paint is dry. But this is the last picture here on FB. If you are interested in what the finished picture looks like or what it means: On May 22nd, 2016 my studio will also be open as part of the “Open Studios Lünen”. You are all invited. If you enjoyed following the creation of a picture here, you should leave a few likes. Maybe then there will be a sequel. Thanks very much!

    .. and here on my own site the finished picture: “á David”

Making of "Fight for freedom - against nationalism"

Making of “Fight for freedom – against nationalism” (155 x 200 cm / oil on canvas)

Video: Making of “Fight for freedom – against nationalism” (Linked to Youtube, Google’s privacy policy applies)