When you buy a sketchbook, you visualize your future drawings filling up its pages. Undoubtedly in your mind they are as beautifully executed as those fast, effortless sketches of the Masters. All you need is just a few virtuoso strokes to capture the essence of the character or an object. Or maybe, if you do everything more diligently and try a bit harder, you’ll create something similar to Michelangelo’s preparatory drawings for the Sistine Chapel.
Then reality hits. Your sketches somehow don’t look like Leonardo’s and Michelangelo’s. They are not even close to those living guys you follow on Instagram. Oh gosh, now your sketchbook looks ugly! There is nothing you can show to your friends!
Caravaggio’s painting technique: Using all of the technical and art historical information we now have on the paintings that can be firmly attributed to Caravaggio we can summarize his technical practices as follows: 1) Preference for using a linen canvas support mounted on a wooden strainer. 2) Preference for dark red-brown ground, often left visible, and used as mid-tones. 3) Use of dramatic, single-source lighting. 4) Use of incisions done free-hand in the still moist ground to establish the composition and fix the pose of his models. 5) Did not use preliminary sketches but began by loosely drawing the outline of forms in dark paint and locating major highlights in lead white (abozzo). 6) Used limited palette, primarily earth colors,…
The underpainting was a core feature of the Venetian Method, and was often executed in opaque colour, rather than neutral greys. Many colour variations existed on this technique, such as Venetian Red and Flake White, with the only real limitation lying in the fact one ought limit one’s palette to lean paints (paints with a low rate of oil absorption) which are either opaque or very high in tinting strength. High tinting strength paints with a high oil absorption rate (fat paints) may be used only if mixed in minute quantities with very lean paints, so as to keep the underpainting leaner than the layers that will be applied above. Once the colour has dried, it can be modified with…