Technique: the metamorphosis of a wooden board into a Home Jewelry  painting

People ask me often why I prefer to work on a wooden panel instead a canvas. That is a very good question, which I would like to explain in this blog post.

First of all, when you ask a restaurator what works are in best condition, than she/he will answer wooden panels and paintings on copper. Thus, I choose for a panel because the work will resist the time much better.

I started to paint on quarterly sawn oak panels, that were made on demand by a carpenter in Margraten (near the town of Maastricht, NL). Because of that, the panel will not deform. Nowadays, I paint on multilayered wood because I am less dependent on a carpenter and the chance of deformation is negligible too.

To make the panel suitable for painting, it needs several preparations. First, it needs to be sized well to protect is from humidity. I use for that a glue based on gelatine. Then, I glue Belgian portrait linen that I purchase from Roeselare (a town in the west of Belgium). This is an excellent basis to prevent appearance of a wood structure in the final painting.

This panel is subsequently grounded with a traditional gesso comprising gelatine-based glue and chalk. Gesso is Italian and means plaster. The composition of the gesso I keep strictly secret because this is very important for the final result. Together with the pigments I use, it gives the skin a very realistic silky look and feel. I apply 12 different layers of gesso and all these layers are sanded well before applying a next layer.

When the prepared panel is ready, it is washed with 96% alcohol to remove any dust. After that I apply a so-called “imprimatura”. This is a monotone layer in an earth pigment, such as an ocher. I have nice ochers from Roussillon (a very nice village in the south of France) in stock. I rub the pigment with distilled water and prepare an egg-yolk (removing its thin skin) and mix that gently with the aqueous pigment pasta, taking care not to break the emulsion.

After this I start to sketch the subject on the panel while taking care for the composition. With several egg-tempera paint layers I start to paint the underpainting. The surface is now still too absorbing much for oil painting.

Via another secret procedure I take care that the surface is ready for the oil paint layers. I work out the underpainting in grisaille, brunaille or verdaccio technique. When the underpainting is ready, I start to overpaint with colour. Then the magic starts and the model comes to “life”. When the painting is finished, I sign it. When dry, I apply a retouching varnish over it for protection. After at least one year, the painting gets its final closing varnish.

Artist Edwin IJpeij – The magic of Chemistry in Erotic Art

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