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Random advice on painting the classical way

Classical paintings at different stage of creation

Modern art is like the enemy of the classical artist. But this enemy could be its best friend also because a modern artist or art critic will tell you frankly what they think of your art and you’ll have a totally different perspective, a different point of view. But in general I would say that realism meshes with contemporary modern art with difficulty. Modern bright colors and hue contrasts destroy the subtle vision of the classical painter. Unfortunately this is what is happening to a lot for art lovers too, who are bombarded with modern art and end up having blunt senses and often become unable to appreciate good art. Most people have to be told what is good art, especially when it comes to abstract or contemporary art. It actually takes a full on classical training to understand what is abstract art and contemporary modern art.
Classical realism or figurative art is what requires the most abilities and technical expertise. This is what I'd like to talk about today and give some random advise to those aspiring realist painters.

I always start my paintings with a sketch. It is very important to understand composition in this case, the lines, the positives and negative spaces.
As far as brushes are concerned, you should have many brushes so that you would not lose time washing them while working. Take a new brush for every new mix. Brushes should be treated very carefully. After every session they should be washed in turpentine or paint thinner and after that in warm water with soap. When drying them it is better to dry them in an horizontal position so that water does not run inside the ferrule and rust and unglue the delicate work inside there.
After work wash the palette with turpentine and scrape it with a razor. Before work wipe the palette with linseed oil. That will allow the new paint mixes to be cleaned easily.
The canvas should be primed additionally a few more times with gesso or flake white. Finally it should be ground with fine sandpaper. After that the canvas should be scraped with a razor to remove the canvas texture till smooth dead surface similar to the egg's surface is achieved.
The drawing is made on paper and life-size to the smallest details. Then it is transferred to the canvas by carbon-paper. After that the drawing is outlined with brown ink because the first oil layer, called Grisaille (transparent coat that is equal to the middle tone of largest, lightest object in painting) - will wash away the pencil, but the ink will remain visible almost through the last layers. I do not always do this, but always have brown outlines in oil paint and turpentine. Those will also last to the last layer if you let them dry and are careful.
Before each new layer the canvas is carefully wiped with linseed oil. After that the canvas is wiped with a soft piece of cloth to remove the excess.
There are many mediums on the market and I prefer my own Maroger medium made at home, the Titian formula with wax and the Rubens formula with mastic varnish, resembling honey.
The basic set of paints is the following: Flake White, titanium white, Yellow Ochre Light, Red Ochre, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber Ivory Black, Naples Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Madder Lake Deep, cadmium red, ultramarine blue, viridian green .
For the grisaille layer or the first paint layer: The canvas is covered with a liquid mixture based on Red Ochre, Yellow Ochre Light and Ivory Black and flake white.
The shadow (the process of creating intermediate layers) is made with Burnt Umber. In the second layer all details are made excluding the texture. In the third layer of the main tone masses is made with a big brush.
The light is made with white lead ( flake white), light ocher, red ocher, and burnt umber. The aim of this layer is to create shadows. The picture must look as if its objects were lit with moonlight - olive cold gray color. Colors are applied thickly, half a tone higher, shadows are very transparent, half a tone lower.
The first and the second flesh tones: main life colors layers is made half a tone lighter and two tones lighter in colors; and half a tone darker and two tones lighter in shadows.
Details of textures, thickly applied highlights, bright reflections. In this layer you may use additional paints: blue, red, yellow (cadmium yellow deep), madder and more.

Voila, that is the general gist of creating a classical painting. My last advice is rules are made to be broken. Learn the classical way and then find your own style. And don’t just paint “Things”, paint with your heart.

Suryani's letter, oil on canvas, realism, people, portrait by dominique Amendola
Copyright by Dominique Amendola

To see a larger picture, click on the image.

A young lady just got a letter and she is sitting pensively, surrounded with cloth and tapestry in a very oriental environment. The composition is very classical perfectly balanced with great positive and negative spaces. It flows in waves around the figure and including the figure. The colors are very warm and sunny.

This is not a print. You are buying an original painting on canvas, all my paintings are canvas paintings. This art work is painted with museum quality art supplies and will last several 100 years. I've sold over 200 of my original works of art online, so you can buy with confidence. I do this for a living!! Your art will be shipped to you professionally packed with protective packaging material and wrapped in cardboard, then placed in a heavy-duty box for shipping. All items will be sent via USPS and insured.

Detail view

Original oil on canvas, with painted sides, no need for a frame.

Original canvas size: 24" x 36"

THIS PAINTING IS AVAILABLE FROM THE TIME AND SPACE GALLERY

Status: Sold
You can purchase this painting through PayPal by contacting the artist, with many different options, such as credit cards or even through your bank.

Photography Prints

To see more art go to my site:
Dominique Amendola Fine Art

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Dominique Amendola-California, US
California vineyards, oil, impressionism, plein air by Dominique Amendola
Copyright by Dominique Amendola

To see a larger picture, click on the image.
This painting was painted in plein air. The vineyards are ripe with grapes. This is executed at the Benzinger winery where they grow organic grapes. Here you can see the background with beautiful California mountains.

Detail view.
This is not a print. You are buying an original painting on canvas, all my paintings are canvas paintings. This art work is painted with museum quality art supplies and will last several 100 years. I've sold over 200 of my original works of art online, so you can buy with confidence. I do this for a living!! Your art will be shipped to you professionally packed with protective packaging material and wrapped in cardboard, then placed in a heavy-duty box for shipping. All items will be sent via USPS and insured.

Original oil on canvas, framed.

Approximatively 22" x 28" with the frame

Original canvas size: 18"x 24"

Special Holiday Price: $500.00

Status: Available
You can purchase this painting through PayPal by contacting the artist, with many different options, such as credit cards or even through your bank.

Photography Prints

To see more art go to my blog:
Daily Paintings by Dominique Amendola

BUY MY WORK HERE: (Prints, greetings cards, and much more)
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Dominique Amendola-California, US
Three guys with a dog, oil, people, impressionism by Dominique Amendola
Copyright by Dominique Amendola


To see a larger picture, click on the image.

This is a unique scene actually occurring in the streets of La Rochelle in France, and is almost like a story with all kinds of activities going on in the corners.

Detail view

This is not a print. You are buying an original painting on canvas, all my paintings are canvas paintings. This art work is painted with museum quality art supplies and will last several 100 years. I've sold over 200 of my original works of art online, so you can buy with confidence. I do this for a living!! Your art will be shipped to you professionally packed with protective packaging material and wrapped in cardboard, then placed in a heavy-duty box for shipping. All items will be sent via USPS and insured.

Original oil on canvas, framed with a plein air gold frame.

Approximatively 15" x 18" with the frame

Original canvas size: 11"x 14"

Special New Year Price: $300.00

Status: Available

You can purchase this painting through PayPal by contacting the artist, with many different options, such as credit cards or even through your bank.

Purchase securely for only $300.oo + shipping"

Photography Prints

To see more art go to my site:
Dominique Amendola Fine Art

BUY MY WORK HERE: (Prints, greetings cards, and much more)
Buy art
Dominique Amendola-California, US
About good composition in a painting by Dominique Amendola
examples of good and bad compositions

It is a good idea for any new art work you plan, to do first a few thumbnail sketches to examine alternative compositions. It will allow you to choose a position for your center of interest, examine tonal balance and if necessary alter tones to highlight the center of interest and alter tones to diminish supporting objects. You’ll also see if you need to remove unnecessary objects, change the shape of any boring objects or groups, and plan the color scheme of your painting.

Before starting check for an excellent composition and more than half the battle is won!
Here is a check list of questions to ask yourself:
Is there one dominant object?
Is the eye lead through the picture to the center of interest?
Is the eye kept in the picture and not lead right out of it?
Is the center of interest in a good position?
Does the greatest tonal range appear at the center of interest?
Are traveling objects actually moving in the picture and not blocked by the side of the picture?
Is the whole of the composition in balance?

For a landscape by example, change your viewpoint until you get shapes with impact, alter the shapes (don’t be a slave to the shapes you see, you can miss out objects or add objects.) I often do a plein air painting and may ad another detail that I do not have in the view but get it by turning my easel in a different direction altogether. The important thing in composition is the placement of the center of interest. You can use the rule of the thirds or the rule of the golden section. ( golden section is a natural mathematical means encountered in all God’s creation, from the human proportions to the harmony in a leaf).
The rule of the thirds is simple. It consist in dividing both the height and the width of your art piece into thirds. Then draw horizontal and vertical lines from these points, and where the lines intersect is your centers of interest.
As for the golden section, it is a bit more complicated. Let’s forget it for now. I’ll dedicate a different post to the use of the golden section.
With those divisions into thirds you can use the vertical lines or horizontal lines to place your main focus, for verticals it could be a tree trunk or a column, or a figure placed there, and for horizontals it could be your horizon line, or boat or floating object. There are unlimited ways to use these divisions. However, do not use the vertical or horizontals symmetrically on both sides. It makes for a boring composition. You need one dominant object on one side, such as a larger tree and on the other side it could be a smaller tree. It is actually nice to ad an echo to your main focus. By example you can have a large boat on the left and a smaller version of this boat in the distance, on the right. Make sure you balance masses By example, a cluster of trees on the left is too heavy by it self. You can balance it by adding a bunch of clouds on the right and above.
Another way to have a center of interest is to place it in the center and have the object very contrasted with the lightest light and darkest dark in your painting. This will automatically lead the eye in this part of your painting.
Another thing to look out for is the traveling object, such as the nose of a boat. Make sure it is not against the side of the painting but rather has a lot of space. Usually the eye travels from left to right, so a traveling boat can be towards the left corner with its nose towards the right with a lot of space remaining to the right side suggesting its traveling through the page.

Remember to lead the eyes into the picture and not out of it. The easiest example is a path leading inside the painting. But don’t forget to close this road with a cluster of trees or buildings, otherwise it will lead the eyes right out of the picture…. In other words block off the exit. Your road or composition in general should lead your eyes trough the art piece.
Another way to compose your picture is to have smaller objects leading to the point of interest.

In a still life do not have objects of same sizes and with handles or buttons pointing in the same direction. That’s boring too. Try to link the objects together by having them blocking one another in an harmonious way.
Try to use asymmetrical shapes rather than squares, rectangles, circles. Choose viewpoints which use oblique angles rather than horizontals. They ad to drama. Try to make each angles slightly different. Vary angles and masses.

In a landscape, use warmer colors as you get to the horizon. ( the sky gets lighter and warmer closer to the horizon). However the land gets cooler as it gets closer to the horizon. It is due to the fact that the eye perceives cooler colors in the distance. By giving an effect from warmer to cooler colors in the distance gradually, you achieve a 3D effect.

There is so much to learn about composition, but if you think of it as an abstract piece, just to simplify things, you want to have a center of interest, contrast, warm and cool colors leading the eye, and movement or shapes of interest.
Good luck and have fun!

Vineyard on a hill top,landscape, plein air, impressionism, oil by Dominique Amendola

Copyright by Dominique Amendola

To see a larger picture, click on the image.

This is a plein air landscape painted in California near the Jack London park in Sonoma County. The vineyards are under the care of the Benzinger family.

This is not a print. You are buying an original painting on canvas, all my paintings are canvas paintings. This art work is painted with museum quality art supplies and will last several 100 years. I've sold over 200 of my original works of art online, so you can buy with confidence. I do this for a living!! Your art will be shipped to you professionally packed with protective packaging material and wrapped in cardboard, then placed in a heavy-duty box for shipping. All items will be sent via USPS and insured.

Original oil on wood, framed.

Approximatively 15" x 27" with the frame

Original canvas size: 12"x 24"

Special Holiday Price: $350.00

Status: Available

You can purchase this painting through PayPal by contacting the artist, with many different options, such as credit cards or even through your bank.

FROM THIS SECURE SITE

Photography Prints

To see more art go to my site:
Dominique Amendola Fine Art

BUY MY WORK HERE: (Prints, greetings cards, and much more)
Buy art

Dominique Amendola-California, US

Varnishing an oil painting so it last centuries.....
Bruegel the younger

Varnishing an oil painting by Dominique Amendola
It’s very important that a painting is completely dry before it’s varnished otherwise the varnish may crack. Waiting for a painting to dry thoroughly is less of an issue with acrylics than it is with oils (some experts say you should allow an oil at least six months). I personally like to wait 6 months before I varnish an oil painting and if I sell one before that time I’ll tell my clients a correct varnishing date. Retouch varnish is a good one for leveling the glossy spots on your painting.
You’ve a choice between gloss and matte varnish, applied either with a brush or out of a spray can. Gloss varnishes dry completely clear and shinny, but a matte (sometimes called satin) varnish leaves a slight frosted-glass appearance, so you might loose finer detail in a painting if you use it. I prefer gloss varnishes, especially damar varnish but have used matte varnishes for those clients who prefer a non glossy appearance.
Using a medium that you’ve used in a painting as a final varnish too is not recommended as if this layer is removed at some future date when a painting is cleaned, the painting itself may become damaged. The restoration staff will have a hard time figuring out when to stop cleaning the surface and the paint will come off as well.
Varnishing is not something to be done in a rush; why risk messing up a painting in this final step? Make sure the painting is free of dust; that the varnish flows evenly without leaving brush marks (dilute it if necessary), and use a suitable brush. You can remove the dust safely with a wool cloth. I use varnish in a spray form since it is easier to control how much you lay on the painting. It is always better to go layer by layer rather than laying it on thickly. Spray a thin layer at a time or paint on a thin layer with a brush. Let it dry for a couple days. Then you can add an additional layer if necessary. Make sure you do not miss a spot, but if you do, a second layer should get it and even things out.

Vineyard in Fall, oil, impressionism, by Dominique Amendola

Copyright by Dominique Amendola

To see a larger picture, click on the image.

This is a plein air painting painted in California in the Sebastopol area.
It is painted on a gallery wrap canvas and it does not need a frame.

This is not a print. You are buying an original painting on canvas, all my paintings are canvas paintings. This art work is painted with museum quality art supplies and will last several 100 years. I've sold over 200 of my original works of art online, so you can buy with confidence. I do this for a living!! Your art will be shipped to you professionally packed with protective packaging material and wrapped in cardboard, then placed in a heavy-duty box for shipping. All items will be sent via USPS and insured.

Original oil on canvas.

Size: 16" x 20"

Price: Only, $200.00, A REAL BARGAIN!

Status: Available

You can purchase this painting through PayPal by contacting the artist, with many different options, such as credit cards or even through your bank.

Purchase securely for only $200.oo + shipping"

FROM THIS SECURE SITE

Photography Prints

To see more art go to my site:
Dominique Amendola Fine Art

BUY MY WORK HERE: (Prints, greetings cards, and much more)
Buy art
Dominique Amendola-California, US

How to size your canvas by Dominique Amendola, Paris France
oil on canvas

An oil painting is apparently the most rewarding experience both for the artist and the art collector. It is a very sensual experience. But today I like to address myself to the artist who has created the piece. It is important to understand the properties of the materials used in your art work so that you may create a lasting oil on canvas or wood. Even when your completed work has met your standards, over a period of time your masterpiece could self-destruct due to the procedure you had used while creating it.

One of the most common errors made is the use of Rabbit Skin glue sizing and not allowing for adequate drying time when using an Acrylic Gesso ground. Actually it is even more important if you are planning to use a lead white oil based ground. Each layer has to be throughoutly dry. Rabbit skin glue will allow the damaging absorption of moisture and it is also believed that rabbit skin glue has different expansion and contraction properties than oils which will cause cracking. Acrylic Gesso is a premium water based/soluble paint. However, if moisture remaining in this ground is not allowed to evaporate off and is painted over with an oil based paint, becomes sealed between the layers of the paint and the size. Since this moisture will seek a means to escape (especially on warm days) it will eventually cause blisters and cracking. The same is true for an oil base ground even more so, because each layers of oil paint has to dry. Ideally such a canvas should be allowed to dry for 6 months before using.

Another mistake all too often made with oil paintings is the inconsistency of mixing paint medium and the absence of patience while waiting between each layer of the paint to dry. Oil paint, inherently known for it's slow drying time, is made by mixing the color pigment in a binder of fatty linseed or sunflower oil or sometimes walnut oil that absorbs oxygen as it polymerizes and moves expanding and contracting as it dries into a tough film. A similar consequence of blisters and cracking is caused when an excessively fat layer of paint is painted over with a layer containing less oil than the previous one (known as lean-over-fat) or when driers have been added to the top layer where the linseed oil binder is sealed between dry and hardened layers of paint or the top finish. Due to the movements of the under layer while drying, the top film that has completely dried and hardened becomes forced to move with the under layers causing it to crack. Understanding these properties and using each layer to your advantage (especially with transparencies) is one of the secrets to successful painting with oils. So it is imperative to start with a thin under painting, rather than fat impastos right away, unless you are painting Alla Prima, i.e. with just one layer. The result is evidently more sketchy and spontaneous. Otherwise it is advisable to paint from thin to thick. It becomes second nature when one understand the principle of painting thin shadows and thick lights. Working from dark to light one establishes the darks thinly and can build the lights on top of this layer gradually.
Dominique Amendola- Paris France

Walking in the mustard in bloom, impressionism, landscape, oil by Dominique Amendola

Copyright by Dominique Amendola

To see a larger picture, click on the image.

This beautiful landscape is a common occurrence in the state of California. Here the mustard is in full bloom. That day when I looked at the yellow flowers, the colors were so intense, that it seem like some sort of unreal almost other worldly landscape. With so much yellow in my vision all other things such as trees, shadows and everything on the horizon seemed purple. This is actually exactly the principles that the impressionists applied, the shadows of an object in a paintings are the complementary color. In this case, yellow flowers have purple shadows, a strong reality for the eyes as well.

This is not a print. You are buying an original painting on canvas, all my paintings are oils on canvas . This art work is painted with museum quality art supplies and will last several 100 years. I've sold over 200 of my original works of art online, so you can buy with confidence. I do this for a living!! Your art will be shipped to you professionally packed with protective packaging material and wrapped in cardboard, then placed in a heavy-duty box for shipping. All items will be sent via USPS and insured.

Original oil on canvas, framed.

Approximatively 22" x 28" with the frame

Original canvas size: 18"x 24"

Price: $1,000.00

Status: Available

You can purchase this painting through PayPal by contacting the artist, with many different options, such as credit cards or even through your bank.

FROM THIS SECURE SITE

Photography Prints

To see more art go to my site:
Dominique Amendola Fine Art

BUY MY WORK HERE: (Prints, greetings cards, and much more)
Buy art

Dominique Amendola-California, US