To the Unknown Helper #15: chiaroscuro started (reflections on Mahler)

Now working on the full size canvas to do chiaroscuro using black wash only. I love the way forms emerge.

The wan or bay leading to the sea needs to be very atmospheric. The problem is that the Thompson method creates rather airless landscapes.

The technique adapts the method of egg tempera painting that is described in Daniel V. Thompson’s The Practice of Tempera Painting: the first step is to transfer the cartoon to canvas, then to highlight the lines, then to do chiaroscuro in ink wash.

After this you must use white and greys to model the forms more vividly. Then you apply colors as glazes and white highlights.

But I don’t want to be as precise as Thompson recommends. There are already Pentimento and there will be more.

Compositionally the painting is going to be simple, a right angle defining the space between the Helper and the kid. It will be unfortunate if the finished painting is interpreted as Greece Teaches China for the “sari” is folded like a Greek gown.

The viewer should be torn between the Sybilline helper and the more Asian child. The two figures need to be balanced.

Edward G. Nilges, “To the Unknown Helper” as of 17 July 2010. Pencil, charcoal, ink and wash on canvas, 50×60 cm.


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