Home Forums Explore Media Oil Painting trying to paint John Williams Waterhouse style

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  • #478751
    Anaida9999
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      Hi,

      I am trying to do a painting in the John Williams Waterhouse style following a tutorial by Andrew Tischler (pic of his finished painting attached and mine in progress) , I have done the underpainting and have started painting the face but I don’t have lead white so I am using Michael Harding Lead white alternative and also all the other paints are Michael Harding oils.

      The only thing is had the white made the face look a bit dull , i mixed it with liquin but it does not seem to look like the tutorial example which uses lead white or maybe i just need to add more transparent layers?

      #890123
      No-Man
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        The type of white may make a small difference, but that is unlikely to even be a concern or issue that you should even consider at this point, in my opinion.

        I realize that you have more painting to do, but the issue at the moment, it seems to me, is the values of your skin tones. I know that the photos that you upload may not be that accurate, but at the moment your skin tones (and the painting as whole) are much lighter in value than the reference. The lighter skin tones in the reference – as far as I can tell – would need very little (if any) white. Yellow ochres and other yellows are useful to create lighter skin tones with little white needing to be added. The shadows would need no white at all. In the reference, the background around her face is quite dark, so you may need to do the same in your painting to allow for darker skin tone values. The same with her dress.

        So, yes, more layers are needed (whether transparent or not).

        But, it is looking good as a start. Judging skin tone values is often very difficult as we often perceive them as lighter than they actually are. And the subtlety and somewhat translucent nature of skin tones is hard to accomplish quickly and needs numerous layers in most cases, in my experience.

        Hope this helps,

        Don

        #890125
        Alan P. in OC
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          What Don says makes a lot of sense.
          I’ll quickly add the skin needs a wider range of values and higher chroma areas.
          I took 1 look at the photo and said ‘mixing everything with white’.
          You’d do well to add yellow ochre and transparent mars red (dark, high chroma orange) to your palette.

          #890124
          Ron Francis
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            I also agree with the above. The white should make little difference. Remember that the image you’re looking at doesn’t contain lead. That is, it is just illuminated pixels on a monitor which can be replicated with titanium without any problem.

            The problem you are having, at least at this point in the painting, is the values in the darker areas of the skin and dress.
            One example that I can point out that should be easy to see is the value under her chin and neck. In the original, it is almost the same value as the dark green in the background, whereas yours is much lighter. This isn’t allowing you to get the value range you need in the rest of the face to model it convincingly, and the result is looking flat.
            The dress, flowers and arms have the same problem.

            Also, did you mix black with the white to get the darker values in the dress?
            I think you need to add some orange to it as yours is looking too blue compared to the rest of it. (Black pigment is a low chroma blue.)
            The orange can be high chroma, like a cadmium, or low chroma like ochres or siennas etc. It doesn’t make much difference.

            So in short, don’t be afraid to take those value down.
            One thing you can try is to get the image printed, get some acetate to place over the top, and test your colours on the acetate. This should quickly get you out of the habit of painting too light.
            Also, I recommend not painting much detail until your comfortable with your values. It’s a huge time waster, and it makes it difficult to paint over it to correct it because there is so much of an investment in it.

            Good luck.

            Ron
            www.RonaldFrancis.com

            #890122
            ~JMW~
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              Unless it is the angle of your painting in the photo, her head seems small compared to the ref & the blossoms.

              ~Joy~

              #890126
              wal_t
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                You have got some good tips here already and I agree that it has nothing to do with the type of white you are using as Titanium white is just fine but there is just no contrast in the skintones. It would help if you start in the shadows (the whole eye socket, the neck, the chin, the area under the nose , the lips and under the lip etc.) to use the same color as used in the hair …. yes hat dark …. and only after that work in some lighter colors. It,s a nice image and waterhouse is a painter I like with his romantic paintings of women.

                Good luck !

                #890133
                JCannon
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                  My apologies. I am going to sound harsh, and I hate being harsh. On the other hand, I would have been much better off if my teachers had been hard-asses instead of continually offering encouragement.

                  1. Start over. You did not begin with a good, detailed (and I mean detailed) drawing. That is essential. Work it all out on paper first. I’m not talking about a contour drawing: I’m talking about a fully-realized work in graphite. If it takes you a year, it’ll be the most instructive year of your life.

                  It is true that some Pre-Raphaelites worked out the composition right on the canvas. They had powers and abilities beyond we mere mortals. We humbler creatures must draw first. (Personally speaking, this was a tough thing for me to admit to myself.)

                  2. You are copying a Pre-Raphaelite. Okay, there is some controversy over the classification of Waterhouse — but most people would associate him with the Pre-Raphs, even though he was not among their founding members.

                  This means you must study the techniques and approaches of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. This is not easy. We know less than we should about how they went about their business, and they did not always work in the same way. Also, they changed over time, as all artists do.

                  It’s particularly difficult (at least for me) to find out about Waterhouse’s technique. It seems nobody online wants to address the practical details of his working methodology, and the books in my library are similarly unhelpful. So your only recourse may be to research how the PRB in general worked.

                  3. It’s obvious that you’ve had instructors who’ve told you to apply opaque paint with large brushes. Ignore that advice.

                  There are a zillion instructors out there who will tell you to emulate the methods of John Singer Sargent. But this isn’t a Sargent, is it?

                  This is a PRB painting, and you need to work they way they worked: Thin glazes applied with small brushes with meticulous attention to detail. Multiple layers. You can’t get the effect of gauzy white over skin unless you paint the skin first then scumble white over it.

                  It is also said that the PRB worked over wet white paint that was still tacky. Although many modern artists have tried to copy PRB works, I haven’t read a report from anyone who has emulated this step. (I won’t pretend to have done so.) Here’s how William Holman Hunt described the method:

                  “Over this wet ground, the colour (transparent and semi-transparent) should be laid with light sable brushes, and the touches must be made so tenderly that the ground below shall not be worked up.”

                  He used tiny cross-hatched strokes. I don’t think that this was how Waterhouse worked — but again, I’ve yet to see a detailed description of his method. We’re forced to rely on Hunt because Hunt wrote a book. And here is the page in question.

                  As I recall, the PRB used Zinc White for the underlayer. Zinc is now “forbidden” by conservators, so you would do better to use other whites. Lead White dries rapidly; Titanium dries slowly. If you choose to follow Hunt’s advice, I would suggest using Titanium with a siccative, such as alkyd.

                  #890131
                  Gigalot
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                    I can recommend to use several earth oxides to paint skin. Yellow ochre, Mars red, Mars violet, English red. They are all useful and gorgeous colors in mixture
                    with white. Do not use white color in skin tone, always mix it with ochre or oxides.

                    #890140
                    Raffless
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                      With trying to paint in the style of any artist you first have to understand the artist. Else what is the point. Forget technique as a monkey can learn that. You need to go much deeper if your truly trying to emulate. Think of Method Actors. They dont just pretend to be someone they portraying. They actually become them in their head from months of studying. Waterhouse had thoughts feelings and emotions and a personality. Dont think you can copy someone from technique alone. Its a Huge mistake. I suppose its how far you want to go. Theres plenty written above about colour and use of white etc etc. But its useless fodder if your wanting to paint in the ‘style’ of another person. As the real questions are much much deeper else why do people put any effort into painting. Just get a clone to do the work. Looking at the timeline of an artist is a useful way aporoaching it. Look how they developed and that will help a lot. But really personality is huge. Get to know the artist first.

                      #890132
                      Gigalot
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                        With trying to paint in the style of any artist you first have to understand the artist. Else what is the point. Forget technique as a monkey can learn that. You need to go much deeper if your truly trying to emulate. Think of Method Actors. They dont just pretend to be someone they portraying. They actually become them in their head from months of studying. Waterhouse had thoughts feelings and emotions and a personality. Dont think you can copy someone from technique alone. Its a Huge mistake. I suppose its how far you want to go. Theres plenty written above about colour and use of white etc etc. But its useless fodder if your wanting to paint in the ‘style’ of another person. As the real questions are much much deeper else why do people put any effort into painting. Just get a clone to do the work. Looking at the timeline of an artist is a useful way aporoaching it. Look how they developed and that will help a lot. But really personality is huge. Get to know the artist first.

                        Nobody can be a second Waterhouse because we can’t have in mind his creative ideas and philosophy. You can study 100 Waterhouse paintings to understand him, but if you try to paint “New Waterhouse painting” it will be your painting. but not a Waterhouse art. If you sign “Waterhouse” on your painting, it will be just fake painting.

                        #890141
                        Raffless
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                          Nobody can be a second Waterhouse because we can’t have in mind his creative ideas and philosophy. You can study 100 Waterhouse paintings to understand him, but if you try to paint “New Waterhouse painting” it will be your painting. but not a Waterhouse art. If you sign “Waterhouse” on your painting, it will be just fake painting.

                          You can get very close. Studying personality for creative output gives HUGE insights into methodology. The two are intertwined. Without knowing the Artist what chance have you of emulating them? Look at the Chinese knockoffs done in slave labour work camps. The pictures LOOK like a Monet or Waterhouse. But theres something missing from each and everyone one of them. Like i said it depends how far you want to go. For a snapshot imitation anything goes.

                          #890127
                          wal_t
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                            By the way … the painting is a Andrew Tischler painting in the style/subject choice of Waterhouse and I think he did very well …. the drawing he made with a grid method but it was not detailed at all and finished quite quickly and I do believe that is better as too accurate a drawing hinders your painting being afraid to go outside the lines :-).

                            He has a short online tutorial (and a video you can buy) on this painting.

                            #890142
                            Raffless
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                              By the way … the painting is a Andrew Tischler painting in the style/subject choice of Waterhouse and I think he did very well …. the drawing he made with a grid method but it was not detailed at all and finished quite quickly and I do believe that is better as too accurate a drawing hinders your painting being afraid to go outside the lines :-).

                              He has a short online tutorial (and a video you can buy) on this painting.

                              Fair play to Tischler. If not 100% satisfied money back. I think everyone should do this with tutorials.

                              #890137
                              Anaida9999
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                                Hi

                                Thanks all for taking time to reply much appreciated.

                                Colors I have used – burnt umber / alternative lead white (not titanium based i think?)/ alizaron crimson/ yellow oxide/cadmium red/cobalt blue / ultra mine blue/ cadmium yellow/manganese violet. All Michael Harding paints.

                                I will try and paint more layers and get shadows in there and try to make the face more 3d and put contrast in there as per advice given.

                                #890128
                                wal_t
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                                  The Waterhouse painting that served as inspiration …..

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