Velazquez Master Study

Final image - highlights added and the detail of the clothing - you can see how the paint has been dragged over a dry surface giving clues to the process of painting the shirt.

Final image - highlights added and the detail of the clothing - you can see how the paint has been dragged over a dry surface giving clues to the process of painting the shirt.

The main mass of the cloths are painted in along with refinement of the facial structure

The main mass of the cloths are painted in along with refinement of the facial structure

I think he would then work the features of the face - maybe this is too detailed without the lay in for the cloths but looking at the painting I think they would have been done in maybe two sittings - the face I guess at about 4.

I think he would then work the features of the face - maybe this is too detailed without the lay in for the cloths but looking at the painting I think they would have been done in maybe two sittings - the face I guess at about 4.

Laying in the base for the face, looking at the main planes and colour with a plan to allow some to show through later, I think at this point he would also mass in the BG. There are areas where you can see where he cleaned his brush on the canvas!

Laying in the base for the face, looking at the main planes and colour with a plan to allow some to show through later, I think at this point he would also mass in the BG. There are areas where you can see where he cleaned his brush on the canvas!

Using a darker brown, I guess he would map in the basic shapes and features

Using a darker brown, I guess he would map in the basic shapes and features

Brown ground, I feel like he would not paint this flat but would give variety to suggest the pose

Brown ground, I feel like he would not paint this flat but would give variety to suggest the pose

This gif shows an approximation of how the painting might have been built up.

This gif shows an approximation of how the painting might have been built up.

I've taken some time to get back to doing a master study, something I haven't done properly for years. I chose to study the portrait of Juan de Pareja painted by Velazquez in 1649-50. It was such a great learning experience! Velazquez used a variety of techniques - areas like the collar were most likely painted Alla Prima, or at the most in two stages. The brush work is expressive with a variety of thick and thin paint. The face was amazing to study - I have shown in the images how I think he may have worked the different stages. forming the planes of the face with the darker/warmer colour before building to thicker mids and then using a mix of glazing and scumbling to create variation in skin tone. The eyes are also really interesting - Velazquez was a master of edges and the eyes use a mix of hard and soft edges to create the final effect. I'd like to do a longer write up but no space here sadly!