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A little different

Discussion in 'Step by Step' started by retiredgarnham, May 22, 2020.

  1. retiredgarnham

    retiredgarnham Triple Actioner

    Dec 11, 2013
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    Worthing UK
    As I love genre paintings "Paintings that tell a story", I decided to paint a version from an old master. My wife and I love Vermeer so she chose the painting that I would try to copy.
    This is the original


    Vermeer painted this in 1666 and it tells a story of the Mistress at her writing table receiving a letter given to her from her maid. Story goes that the letter is from her lover. That's where the intrigue begins. Is she married and taken a lover?. Does the maid know who the letter is from. There were many such questions asked after the painting became famous, long after Vermeer's death, and that's what I love about these kind of paintings.

    So onto my painting. Firstly I sourced the colour pallet that Vermeer used, Not too many colours actually.
    • Ultramarine Blue
    • Green Earth
    • Vermillion
    • Red Lake
    • Red Earth
    • Led Tin Yellow
    • Yellow Earth
    • Yellow Lake Pigment
    • Bone Black
    • Charcoal Black
    • Lead White
    Obviously I didn't have all of these hues so I substituted some of the more obscure hues for more modern hues.

    After double Gessoing my canvass and rubbing down the final coat I set out my plan of attack.
    I then mapped out the basic forms and bulk of the painting. Next I set to with the background as I usually paint in this fashion. Incidently it was found that Vermeer painted a tapestry as a background to this painting but later covered it up with what is seen today and that's a curtain.


    Once completed I then drew in the maid with heavy marks to signify where her various bits went.

    Didn't like the top so I painted it out. So starting again I repainted it.
    Much better, I thought. Next the face and collar
    Onto the table cloth and it's ornaments. I had to move to another spot in my studio to accommodate the size of the painting.
    The lady in question came next.
    Notice the background paint marks removed next to the maid. This was caused because I attempted to cover the canvass with a gloss medium using a brush. "What a mistake to make", LoL not!!
    So I removed all of the background and repainted it. But no where near as good as my first attempt. After touching up various areas, such as the maids shoulders and the mistresses hair and shadows on her house coat, not to mention the maids face, I sprayed gloss medium using the airbrush.
    Final product,
    25.jpg end photo.JPG

    So to summarise, a copy of Vermeers Mistress and Maid c1666, painted using Crfeatex Illustration, Com-Art, Golden Hi-Flo and EFX, on canvass 20" x 16" (51 cms x 40.5 cms). Airbrushes used were H&S Infinity 0.15mm, Evolution 0.2mm, Evolution Silverline 0.2mm and my trusty Bartsharp 186 0.2mm.

    I have made a video of me painting the piece but have no way of showing it. It's not apparent but no masks or templates were used throughout the process although I did use the odd bit of masking tape to reduce a bit of overspray when repainting the background.
    Hope you like it, and don't forget all criticism is gratefully received. Stay safe.

    Attached Files:

  2. jord001

    jord001 Air-Valve Autobot!

    Aug 23, 2012
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    Birmingham UK
    Looks great, I love some of the old masters works. Its good to be able to reproduce them you will learn lots from how they did it. Good work, really like seeing stuff like this.

    huskystafford and SiRoxx like this.
  3. Franc Kaiser

    Franc Kaiser Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

    Mar 22, 2018
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    You can’t be more ambitious than emulating Vermeer, but you nailed it and knocked it out of the park! Awesome work!
    huskystafford, SiRoxx and jord001 like this.
  4. MikeyDee

    MikeyDee Triple Actioner

    Mar 5, 2019
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    Staten Island NY
    OMG, This is great. The details in clothing and face and in the table cloth. Fantastic. Small details are wonderful and the canvas has such a smooth texture to it.
    huskystafford, SiRoxx and jord001 like this.
  5. SiRoxx

    SiRoxx Party Boy UK Style Staff Member Mod Very Likeable!

    Aug 15, 2017
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    Excellent job and a nice SBS too. Thanks for sharing.
    huskystafford, MikeyDee and jord001 like this.

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