Dutch-Flemish Oil Painting

It's been so busy this past year and while I am unable to share any of the projects I've been working on just yet, I can share progress on single painting I've been working on in Sadie Valeri's classical atelier in San Francisco.  Sadie teaches the Dutch-Flemish method of oil painting and I thought it would be a fantastic way for me to get back into oils again, having not worked with the medium since college. I chose to paint a small skull of a marten, an animal related to the weasel, which I already owned and a copper mug that was part of Sadie's collection of objects.

Unfortunately I neglected to take photos of the process from the beginning so I don't have any pics of the drawing on it's own and the open grisaille layer by itself.

It starts here, with the beginnings of closed grisaille over the open grisaille.

The open grisaille is study of the value range of the subject in Burnt Umber only, without any white paint, leaving the white of the canvas open in the light areas.

The closed grisaille uses a mix of Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue, and White. I mix a string of gray values using these colors and flesh out the values of the painting even further, sealing the canvas fully in paint.

Over the closed grisaille I began to lay down color.

This technique is a slow process and I only have the opportunity to come in once a week to work on it.


This is where the painting is now, with two additional layers of color over the grisaille.  There will be more layers and more detail eventually added to the copper mug which has a great weathered and beaten up texture on it.

And finally here is the still life set-up and my palette on a given day.  I likely have several more sessions to go before this is complete.


My artist friend Julia Lundman has also been working on a painting at Sadie's atelier and she has written extensively about the process on her blog.  I highly recommend checking it out!