Figurative Mixed Media Painting Process of Canto IV, an Illustration of Limbo inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy

I start with stretcher bars.

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73 cm x 100 cm or 28.74 in x 39.37 in

I’m using duck cloth. It’s heavy, plain woven cotton fabric.

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duck cloth

I mounted the material on the stretcher bars, gave it a thin coat of rabbit skin glue (let it dry) and then I primed it.  Primer:  Mix equal amounts of zinc oxide, calcium sulfate and rabbit skin glue.  Pour the rabbit skin glue into the zinc oxide and calcium sulfate little by little mixing with a brush.

Primer

Primer

Here is the primed canvas on the easel.

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Primed Canvas

Egg tempera emulsion is made by mixing an egg, oil, varnish and water together in a tall flask of equal proportions, shaking after each ingredient in that respective order.

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Mixing the Emulsion

I started off using these earth colors: blanco de España, zinc oxide, verde Veronese, transparent gold ocher and vine black.

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Dry Pigment with Emulsion and Spatula for mixing

This is what the pigments look like when mixed with the emulsion.  This is a water based medium.

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Pigment mixed with emulsion and water container

Egg tempera can be watered down as thinly as you like, but not always as thick as you like.

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Session 1 egg tempera under painting in process

I start adding color and still painting thinly.

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Session 2 egg tempera under painting

This is the under painting.

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Session 3 egg tempera under painting

Canto IV describes a castle emanating a fire-like-light in limbo within a dark forest void of light.

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Session 4 egg tempera under painting

I used gold leaf to represent the light.

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Gold leaf

I paint the area where I want to put the gold leaf on because the canvas has to be sealed or the gold leaf won’t stick.

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Session 5 gold leaf

Here, I’ve just started to use oil color.  I mixed dry pigment with poppy seed oil.  When mixed, the paint should stand up like butter.

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Session 6 oil painting

Resin oil is a mixture of stand oil, thickened linseed oil and venetian turpentine.

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Session 7 resin oil

With wet resin oil, you can paint hair-line brush strokes into it with egg tempera and switch back and forth with tempera and oil.  This is a mixed media.  You must always follow the rule of fat over lean.

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Canto IV, Limbo Session 8

 I’m waiting for this painting to dry completely so I can decide whether I want to stop or continue.

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