Dante’s Inferno Canto II (55) Beatriz Summons Virgil in Limbo 2012
“I was among those who are suspended in Limbo, when a Lady called me. She was so blessed and beautiful that I asked her to command me. Her eyes were more luminous than the stars, and she began to speak to me sweetly and quietly, with an angelic voice, in her own tongue.”
Jim Belton’s modern language version of Canto II by Dante Alighieri. Click here to readCanto II.
I’m using duck cloth. It’s heavy, plain woven cotton fabric.
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.
Here is the primed canvas on the easel.
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.
Mixing the Emulsion
I started off using these earth colors: blanco de España, zinc oxide, verde Veronese, transparent gold ocher and vine black.
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.
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.
Session 1 egg tempera under painting in process
I start adding color and still painting thinly.
Session 2 egg tempera under painting
This is the under painting.
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.
Session 4 egg tempera under painting
I used gold leaf to represent the light.
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.
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.
Session 6 oil painting
Resin oil is a mixture of stand oil, thickened linseed oil and venetian turpentine.
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.
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.
Beatriz decends from a place that she longs to return to visit Virgil whose soul is suspended in Limbo. She asks Virgil to guide her friend Dante out of the dark forest where he is trapped by three beasts. Virgil describes Beatriz as having eyes that surpassed the spledor of the star’s.
Starting with a rough draft in watercolor from a thought is the way I sometimes begin a painting; continuing with tempera and finishing with Resin-oil is how I might finish a painting.
I usually do some small rough drafts before starting a painting. These first five drafts are watercolors.
So anyway, this is just what I did. I started with five or six small rough drafts in watercolor. I picked one and started a 80 cm x 100 cm canvas painting of the watercolor in egg tempera technique. After copying the watercolor as best I could, I continued building up the idea and the paint. I finished with resin-oil which gives the finish a candied look.
I like big formats, so I try to have a clear idea. I like large but not too large sizes like 80 cm x 100 cm and 150 cm x 100 cm.
Tempera is great for under-painting or you can leave it as is – unvarnished. It’s so quick and changeable and accepts oil over-painting perfectly well as a finished painting.
The thought is that I’m interested in robotics in the sense of West World and Artificial Intelligence; two emotionally impacting movies I saw that surprised me.
I’ve been looking at some of the latest robots in you tube as well as other things and fiction is becoming reality as usual.
My painting is about how fiction and reality are closely knit.
There is something about robots; I’m sure you’ve noticed too.
The Art Making Process of a Resin-oil Painting; a Spin-off from a Watercolor.
Most painters work in more than one medium because variety offers many possibilities of expression. I made a spin-off of the watercolor ‘Glass Bottles on top of Antique Closet’ in resin-oil. Resin-oil is a medium in which you mix oil with with thickened linseed oil and Venetian turpentine. This medium gives a candied effect with vivid colors. I use resin-oil in a more expressionistic manner than my watercolor and tempera paintings. I like the happy accidents and drips that show up on the canvas. There is one drawback regarding resin-oil; the room where you paint needs to have plenty of ventilation because the vapors are very strong.
This is the watercolor ‘Glass Bottles on top of Antique Closet’. I chose this to make the resin-oil.
I use linseed oil, thickened linseed oil, Venetian turpentine, dry pigments and odorless petroleum spirits as part of my equipment.
I mix dry pigment with linseed oil.
When you mix the dry pigment with linseed oil with a spatula, the paint has to stand up like butter, not run down to meet the surface.
When you finish your painting session, clean your brushes with petroleum spirit, wash them carefully with warm water and soap and hang them upside down to dry.
I don’t always begin with a drawing, but since I’m making a copy of my watercolor in a different meduim, I want to control the out come.
I always try to work all around the picture plane, developing everything at the same time in order to find harmony.
I’m still working all around the picture plane, putting down the exact color I see in an area and leaving it there without smudging it around the canvas. The dry pigments are on the easel in little plastic containers.
My Favorite Bottles 2015 This is the final result of the resin-oil on canvas.