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How was that oil painting made

We were in the middle of re-creating a oil painting of a girl by John Singer Sargent..

Essentially, the same thing is done again, just more carefully. Edges become more established, corrections are made and features begin to get indicated. Note that I said “indicated” only. Not finished.

The main areas of light and shadow become more defined, like on the red sash and the shadow area on the girl’s face.

He was always preparing his oil painting for those final strokes that make the oil painting special. That make Sargent the great painter that he was.

Those special things that can’t be taught.

Now, the time has come. He has done his preparation well. His foundation was done. Time to start getting into the details now.

Time to make final decisions and get more into the real drawing part now. Outlines are sharpened even more. Light areas on the hair are established. Features can begin to be concentrated on because the main large shape of the face has been established. In other words, the foundation for the features was set.

In the last stages all the detail is worked out.

All of the things most people will notice and admire first are all added now.Yes he would take a lot of time getting these details right. But, he could give them his full concentration

painting by john singer sargent stage 3

This is only possible because he spent so much time on his preparation. His main masses that hold the oil painting together.

The process is one of putting the details on top of the main masses. You keep putting paint on the canvas correcting and adding more detail. Only when Sargent had the large masses just the way he wanted them could he concentrate on the details. The eyes of the girl could have his full attention.

painting by john singer sargent stage 4Sargent knew that the main masses were correct and would not have to worry about them. He could concentrate on only the details he was working on.

painting by john singer sargent




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