Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Seven Layer Techique in Painting

wara t-teatru Marcello - Ruma - 70x70cm 2007

I have always been intrigued by the seven layer technique in oil painting. Apparently, Old Dutch masters painted their works in seven different layers, allowing each layer to dry for seven weeks before continuing. Some documentation also refers to the rubbing of the painting surface with an onion after the fourth or fifth layer. Although the exact explanation was not discovered, it is believed that the natural components of an onion "set" or "condition" the surface of the oil paint. An explanation of the whole process can be found HERE.

Following this process, a painting would be ready at least after 49 weeks. Very few artists today use this method and one can understand why but the idea of working in layers has always attracted me. There are two main reasons why, firstly because using different layers makes it easier to exploit the transparent qualities of diluted paint and secondly the whole process of building up a painting is highly fascinating.

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