Verdaccio was used by various Renaissance artists. It has been in use as far back as the later half of the 13th century. Artists from that time period include both Giotto di Bondone (1266-1377), and Cennino Cenini (1370-1440). Both of these art masters used the verdaccio technique in a number of works. Also, of the most famous paintings in the world, and if not the most famous painting, ‘The Mona Lisa’ by Leonardo Da Vinci is said to be done using this very technique. The Verdaccio technique was used by many other great artists during that time and is still employed today slightly modified through the use of better materials.

Roger Ehmpke in front of easel painting verdaccio for his wifes portraitMy Verdaccio underpainting consists of a green-grey, nine value mixture. This underpainting technique allows me accurate flesh tones, and adds classical realism into the upper layers of my portraits. My technique is a variation on the technique which had evolved by the mid 14th century.

In the begining of my process, I block wash in the greenish grey mixture. The verdaccio I use during this stage is a combination of
Chromium Oxide Green,
Flake White, and
Ivory Black. It is also thinned down with turpentine or it is sometimes called ( turps ) for short. I watch the lean to fat ratio as I do not wish to have my painting begin cracking or chipping off over time. This has happened in many of the old masters paintings. The environment causes some materials to expand and contract, as this happens the oil film that has been created by the mixture of the oil and air begins to become unstable and fractures show up.

close up of Roger Ehmpke painting wifes portrait with verdaccio technique

During this process, I always try to create an accurate likeness and continue toward that goal as I paint.

close up of Roger Ehmpke's portrait of wife in Verdaccio underpainting method

close up of Roger Ehmpke’s portrait of wife in Verdaccio underpainting method

I have a well established likeness now so I am posting this next stage.

Finally, here is an update. I took the photo around 7:00 a.m. outside and it has a slight distortion. I need to reshoot it later in the day. I have not mastered photographing my paintings. As such, I will shoot another image near 10:00 a.m. which will take away some of the glare and yellow light in the painting bellow.

rachel oilpainting nearly finished medium sized photo

I will be working in the hair, hands, and arms yet. As I said above this is a piece still in transition. I will try to get another update up soon.

Also I am no longer working with the yellow house light as I have switched to a more color corrected light system which hangs above my easel.

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