A Wet White Magician

The Pre-Raphaelites were famous for their use of a technique called “wet-white” painting, in which the artist first paints the flesh areas of a figure white, then blends into and over the layer of white with transparent flesh tones. I’ve used this technique here on the Magician’s face; the photos show a progression of the stages, ending (in the fifth photo) with a flesh-coloured face that needed a little detail and reworking with white highlights and a touch of glazing, some Van Dyke Brown in dark areas and a tiny bit of Cadmium Red to bring a little colour to her lips and cheeks.

In examining the Pre-Raphaelites’ work in my books and in galleries I see some quite monochromatic rendering in the faces and hands that isn’t as developed as I would like, so I’ll probably add a couple more layers to the work to re-define some features of the face that I’m not entirely happy with.

About pearce

Michael Pearce is an artist, writer, and professor of art. He is the author of "Art in the Age of Emergence."
This entry was posted in Magician, Making work, Pre-raphaelite. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Wet White Magician

  1. pearce says:

    Do you still have that painting of the red-headed girl with the frog?

  2. Mike,

    This looks pretty damn good. Don’t like your brushes if you are using real cadmium red. It leads to brain tumors and cancers. Yes, I use real cadmium red, and yes I like my brushes. Need I say more to convince you of the dangers?

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