Painting the marble veining has made the day entertaining and worthwhile. I’ve been studying theÂ Pre-Raphaelite painterÂ Alma-Tadema‘s work to understand how he did his delightful passages of white stone in his beautiful paintings of an idealized Victorian version of antiquity, and spent a little time with a book that I’ve had for twenty years, Professional Painted Finishes, which describes all sorts of useful faux painting methods in an easy going format.
The veining I’m after is fairly simple, using a Cobalt Blue mixed with a little Ivory Black beside some patches of Raw Umber to make the surface vibrate between cool and warm areas. I’ve used the Raw Umber on the floor more than the walls simply because floors get dirty and stained, so the marble should be a little grimy. Alma-Tadema liked to use what looks like an Iron Oxide Red around the cracks between the slabs, so I’ll probably emulate him to get the slabs looking really rich.Â I’ll put anotherÂ glazeÂ layer of white over this work to drop the colour back into the stone a little and to increase the subtlety of transition between grain and white surface.
Master SculptorÂ Bela Bacsi came by the studio this afternoon, so I asked him for advice on the stone, seeing that he works with marble every day and is intimately acquainted with the way it is grained. He was happy with what I was doing, except to note that marble gets chipped as it gets used, so it might be a worthwhile enterprise to age the little courtyard with a little discrete damage when I get to doing more detail work.