I saw my first Flemish painting in a museum in London, and was amazed at the depth and color still present in the piece after centuries. I began to study the technique and practiced it for hours a day to learn it. The depth and color that the technique allows works very well for portraits.
Jon Paul Price is originally from Matador, Texas, and currently resides in Colorado. The artist learned much of the 16th century Flemish techniques for oils from Russian artist Alexei L. Antonov, but is mostly self-taught. He creates portraits and paintings depicting food, wine, cooking, and dining.
The Flemish technique results in a rich, deep luminosity that is seldom found in other European styles of the same period. It is similar to the creation of a fine violin: the process is time consuming and requires discipline, but for the proper effect, no shortcut will suffice.
This seven layer technique was practiced and perfected by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and Frans Snyders, and is practiced by very few artists in the world today.
The technique requires an application of seven distinct layers of paint applied over a canvas coated with Flake White, laden with lead. Light shines through each layer, and is reflected back to the eye from the lead coat, resulting in a three-dimensional prism effect of light and color. Between layers (ideally dried over a seven week period), the canvas is prepared with half an onion for better absorption, and then is coated with linseed oil applied by hand. Color pigments are ground and mixed with linseed oil.
The seven layer Flemish technique for Classical Realism is as follows:
1st Layer: Imprimatura: an olive green coat to establish the medium tonality of the lightest area of the painting.
2nd and 3rd Layer: Umbra Underlayer: a burnt umber coat performed in two layers begins the tonality of the overall painting.
4th Layer: Dead Underlayer: blue and gray tones cause the subject to appear as if it were lit with moonlight. This layer prepares the surface for the color layers.
5th and 6th Layers: Color layers: thin applications of color in two layers allow previous underlayers to show through, achieving the luminous effect of the Old Masters.
7th Layer: Finishing layer: the final layer provides details, reflections, highlights, and glazing of transparent colors over solid masses of color.
The artist is also studying the techniques of 17th century Dutch artists, especially Johannes Vermeer, and is producing bronze sculptures with Western themes.