Thistles in China Vase – Ruth Francis
“Thistles in China Vase”
Painting size 18 x 22″
Framed Oil on Wood Panel
Grisaille (grizi, grizaya) (plural: Grisailles)
Italian masters like Caravaggio first used the grisaille technique to crate the Italian style of chiaroscuro. From Roam the technique spread throughout Europe. Dutch master, Vermeer, Rubens and Rembrandt were greatly influenced by this technique and they brought it to its all time high. First the painting is created only in black, white and gray tones. This underpainting is the foundation of the finished work and must be created with exact perfection. Somewhat like a black and white photo. Then the painting is colorized with multi layers of transparent oil colors. This produces rich, luminous effects of radiant light and translucent shadows. Glazing is then sometime used by mixing transparent colors with linseed oil and varnish applied over the dry grisaille painting.
This is a very time-consuming process and demands both drawing skills and painting skills of the highest level. Many artists today would not devote the time or skill development to produce a painting using the Grisaille method. But I find it the most rewarding method of painting.