I’ve been practicing airbrush variations on the classic oil painting technique known either as the “Flemish Technique” or the “7-layer Technique”. I chose the reference image of actress Summer Glau because it offered a comfortable set of detail, an interesting range of colors and contrasts, and it was a nice face to look at.

One of the complications of the Flemish Technique is that each layer is supposed to be painted and dried separately — no on-board color mixing. The paints I usually use, E’tac FX, don’t easily offer this separation of layers. As the colors are water-soluble, they will mix on the board. So…there’s that. Then there’s the fact that this paper doesn’t behave like the gessoboard and clayboard supports that I favor. So, another obstacle.

Despite this, this practice piece evolved fairly quickly. The early stages that laid the foundation were relatively forgiving and allowed for some from-the-hip paint shooting. Paying attention to the gray and dead-color stages made the final stages much easier.

This is the second in the “technique practice” set of paintings that are to nail down a system that works for me and that I’m happy with. I crashed and burned with the first test as I forgot a step. Oops. This painting also suffers from paint splatters and a few “oops” of its own (which I didn’t fix because this is practice), but overall I’m happy with how everything came together. Definitely a hopeful sign.