Liberace’s Velázquez to Sorolla Workshop, Day 3

Liberace during his “Fortuny” style demo on Day 3 of his workshop.

On the third day of his Velázquez to Sorolla Workshop, Rob Liberace covered the working methods of Fortuny (Mariano Fortuny Marsal) 1838-1874. He painted the full figure (as seen above) to take advantage of the wonderful costumes the models were wearing. This for me was one of the most exciting aspects of the workshop. How often do you get to paint a guy in swash buckling boots like the ones the model is wearing? Um, not often enough.

Rob’s Fortuny palette consisted of many of the paints used for his Velázquez palette with the addition of Flemish White, Cadmium Red, Yellow and Orange and Alizarin (which back then would have been fugitive).

Here are my notes taken from that day:

  • In the 1870s new colors were beginning to appear like chrome yellow & cadmiums so artists began to see more color in the transitions of light. Greens & purples in the shadows, lemon in the highlights.
  • Fortuny did not use white in his underpaintings–essentially taking out a step & then jumped into his color.
  • Begins with a gestural drawing in Umber over a Sienna wash to wet the canvas.
  • Don’t smooth or polish over the anatomy of your paintings. It makes them look like mannequins.
  • “The few curves that I put in are purely decorative. Draw in angles.”
  • Angle, angle, angle. Find the shape of things, the “high ground”.
  • Try to find the “high points” or directions in the fabric.
  • Applies paint on the face thickly on the large planes of light & thins it carefully around the features.
  • “My brush is a pencil, not a brush. If I think of it like that I can get a better handle on the detail.”
  • “On the lips don’t draw severe lines. Use color to dapple & disintegrate the line. Fortuny did this a lot. Watteau too.”
  • “Everything I do I want my surfaces to look really good”.
Detail of Liberace’s Fortuny style demo.

Here is the first painting I was happy with at the workshop. Felt like I made an alla prima break thru with it.

My Fortuny inspired painting. I just loved this model & his costume!

And for a little more info on Fortuny, check out this link to Armand Cabrera’s Art and Influence blog.

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