Tag Archives: Oil Painting

Friday Night/ Saturday Afternoon Gallery Chat – Vermeer

” A Pale Green Mermaid Blog “


Good Evening!  Johannas Vermeer was an  oil painter from the 1600’s who is renowned for his use of natural light.  Even today his paintings glow with the resplendant textures and richness that only natural light can discover.

The subject matter of common activities from daily life that he portrayed makes the viewer feel as if they have stepped back into time and – they belong there.

See examples below,

The Astronomer

The Milkmaid

The Girl with the Wineglass c. 1659, by Vermeer


I did a self portrait with a poster of this Vermeer hanging on the wall, and because I painted it from a mirror -the direction of the head is flipped, she is looking over her right shoulder, any way – never noticed that- it is a beautiful painting, one of my top ten favorites,

The Girl With the Pearl Earring (1665), considered a Vermeer masterpiece

The Music Lesson or A Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman, c. 1662-65; Vermeer

FROM WIKIPEDIA  Vermeer produced transparent colours by applying paint to the canvas in loosely granular layers, a technique called pointillé (not to be confused with pointillism). No drawings have been positively attributed to Vermeer, and his paintings offer few clues to preparatory methods. David Hockney, among other historians and advocates of the Hockney-Falco thesis, has speculated that Vermeer used a camera obscura to achieve precise positioning in his compositions, and this view seems to be supported by certain light and perspective effects which would result from the use of such lenses and not the naked eye alone. The extent of Vermeer’s dependence upon the camera obscura is disputed by historians.

There is no other seventeenth century artist who early in his career employed, in the most lavish way, the exorbitantly expensive pigment lapis lazuli, or natural ultramarine. Vermeer not only used this in elements that are naturally of this colour; the earth colours umber and ochre should be understood as warm light within a painting’s strongly-lit interior, which reflects its multiple colours onto the wall. In this way, he created a world more perfect than any he had witnessed.[21] This working method most probably was inspired by Vermeer’s understanding of Leonardo’s observations that the surface of every object partakes of the colour of the adjacent object.[22] This means that no object is ever seen entirely in its natural colour.

A comparable but even more remarkable, yet effectual, use of natural ultramarine is in The Girl with a Wineglass. The shadows of the red satin dress are underpainted in natural ultramarine, and due to this underlying blue paint layer, the red lake and vermilion mixture applied over it acquires a slightly purple, cool and crisp appearance that is most powerful.


Try to take a photograph that captures the same kind of beauty and classical form, but look for it your life.

Have a great evening! 



The Art of Painting
Born Baptized 31 October 1632(1632-10-31)
Delft, Netherlands
Died 15 December 1675 (aged 43)
Delft, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Field Painting
Movement Baroque
Works About 35 paintings have been attributed
Influenced by Carel Fabritius, Leonaert Bramer, Dirck van Baburen?



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Friday Night/Saturday Morning Gallery Chat – Cecilia Beaux – Modernist

” A Pale Green Mermaid Blog “


There are few female painters that have their work outlast their lives, Cecilia Beaux’s work and her long 40 year career achieved that goal.   When I was at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (Philadelphia) which is one of the last art institutions in the country to focus on figure painting in the formative years of training a painter, Cecilia Beaux was a prime influence.


Her work set apart from her contemporaries, such as John Singer Sargent, through its clear painterly style which has a real feeling for the medium of oil painting and the portrayal of grace that infused the spirit of her subjects.   The way ahe composed her paintings, to me , seemed to be a hybrid of  photography and painting.

 Look at the image below and the subtle colors, how does it make you feel? 



From Google Images

Cecilia Beaux

Ceclia Beaux ca. 1888
Born May 1, 1855(1855-05-01)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died September 7, 1942 (aged 87)
Green Alley, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Field Portrait painting
Training Francis Adolf Van der Wielen, Académie Julian, Académie Colarossi

note: From Wikipedia

Though Beaux was an individualist, comparisons to Sargent would prove inevitable, and often favorable. Her strong technique, her perceptive reading of her subjects, and her ability to flatter without falsifying, were traits similar to his. “The critics are very enthusiastic. (Bernard) Berenson, Mrs. Coates tells me, stood in front of the portraits – Miss Beaux’s three – and wagged his head. ‘Ah, yes, I see!’ Some Sargents. The ordinary ones are signed John Sargent, the best are signed Cecilia Beaux, which is, of course, nonsense in more ways than one, but it is part of the generous chorus of praise.”[50] Though overshadowed by Mary Cassatt and relatively unknown to museum goers today, Cecilia Beaux’s craftsmanship and extraordinary output were highly regarded in her time. While presenting the Carnegie Institute’s Gold Medal to Beaux in 1899, William Merritt Chase stated “Miss Beaux is not only the greatest living woman painter, but the best that has ever lived. Miss Beaux has done away entirely with sex [gender] in art.”[51]

During her long productive life as an artist, she maintained her personal aesthetic and high standards against all distractions and countervailing forces. She constantly struggled for perfection, “A perfect technique in anything,” she stated in an interview, “means that there has been no break in continuity between the conception and the act of performance.” She summed up her driving work ethic, “I can say this: When I attempt anything, I have a passionate determination to overcome every obstacle…And I do my own work with a refusal to accept defeat that might almost be called painful.”[52]


Have a beautiful weekend!


If you get a chance stop by the Academy, it  is housed in one of the most wonderfully  old buildings in Philly,

It is the oldest Museum and school in the country.

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