With apologies to Vermeer

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Comment by HDraw on March 9, 2011 at 9:51am
Aha, Veermer. What a technique.
Comment by Prosenjit Roy on December 28, 2010 at 10:10pm
Hi Anil, yes that was most helpful, thank you! I'm not really surprised at the cost, the W&N synthetics I checked cost about Rs 350/- each (going upwards from there along with brush size) so 18 pounds for a set of three waterbrushes is more or less in the same range (@ 6 pounds or Rs 417 each). I guess I'll stick to whatever I can find atm.
Comment by J L Anil Kumar on December 28, 2010 at 5:42pm

Oops! The set of three brushes costs 18 Pounds, I am told. The bristles are indeed pliant and appear strong. 


Personally I would not dare try acrylic with them. One forgetful moment, the bristles would be ruined I am afraid. I am now going to try the aquarel with the brushes.

Comment by J L Anil Kumar on December 28, 2010 at 2:26pm

I laughed so much when I read your comment! Yes, I do tend not to work on the back of used A4!


More "serious" matters. I used regular watercolours to do this. I had seen Prabha Narayanan use them to great effect and hence got them, but from England through my sister. I do not know the price. Will find out and let you know. Prabha also tried here but could not find them in any shop here.


Yes the handle is bit of a problem. When I tend to do finer strokes, I realised, that I grip harder and water flows faster and complicates things. With some practice it may be controlled perhaps. I plan to try them on Aquarel today! Hope this answers some of your questions? 

Comment by Prosenjit Roy on December 28, 2010 at 10:06am
"I was in a hurry to try my newly acquired Pentel water brushes!" - haha! Very heartening to see you being bitten by the art materials bug, your days of working on the backside of used A4 pages are truly over :D

Ahh now that you mention those brushes, I'm seeing this painting in a new light, esp at the fluid blues in her headwear. I was looking at their website and wondering if they make brushes with longer handles. Since the squeezy area is what you use to hold the brush, do you feel like its interfering with your grip? Locally made ROUND, SYNTHETIC brushes of good quality aren't easily available around here, and the W&N's I was checking out yesterday are prohibitively expensive if one wants to buy a set. I wish they would make better quality synthetic rounds in India. The store said they are looking into it.

So, if the bristles are strong as well as adequately flexible in pentel, could they also be of dual use e.g. in using for regular watercolors or acrylics? I wonder if that'd ruin the brushes original functionality as well as purpose. If I may ask, how much did they cost you?

As I was writing this I found these interesting articles on waterbrush - I understand they are very good for working on small areas e.g. on sketchbooks while working outdoors (like in the Pencil Jam sessions)


I'm so glad you decided to post the study - there is no good or bad with such a work, only what one could learn from it. In addition I got to learn about water brushes, so thank YOU Anil Sahib :)
Comment by J L Anil Kumar on December 28, 2010 at 8:06am
Dada! Thanks for the comments and hints. Let me admit one thing up front. I saw that the lower half of the face was wrong the moment I drew or marked the outline of the right cheek. But I was plain lazy to correct it. I was in a hurry to try my newly acquired Pentel water brushes! I regretted posting this, the moment I did so. Now, I feel not so bad, thanks to what I can learn from your comments. :-)
I was amazed at the details that are in this apparently simple painting. I feel that I was blind all these years! There is a faint vertical line behind the girl, for instance, that was totally invisible until I tried to see where the girls back would end, so that I could indicate that! Having seen this picture so often for decades, I thought I "knew" it! I even had it as my desktop image for a while. I wonder how much more it is hiding!
I had been planning to study this for quite some time. I must thank Shilpa who posted her sketch of the same painting recently, which prompted me to do it at last!
Comment by Prosenjit Roy on December 27, 2010 at 9:52pm
One of the most famous portraits - kudos to you for studying it. I'm sure you've gathered a wealth of info already.

Sometimes its helpful to study a significant work more than once. If you try this again, please check the relative vertical dimensions of the middle and lower thirds of the face.

Easiest way to do this is to sit back at some distance from the reference (screen or pic), hold a thin pencil or knitting needle upright in your extended arm, and measure (using the length between tip of pencil and your thumb as unit) the distances between eye-brow and bottom of nose, and then from the latter to the bottom of chin. The standard is to assume these distances to be equal, although the lower third is a bit shorter.



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