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Welcome at To be defined, a website filled with creativity. Here you will find numerous manuals in words and images on various subjects. On this page you can only see a selection. Choose from the menu on the left for more articles on your favorite topic.
St. Eulalia, John William WaterhouseI went to the exhibition of J.W. Waterhouse at the Groninger Museum. Absolutely stunning, truly. Waterhouse primarily painted women, often as part of a mythological story. St. Eulalia is inspired by the saint Eulalia. Eulalia died a martyr in 304 AD because she refused to make sacrifices to the Roman gods. The punishment was extremely cruel. When she died, a white dove flew out of Eulalia's mouth, and miraculously, it began to snow. The snow extinguished the flames on her body that had been set on fire. A gruesome story, but such a beautiful artwork.

CutoutI won't even come close to replicating Waterhouse's artwork, but that's not my intention. Eulalia is drawn with extreme foreshortening, which is precisely what I'm practicing in my studies. One way to practice is by copying, whether in part or in full, works of the great masters. What a beautiful subject for study.
sketch with charcoalI have a canvas measuring 120 by 100 cm that I want to use for this study, which I'll paint in grayscale with acrylic paint. The proportions are slightly different from the chosen detail, but I want the subject to fill the canvas, so I adjust the perspective slightly. A slightly less extreme foreshortening. I've roughly painted the canvas with grayscale tones. This makes it easier for me to start; I dislike working on a white canvas. I make the sketch on this speckled background with charcoal. It works perfectly. You can smudge, erase, and start over as many times as you like. Once I'm satisfied, I'll fix the drawing.
making the background lighterAfter completing the sketch, I start lightening the background. Whether it becomes snow or tiles doesn't matter much to me; it's mainly about the figure. It's incredible how the body suddenly emerges when the background is lightened. Things you know from theory but still marvel at in practice.
Painting the feetIt's difficult to determine the right skin tone, so I decide to paint the feet first to see if I have the right shade. I also start painting a small part of the upper body.
The hairThe hair is quite dark, so I paint it first. This makes it easier for me to see if the body isn't too dark. I add some tone to the hair but not too meticulously. It will ultimately be an exercise, a sketch in acrylic. Now it's evident that the body is still too dark.
adjusting the colorsSo, the body needs to be much lighter, and that's what I'm doing now. I won't stop lightening until I'm satisfied with the shade. Otherwise, I'll have to redo all the details if I'm not happy with the skin tone later on. I also start painting part of the garment around the legs. This hue significantly influences the adjacent body color.
a little more volumeI'm still not entirely happy with the shape of the breasts; they're still too flat. I also add a shadow under the lower part of the garment on the right side. This immediately creates a sense of space. The left arm and hand are now detailed. The face is also painted.
The right handNow it's time for the right hand. There's still a bit of the rope with which Eulalia was tied to the cross around this hand. The nose seems a bit too long. I've slightly altered the perspective, which also affects the portrayal of the face. Therefore, I decide to make the nose slightly shorter and, in my opinion, more realistic.
The left thumbI'm not entirely satisfied with the left hand. Although the thumb isn't really visible in the picture, I add a tiny piece. I add some extra shadows here and there. The body is now almost finished.
the garmentsFinally, the garment needs to be worked on. Not as perfectly as in Waterhouse's work. Apart from the fact that it might never be achieved, it would also take too much time for this exercise. So, I mainly focus on lines that represent the shape of the body under the garment. I leave the artwork for a while; there are often a few small things that bother me that I can adjust later.
the feet adjustedAnd indeed... the feet... the line in the middle at the top. Two things that irritate me immensely. The feet seem too large for the rest of the body. So, I make them a bit smaller. The line at the top is in line with the fold in the garment, and it doesn't feel right. So, I adjust it slightly. This feels much better now.

The exercise is complete. It leaves me wanting more... perhaps the next exercise in color, or in oil paint...