BY PATRICIA DUFF
Whidbey Art Source editor
Painter Rob Schouten is Dutch.
Perhaps his Nederlandish qualities connect him naturally to the method of the Flemish Masters of the early fifteenth century. Painters such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling built up exquisite works in repeated layers of paint, often as glazes over thin layers of opaque oil paint. Schouten said he emulates such methods while creating his newest work, a figurative painting from photographs of which van Eyck and Memling would certainly approve.
Here Schouten is doing something special and different from his previous works.
Photographs of the model, Amy Walker, began the process, after which the painter went to work sketching the painting, including the blanket that partially covers the model and becomes the mountainous region complete with conifer forests surrounding the Gulliver-like figure which maintains Schouten’s magic realist style.
After drawing the figure and background, Schouten began the under-painting process, following the brush stroke style of those Great Masters.
Schouten said he uses raw umber to establish the tones, shadows and values. He paints in fine detail, a style that is particular to all his work. “This careful under-painting greatly facilitates the final balanced composition, accurate depictions of light and chromatic subtleties,” Schouten said.
Schouten has spent more than 300 hours on the painting before he begins to apply translucent layers of color. He starts with the sky, mountains and background. The figure will be the last element he paints.
It will be at least two or three months before this piece will be done.
“I’ve been posting my progress on the Rob Schouten Gallery Facebook page about every two weeks,” Schouten said.
Stop by the Rob Schouten Gallery at Greenbank Farm to talk to the painter and find out more about this painting and his body of work.