Saturday, October 08, 2016

Some news at last...




This blog has become very silent in recent months. I hope to post some news from time to time. So, today I wanted to share a very recent photo of the Rigaud, I posted some months ago. This is the second version as the first one became quite hideous.

This time, I primed the canvas with a traditional gesso ground, which I seized with a thin shellack layer and then applied an imprimatura, containing siena nat., white and a small amount of nat. umber.

The whole painting was executed very directly. Some parts of the wig are and the justaucorps are still unfinished and the whole painting needs some final glazes.

Hope to keep you updated...

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Portrait after Rigaud

This is a small project I wanted to share. Very simple oil primed canvas, seized with a mixture of burnt umber and white, thinned with turpentine. The following paints by Oudt Hollandse have been used: Ivory black, Umber nat., Scheveningen geel, Naples yellow, Ultramarine light, Vermilion.

The photo's quality isn't very good. I shall endeavour to publish a better version as soon as possible.

Saturday, March 22, 2014



Little Landscape
Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 cm, first state after grossly sketching in the main forms.

Spent an afternoon at my easel. See the result above.

Oil primed canvas, seized with a mixture of white and ivory black, bound in oil, thinned with turpentine. Colours used: white, siena nat., burnt umber, ultramarine blue, chrome yellow, ivory black. Medium used: 2 parts damar varnish 1:4, 1 part turpentine, 1 part sun dried linseed oil.

Photo is a bit blurred, I'm afraid. Shall try to post a better one soon.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Eustache Le Sueur III

First very rough and sketchy step of the painting process.

Update: 30.07.2013

Update 03.08.2013


Monday, December 10, 2012



Eustache Le Sueur II

Copy of Christ on the Cross with the Magdalen, the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist, about 1643, oil on canvas, 105 x 70 cm (original size: 109 x 73.1 cm), The National Gallery, London. 

I have now managed to seize the gesso ground, using a mixture of linseed oil, sun thickened linseed oil and damar varnish (1:0,5:1). During application one has to see that all excess oil is removed immediately by means of a lint-free cloth.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Eustache Le Sueur

Christ on the Cross with the Magdalen, the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist, about 1643, oil on canvas, 109 x 73.1 cm, The National Gallery, London.

I appear to have finally managed to starting a new project, despite all the great many imponderables I am confronted with in seminary. The above mentioned painting is one of my favourites, actually Le Sueur is perfection. He has all that greatness and splendour that one expects from a painter of the "Grande Epoque", how diligent his brushwork seems, how sublime his colouring shines, one is just - stunned really in looking at his pictures. But he doesn't make the mistake of being overdiligent, no, not at all, he manages to adopt a certain "diligent negligence", his brushwork clearly reveals the ideal of sprezzatura.

On Sunday afternoon, I have prepared a gesso ground, using just a mixture of rabbit skin glue (70:1000), gesso, zinc white and fired earth. Next week, I shall seize the canvas with a concoction of damar varnish, sun thickened linseed oil and a small amount of linseed oil. I am going to post some photographs next week.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Titian
Oil on canvas, 100x73, first preliminary steps.

Yes, I know, Titian is a tricky one indeed. And this seems to be a bit of a compromise, technically speaking. I didn't prepare a gesso ground and seized it with the usually recommended mixture of mastix and brown earth. I didn't sketch in the forms by means of egg temper and lead white. I simply prepared an oil ground, seized it with a bit of natural umber and white and then sketched in the forms with thinned paint. There is much to be done and the overall impression seems to be a bit of an amateurish try. But I shall endeavour to improve the painting step by step...

Paints used:
Oudt Hollandse
White (one can't obtain lead white in Germany any more - disaster!)
Siena nat., Umber nat., Vermillion, Red Lake, Ultramarine blue, Ivory black

Medium:
Damar varnish 1:10, Boiled linseed oil 1:1

Monday, June 11, 2012


"Meinst Du mich?"
Gastvortrag von Nicki Schaepen an der Katholisch-Theologischen Fakultät Augsburg, Stiftungsprofessur Theologie des geistlichen Lebens, am 31. Mai 2012

„An diesem Abend wollen wir die gute Tradition der Gastvorträge fortsetzen.“ mit diesen Worten begrüßte Herr Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Vogl, Stiftungsjuniorprofessor für Theologie des geistlichen Leben an der Universität Augsburg, am 31. Mai 2012 die anwesenden Gäste zum Vortrag des Kunsthistorikers, Theologiestudenten und Malers Nicki Schaepen, der nach Augsburg gekommen war, um über das Thema „Eine gemalte Messtheologie? Caravaggios Gemälde für die Contarelli-Kapelle im Spiegel der tridentinischen Reform.“ zu sprechen.

In seinem quellen- und kenntnisreichen Vortrag stellte Nicki Schaepen von den insgesamt drei Gemälden der Contarelli-Kapelle das Bild mit der Bekehrung des Zöllners Matthäus in den Mittelpunkt. Zunächst ging er detailliert auf die Komposition dieses Bildes ein, um die Zuhörer zu den theologie- und spiritualitätsgeschichtlichen Dimensionen des Gemäldes hinzuführen. Dabei erwähnte er auch die in der Fachwelt anhaltende Diskussion über die genaue Bestimmung der abgebildeten Personen. Ausführlich ging Nicki Schaepen auf die In-situ-Bedeutung des Gemäldes mit der sich in der Kapelle vollziehenden Messliturgie als Schlüssel zum Verständnis des theologischen Bildprogramms der Kapelle ein. Dabei lieferte der Doktorand der Kunstgeschichte auf hohem wissenschaftlichen Niveau eine detailreiche und in allen Punkten nachvollziehbare Interpretation des Berufungsbildes. Nicki Schaepen gelang es, Lichtführung, Komposition, Gestik und Bewegungsmotive der Akteure vor dem Hintergrund der tridentinischen Rechtfertigungslehre zu interpretieren. Unter anderem führte er auch aus, wie der Betrachter selbst in das Geschehen des Bildes hineingezogen wird, indem auch er sich der Frage nicht verschließen kann, die Matthäus auf dem Bild zu stellen scheint, als ihn Jesus beinahe im Vorbeigehen in seine Nachfolge ruft: „Meinst Du mich?!“

In der sich an den Vortrag anschließenden lebhaften und kenntnisreichen Diskussion, bot sich für die Gäste des Vortrags die Möglichkeit mit Nicki Schaepen ins Gespräch zu kommen und noch einmal den Fokus auf einzelne Aspekte des Gehörten zu lenken.

Mit einem herzlichen Wort des Dankes an den Redner und die Gäste beschloss Prof. Dr. Vogl den Abend und gab bereits den Hinweis auf den nächsten Gastvortrag der „Theologie des geistlichen Lebens“ am 23. Oktober 2012 mit Prof. em. Dr. Alois Maria Haas.

Zitiert aus: http://www.kthf.uni-augsburg.de/prof_doz/prakt_theol/vogl/Aktuelles/bericht_gastvortrag.html

Thursday, March 29, 2012

G.B. Salvi

My experiment with Acrylics and Oils.  Well, bad photo though...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Heretic.

From time to time some very odd things come to my mind, one might even say follies. It was just the other day, while thinking about classical dead colouring, that I began to wonder, whether it would not be wise to use acrylics as a substitute for tempera underpainting. Good heavens! Quite impossible! .... Is it? Hm. Perhaps not. No! Never! Why not? Indeed why not?! A thought however that I always refuted vividly. 

Having been rather dogmatic on the issue of materials and techniques in my younger days, I must confess that, growing older, I am tempted to feeling rather heretic in this matter now. Especially so, if one only intends to do a decorative copy, a still life for instance - just for fun. So let's give it a try! At least for the sake of experiment.  And today I started. A lovely flower picture originally done by Rachel Ruysch, now in the National Gallery London. I shall share the outcome of this foolery within the next days...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

More news from the Cardinal
Nicki Schaepen after Giovanni Battista Gaulli (detto Baciccio), Cardinal Marco Gallo, oil on canvas on open stretcher, 70 x 56 cm, second step.

Apologies for my bumbling photographs. I shall endeavour to improve them as soon as possible. It's very difficult to adjust lighting properly, hence the rather yellowish overall impression... However, I am now able to present the second step of my Cardinal. Still two more to follow.

Monday, January 02, 2012

A new double portrait for 2012
Sir Anthony van Dyck, The National Gallery, London
Lady Elizabeth Thimbelby and Dorothy, Viscountess Andover
Original: Oil on canvas 132 x 149 cm (plain weave 11x11)
My copy: Oil on canvas 105 x 120 cm (plain weave 11x11).

I have just prepared a canvas for this charming double portrait by Van Dyck. The original was painted in  England around 1637 and represents two sisters, Elizabeth at the left, and Dorothy at the right, daughters of Thomas, Viscount Savage. The canvas on which the portrait was executed is a single piece of coarse linen. The ground is a double-layered system with a lower layer of a strong red-brown comprising mainly red iron oxide combined with calcium carbonate. This lower layer served only to fill in the canvas' weave and to provide a fairly even surface for the second layer which is completely opaque. There is no optical reason at all for this combining of differently coloured layers. The second layer is a mid grey-brown priming, consisting mainly of lead white, charcoal black and some brown earth pigment. The binding medium of the ground layers shows a high portion of head bodied linseed oil. Although it is difficult to say whether Van Dyck, or better to say his assistent or supplier, applied an emulsion ground into which the surplus amount of the paint layer's oil sank into, it is not without probability that one might assume an oil ground.

For my copy, however I decided to choose a white oil ground on which I applied a second priming consisting of white, some natural umber and ivory black.

The painting was mainly composed alla prima in the most direct manner. The palette is fairly standard: azurite, smalt, ultramarine, green verditer, vermilion, red and yellow lakes, lead-tin yellow, a variety of earth and black pigments and lead white.

I decided to choose the following palette, all paints by Oudt hollandse:
white (unfortunately, I am unable to use lead white as it is no longer available in Germany for hobby artists)
naples yellow (imit., as a substitute for lead-tin yellow)
vermilion
red lake
burnt siena
siena
umber
ultramarine blue (imit.)
ivory black (Schmincke)

I have to see for which kind of yellow lake I shall opt...
Update: Unfortunately, the canvas has not yet dried sufficiently, so that I have to postpone my posting of photographs.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


A Cardinal
Nicki Schaepen after Giovanni Battista Gaulli (detto Baciccio), Cardinal Marco Gallo, oil on canvas on open stretcher, 70 x 56 cm, first step.

A Cardinal... from the National Gallery London. Well, as all is a teensy bit hectic these days, I just managed to sketch in the main forms; all details still need much work.

Materials used:
1. Oil primed linen canvas
2. Oudt Hollandse Oil colours
Vermillion, Red lake, Umber nat., Naples Yellow, Ivory Black, Ultramarine Blue, Scheveningen geel instead of Lead White (which is extremely hard to get in Germany).

Medium: Linseed oil, Turpentine

Sunday, August 14, 2011

PS We had some sort of thunderstorm today, hence the rather dark impression of the photographs. I'll try to improve my photographical skills, which are, as you well see, very poor indeed. Cheers...


Well, two more steps to follow...

Nicki Schaepen after Richard Wilson, Mount Snowdown from Llyn Nantll, 2011 [1766], oil on canvas, 73 x 60 [127 x 100 cm] cm [Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham].

Some time ago I started this landscape by Wilson. I am trying to finishing it some day...

Ground: Double layered oil ground, lead white, heat bodied linseed oil.
Seized with burnt siena and a little amount of natural umber, paint thinner

Oudt Hollandse
Scheveningen yellow
Burnt umber
Burnt Siena
Natural Siena
Ivory Black
Ultramarine Blue
Cadmium yellow

Medium:
Paint thinner

Nicki Schaepen after Follower of Philippe de Champaigne, Madonna with Child, oil on canvas, 73 x 60 cm.

Painted on a linen canvas prepared with a double ground, mainly consisting of chalk and rabbit skin glue, with small amounts of ivory black and natural umber. In order to reduce the absorbency of the ground, heat bodied linseed oil has been poured into the chalk-glue mixture.

Lines were sketched in with charcoal and then the paint was intended to being applied as directly as possible. However, as those old-fashioned grounds are really unpredictable regarding their absorbency, a classical layer technique had to be applied.

Paints used:
(due to the strict German law I am unable to use lead white any more, which is only given to people who have permission granted by the department for the protection of historical monuments. I had to replace it therefore and am now using Scheveningen yellow instead).

Oudt Hollandse:
Scheveningen yellow
Natural Umber
Natural Siena
Burnt Siena
Vermillion
Red lake
Ivory Black
Ultramarine blue

Thinner: simple paint thinner