My Greek painting is nearly finished and will be revealed in about a week or so. I want my client to see only snippets beforehand, so just details like this one will be shown for now. Hours and hours of research went into all aspects of the composition in addition to pigments. This lekythos jar was popular during the classical period of 5th century BCE. Known as a white ground vessel, it is made with a white slip (liquid clay) upon which the decoration was painted.
In my composition, I painted the jar in much the same manner that the ancient artists would have painted theirs. I first roughed it in with 4 or so values using umbers, yellow ochre, and white. This was allowed to dry. The large featured black figure vase (not shown here) is creating the strong shadow shape on the left of the jar which gives interest and depth. In subsequent layers, the jar was painted fully and perfectly without the figure. I also added texture, chips, and soiling to replicate the age and use a normal 2500 year old object would show.
After the surface was completely dry, I added the Greek key decoration around the edges using a glaze like paint consistency of black and madder. The figure is painted in a similar manner by drawing in the shapes then smudging the edges and filling in here and there, again to replicate the aging. The figure shows the figure of a musician playing the ancient stringed instrument called a kithara.
Throughout this painting I have found by allowing the surface of the vessels to dry completely then applying the decoration has been the best approach. Have any of you painted such a vessel with figurative or other decorations? How have you approached your technique?