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Original Creation

Girl with a Pearl Earring

ForestVueGallery 22 Apr 2021

This is my attempt at artist Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painted c. 1665. When I searched for a masters painting this somehow appealed to me though I’d not previously attempted a portrait nor ever thought I would. There’s something about flesh tones that terrify me.
I likely spent 12 hours drawing, underpainting in acrylic then finishing in oils. I’m not an acrylic painter and fortunately discovered and purchased a Masterson Sta-Wet Palette that worked like a dream. Another first was painting on an 11x14 Da Vinci Pro Ultra Smooth Panel that worked quite well for smooth lines and detail.
This turned out to be quite the experience researching how to paint it, then finally, hesitantly, diving in and hoping to surface with something recognizable. There’s plenty I would change should I attempt it again, but I’m satisfied with all that I learned and the fear and thrill of the challenge.
I’ve attached a photo of Vermeer’s original along with some process pics.

Oils Acrylics


You did incredible painting! I am sure it is such a steep learning curve! I was thinking to paint her too, but thought I will not have enough time. You did fantastic job here! About skin tones - I have learned that there are 2 fruit colors to add to make it realistic : clementines and white grape, I have not tried though yet. I am amazed what you did here and by all those progress photos!

Voy Kay Conqueror of Challenges

WAW FVG, I waited a while to comment on this to search for the right words, and I still haven't got them.

But be sure this is an outstanding creation! That coat/cloth she is wearing is so real!
Lilikens made the same portrait and both of you have found your way to succesfully recreate this.
A truly top creation and you have my vote!

Fantastic job! Voy Kay is right that coat is fantastic! Were the sepia in progress shots done in acrylics? Great portrait!

Sunnylady, thank you so much. Yes, it was a barefoot on a steep rocky unending path learning curve! I’d ordered some colors recommended to mix flesh tone but ended up doctoring my Gamblin flesh tone with a brown and alizarin permanent. I’ll try to mix my own next time.
You should give her a try as I’m sure you would be successful.

Voy, thank you for your comments. I have to admit that once I had the face completed I thought the rest would be smooth sailing. The jacket went pretty well but the scarf was a chore. I could have easily put another hour in but decided this journey had to end 😅

Lilikens, thank you! Yes, the under painting was done in acrylic which was a helpful guide for light and dark areas. I’ll have to try straight oils one day but do some beforehand practice on mixing flesh tones.
We both survived it!

Wait...there are flesh tone paints? Well I feel terribly silly now. I mixed/wasted a lot of paint trying to get flesh tones and if I ran out I could never replicate it exactly. I agree 100% with your description of the scarf. It’s way more difficult than it looks!

I just checked to find the Gamblin flesh tone. Here’s a link:
It appears they are now calling it Naples Orange, but on the tube it still says Caucasian Flesh Tone. I don’t know if they make this color in acrylics but I would hope so.
I’m sure a head of hair would have been easier to paint than the scarf!

It is absolutely incredible to paint Johannes! Your painting looks awesome! No more words, just 👏👏

JoJo, thank you so much! I think it picked me somehow and I’m now thinking more outside the box of landscapes.

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