Thursday, June 01, 2006
Painting Process 4
Here's when the fun begins. Once I've decided what image I will be painting I start to get ready for it by covering the surface of the canvas with a light coat of Burnt Sienna. The canvas above has a coat of Red Ochre, a new color I bought not so long ago. This is to warm me up before painting and to get the canvas dirty right away. I hate painting on a pristine canvas because it makes me become tight and precious about what I'm painting. I also use this coat of color as part of the under painting. It was common practice for artists to paint on colored primed canvas during the 16th and 17th centuries. Peter Paul Rubes and Anthony Van Dyck used to prime their canvas with an earth tone and then with a grey mixture. The Spanish painters, like Diego Velazquez and Goya used to use Red Ochre. Many times the ground color, as it is called, was left alone in areas of the painting to form part of the color scheme of the work.
An under painting is usually a rough to well finished sketch of what the final product might be. Some painters work with glazing and an under painting is a good structure to glaze over. Glazing is the application of transparent layers of color which will build up the painting and make it more luminous. The reason why paintings done in glazes are more luminous is because light travels through all the layers of paint and bounces back out illuminating each layer.
I don't glaze. My method of painting is more direct at times. The reason why I use the under painting is to get me familiar with what I'm painting, it lets me know if the composition will work in the space I've chosen.