Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day #22, January 2015 - 30/30 Challenge, Wilson Stream

This is the last of the four canvases that I toned with an abstract acrylic underpainting.  Again I searched through my swipe file to find references pictures to fit the painting suggested by this underpainting.

Wilson Stream, 6x8, oil SOLD

My abstract underpainting

Again I began at the focal point.

 My next experiment will be the reverse of this one.  I will find the reference photo first and then tone the canvas accordingly.  Why bother with an underpainting?  These are my thoughts......

With the “Alla Prima” method of completing a painting in one session, having an underpainting makes the painting process easier. Many of our oil paints are transparent, especially the dark colors. Covering a white canvas with transparent dark paint can be difficult unless you lay the colors in thickly – then you have the problem of working into that thick, wet paint.

A dry underpainting allows you to apply these transparent colors as a glaze. Then the lighter and more opaque colors can be easily applied over this thinner paint. Remember the often heard phrases – “thick over thin” and “light over dark”.

Underpaintings can be done in color with bits of the color allowed to show through the finished painting – most effective if the underpainting is done with colors complimentary to the final painting. Or you can chose to work in shades of gray using black and white, or any combination of color/complement to produce a myriad of interesting grays.

The underpainting can be loosely done or more detailed, thick or thin, colors or grays, depending on your preferences. Acrylic paint, if thinly applied, dries in about 5 minutes and you are ready to go. If you choose to do an underpainting in oils the drying time will be longer. It’s your choice.

Additional thoughts –
The phrases – “thick over thin” and “light over dark” bring to mind the importance of “working from the general to the specific”. To try to work in stages toward the finished painting without working backwards. If you must correct an area, it's best to wipe it out and start again. This is a hard discipline that takes concentration and planning. The results will be a fresh, not overworked painting with clean colors – and a satisfied artist.

And, yes, you can paint oil over acrylic if you keep the acrylic thin.

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