So here I am at the end of my first pass over the ébauche. I am using the color ébauche over a white ground, but different types of ébauche have been done through history, artist have used the color ébauche over top of a grisaille and in conjunction with a wipe out or bristre underpainting. So the main differences here in this type of underpainting compared to that of a grisaille (monochromatic underpainting) is that you have light passing through the thin layers of paint reflecting back off of the white ground the base color or local color. And as I work through the first pass the ébauche underneath supports the new color note and gives this very nice and sympathetic foundation to paint over top of.
So I push through the first pass, relating each color note (hue-value-chroma) and passage, following the pattern of light, I keep dialing in closer and closer the resolution and fine tuning the image. In this layer I wanted to think more about dimension, where light hits and does not hit, what catches light and what is in shadow.
In some ways this is harder than using a grisaille because you are working color with form at the same time and you need to be very aware of the values you are using, building up your darks. In others ways easier because your color notes are in harmony with the layer underneath and you are describing the major forms so much quicker and getting the “big” picture, dialing in the finished image. What it does give you is an understanding of why through history artist have used this indirect painting process in its different variations, each had its advantages, and it was up to the artist to determine which method would be best suited for a given picture.
Next post - the finish.
“Learning never exhausts the mind.” ~Leonardo da Vinci
Pronunciation - ébauche: ay•boash