Sunday, August 27, 2017

Underpainting Techniques – Demonstration Six - Part II – WIP

First Color Pass: These are the first color layers over the underpaintings. I have attempted to develop each one equally and establish a similar refinement. It is obvious from the beginning the degree of finish or resolution is more observable in the further developed monochromatic underpaintings.

When I speak of “resolution” I am using it to describe the degree of focus, that with each color pass over the image you make small corrections and adjustments, slowly tuning in the image to the level of three-dimensional reality you wish to see in your painting. With this slow dialing in, each pass should be about fine tuning not correcting and selective focus instead of detail. That is key to moving forward towards you’re vision. The artist Sadie Valeri explains this dialing in like this, “that in every layer of the painting you get 50% closer to reality “and in each additional layer fifty percent more so on. Each one growing exponentially (building) on the last until you achieve a high degree of realism.

Form Painting: So, in the First Pass I wish to make the big statements of color, shape and edges over the value study and drawing.  I want to think about color relationships comparing abstract passages of paint by chroma and temperature. To think about form, that each brush stroke exists in three-dimensional space and state where it is in light and where it is in shadow. The concept of light on form or modeling dimension like a sculpture is often referred to as Chiaroscuro – The contrast of light and shade. The act of modeling light and dark is called “Turning Form”. I like that adage because it simply describes the goal of representational painting to create the perception of depth.

My paint consistency varies depending on which underpainting I am working with but basically, over top of the underpainting I am using thinned transparent glazes which I then work into with more opaque paints wet into wet. Building up of transparent, semitransparent, semi-opaque, opaque and impasto layers of paint (glazes, scumbles, velauturas, impasto) that create different optical effects.

Starting top left moving clock wise- Grisaille, Bistre, Ébauche, Imprimatura.

I am not quite ready to lose my drawing yet, plus I need the values to affect the color passages and to build luminosity and depth. In each paint passage I continue comparing hue, value, chroma, edges, and textures.

I think form and atmosphere, not things. Painting the points of contact, reflected light, the hills and valleys as light rakes across the subject I look for delicate passages and subtle shading. I look for the “air” around the subject, (as odd as that sounds) and try to paint the atmosphere.

Hue - is a color’s characteristic, where it lies in the color spectrum, (the color name)
          and which temperature it leans towards, warm or cool.

Value – is the relative degree of grayness, lightness or darkness of a color.

Chroma – is the colors intensity, the degree of brilliance of a color, from intense to dull.

Chiaroscuro, (from Italian: chiaro, “light,” and scuro, “dark”) 1. The contrast of light and shade and the art of distributing these elements in a picture planes. 2. Light and shade as they define three-dimensional objects

Summary: The main purpose of underpainting is to solve the problems of composition, drawing and value so that you can concentrate solely on the application of paint. Using a variety of techniques to realistically create the illusion of depth, form and atmosphere. (The amount of light, depth and atmosphere you can achieve in this manner is almost magical.) Multiple veils of transparent color contrasted by opaque light passages, produces a level of realism that I believe cannot be matched with other approaches. You literally carve out volume with this method.

Which type of underpainting to use, Grisaille, Bistre, Ébauche, or Imprimatura is about knowing the strengths of each and being able to look at an object as say, “Yes this approach will work best to achieve that", kind of knowing which tool to reach for in the tool box. I was going to go into my thoughts on each and compare strengths and weaknesses? But feel it better to not muddy the waters with that and let people come to their own conclusion. Maybe I will touch on it later, but for now I will say there is a wealth of knowledge within these methods to explore and doing so will expose how to get the maximum impact of what the material can do.

As a Realist, it is important to have a comprehensive range of techniques to draw from and expand your artistic vocabulary.

You can find Underpainting Techniques – Demonstration Six - Part I – WIP here.
You can access more Underpainting Demos through the labels in the side bar or use the search box at the top left of the blog.

Explore - Question - Learn - Enjoy, Jim 

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