my litle experement witn an underpainting digitally(painter):
(note that proportions are off, but it was about the technique and not a nice image.)
(and i did a slide level tweak in photoshop)
To further clarify the use of underpainting (via glazings), below is an old image of an unfinished oil painting I started last summer.
After the initial sketch, I began to heavily apply thick coats of paint (normally you apply light glazes then gradually add heavier layers -- thick over thin method). I was experimenting with a different approach, but the method still applies.
After letting the oil paints dry (depending how thin I want the paint to be, I apply Liquin [my secret gold mine]), I return to slowly build up this piece up with light glazes by accenutating the light areas and darkenning the dark areas.
Once I find some of my other paintings, I can share with you better examples of underpaintings.
fantastic stuff! I learnt a lot here, I was at the point of moving on from greyscale when reading this thread. The stuff!!!
Done in oils
The first time I tried to paint this landscape, the colors were too pure, and the whold thing looked starkly cartoony.
The next time I painted the scene, I laid down a griselle using thinned Dark Burnt umber to get the tones right. Then while the griselle was still uncured I worked my colors in thin amounts into that. I had to wait a few days for the undercoat to dry so I could paint in some starker hilights/shadows. But painting into a uncured griselle, I got all those nice wonderful tones, complex shades, etc.
It's not perfect, it has it's faults, but the colors came out pretty well compared to the first one.
Scrumbling with a dry brush also game me the haze on the horizon.
Just to add a little something which i dont think has been said, gray underpainting is often emplyed because it is "safe." Much of the painting done in the 1400's was ment to fill space as decoration and a show of wealth, usually as part of a collection, not to exist purely for itself as a painting. "Safe" techniques were quite popular for this reason. In many instances, it was considered undesirable for the painting to "leap off the wall" the way bolder color use can. Later in the 1500's, what with the mannerists and all, brighter bolder color techniques became more prevalent in artwork. from the dawn of time until the mid 1900's it seems that the majority of art ping-ponged between "safe" and bold, with each side having its notable advantages and disadvantages. Gray underpainting done well lends subtlety and elegence, bold underpainting done well lends life and vibrance. its all a matter of taste, and, of course, what you want to be painting.
The Venetian method of painting with underpainting
"Titian adopted the habit of developing the design and modeling of his pictures in stages, the first of which was an underpainting in shades of grey and white. The entire picture could be painted this way if desired, or only certain passages, such as flesh and perhaps cloth, according to the artist's preference. The artist could concentrate on the design, composition, modeling, patterns of light and dark, etc., and make as many corrections as were needed, all in the grey stage, until the only problem left to be solved was color. This method avoids the "mud"which often results when corrections are made in color. The color scheme may be determined by executing as many small color sketches as might be necessary, on small panels, until the best possibility is apparent.
Once the underpainting was satisfactory, it was allowed to dry thoroughly before color was applied. Initially, the colors were blocked in transparently with large brushes, thinly so as to allow the underpainting to show through. While the transparent colors were wet, opaque colors were worked into them in the areas of light. The forms were completed as much as possible wet-into-wet in this stage, leaving the deeper darks transparent but with the lights opaque. Subsequent glazes and scumbles were often employed to further develop the forms and/or adjust the colors and values. A scumble is a thin application of a lighter semi-opaque paint over a dried darker passage. It is made of a mixture of opaque paints and transparent medium, and is used to create the illusion of softness of texture, especially in youthful complexions and soft cloth. The complex optical effect produced includes a shift in the color temperature, making the scumbled passage appear cooler. It may be considered the opposite of a glaze. A glaze is a transparent paint applied over a lighter passage. The color shift produced in glazing increases warmth. Titian was probably the first artist to use scumbling, and it was most likely his invention. Glazing was employed by the early Flemish oil painters, along with opaque passages, but scumbling does not appear until the time of Titian. Glazing and scumbling are the final refinements in the execution of a painting following the Venetian Technique. A contemporary of Titian's reported that the master often added as many as 30 or 40 glazes to a given painting before declaring it finished.
The technique was adopted by Veronese and Tintoretto, both living in Venice at the time, and it subsequently became known as the Venetian Technique, or the Venetian Method. Most, if not all, of the Old Masters of that time onward have employed it in at least some of their works. A partial list would include Rubens, Rembrandt, Franz Hals, Vermeer, Gerard ter Borch, Nicholas Poussin, Jacques-Louis David, Ingres, Jean-Leon Gerome and many other great painters whose names are less well-known today.
There are several advantages to this method of painting, not the least of which is the opportunity it affords the artist to make a great many corrections in the underpainting stage which will be undetectable in the final work. There are also the subtle influences of the underpainting, the nuances and undertones created by transparent and semitransparent passages, which, if employed in a masterly way, all contribute to a most convincing illusion of the third dimension. In portraiture it allows the artist to establish the pose, the likeness, the personality, the mood, etc., before becoming concerned with color. Once these important aspects of the portrait are taken care of, the last problem to be solved is color. It is a simpler matter to solve problems one at a time than it is all at once.
Portraiture is unique among all forms of art in that the most highly desired result is an image so convincing that it gives the viewer the impression of being in the physical presence of the subject. Artists of today can benefit greatly from the knowledge of the artists of the past, in whose works we are brought closer to the subjects than would otherwise be possible, long after they are dead and gone. To create a convincing illusion, not only of three-dimensional depth, but of a living human being, with a personality, thoughts, feelings—surely this is as close as we can get to creating magic!"
Last edited by ArtznCraphs; August 31st, 2006 at 07:44 PM.
For underpainting - and toned or colored grounds - to be effective it has to remain operative through overlying paint layers. Precisely where and how much of the underpainting/ground is exposed is dependant on the final effects the artist has in mind. Velaturas, frotties, scumbles, glazes are used to cover the underlayers in various degrees.
The layered method of working is actually the best way to learn oil painting, as drawing, value, and color are handled in different stages. Corrections are easier than in alla prima, the range of effects that can be rendered is greater, and colors are generally cleaner as less mixing is required.
Much of the frustration beginners have with oil painting comes from them trying to tackle alla prima or direct methods of painting. Dealing with color, value, drawing, texture, and the idiosyncracies of each pigment all at once is more than the beginning oil painter can handle. In the day's of the old masters alla prima was considered the height of achievement, and was come to through experience with layered, or indirect, painting method.
Working out of a dark base.
Ah excellent thread, how could I have missed this one?
Glazing is a very tedious technique. I don't use it fully, instead, I use a hybrid technique. An opaque color underpainting with color glazing.
Donato Giancola's work is an example of a contemporary modern master who makes use of almost FULL glazing. (I think.) He won the first ARC competition and is known worldwide for his standout work in the Magic:The Gathering card game from Wizards of the Coast. www.donatoarts.com His paintings have been described as luminous and glowing. (maybe we should substitute him as the new painter of light!)
In the atelier I attended, (The Contemporary Realist Academy in Memphis, TN) one of the traditions inherited there was the technique of working out of a dark base. I learned a few others, and have heard of several used in other lineages at other ateliers, but this is by far one of the best techniques I have learned, having tried a couple of others. I learned it after Kathryn decided I would work well with this technique after seeing me struggle with several horrible grisaille underpaintings. I even tried working out of a really dark umber base, misunderstanding some earlier comments about "working out of a dark base". Well, it turns out working out of a blackish brown underpainting wet on wet IS a good technique, but is used by some other school in, I think Italy and wasn't a CRA technique. And trust me, it was looking like hell so obviously it wasn't working for me.
So after correcting me, she did a demo for everyone. (A demo is the best way to learn this, but here goes...) In painting out of a dark base, the underpainting is a fairly close representation of what you see in life, yet HIGHER in chromatic intensity and DARKER in value. JUST slightly. Then the artist works his way up to her final target colors and value. The effect is that your final painting has a rich, brilliant color and is not muddied by the fiddling the artist is wont to do while working. It is impossible to see what I am talking about without seeing the painting in life, but I have used it to great effect. I have even tried doing without this technique and noticed a big difference in the effectiveness of the painting.
This technique is ideal for an artist who wants to hold on to brilliant and rich jewel tones...for instance, those possible in the digital medium. Keep in mind there are other subtleties to it that I am not too keen on explaining, since I don't fully understand them myself. The parts about value for instance, well, the level of your value varies with the hue you are using, and its value threshold for highest chromatic intensity. (ok now I am really going crosseyed...)
The complimentary underpainting technique was discussed, but a simpler idea was told to me, not as a part of our school, but as a story related by our teacher, Manzo, on the effects that she witnessed in a really lifelike painting of a conch shell. She regaled to us what the artist had told her.
Along the edges of an object in a color painting, add just a very tiny touch of that object's color's color compliment to achieve an effect that occurs in life.
Do you remember those funny optical illusions you saw when you were a kid, maybe in school or magazines? They would have you stare at a green and yellow american flag for 30 seconds, and then shift your eyes to a white wall? The right colors of the american flag would appear "magically" on the wall. In life, the theory is a similar effect happens as we gaze at objects. That is the idea behind this technique.
It is so slight, that if you used this techniqe the wrong way, (too much and too repeatedly) where it was quite obvious, it's going to look cheesy. That being said, it should logically only be used on the focal point.
This is one other way to get a shortcut to the wonderful effect you get from doing a full complimentary underpainting. Unfortunately, it also requires experience and practice to pull off well.
Last edited by Izi; September 12th, 2006 at 04:48 PM.
sehertu mannu narāṭu ina pānāt šagapīru ningishzidda
See, this is why I love you people, I find out something new in school and it's already discussed and explained in detail on ca.
Okay, so here's a question for anyone who uses acrylics with glazing. What's a good medium to mix with?
I've been trying glazing with this marsh at sunrise, and I want the water to seem as deep and translucent as the photograph I'm referencing (my own photo). So far nothing's deep enough, and I've done about 8-12 layers of glaze on it. So far I've used all Golden, translucent colors, Golden glazing medium (gloss), and Golden high solid gel (gloss). I'm about to try just layering pure solid gel over it...
you guys are golden.....
now I know what Ilae's been up to...THANK YOU
nice ly done. If didn't have to pay my bills today Id run off and underpaint something........
I made a stream surface once you could see tree reflections and sky reflections in, and this seemed to produce a good effect: I put the various patches of color in and then smoothed a layer of that acrylic gloss medium over the top with a painting knife. (I mean the kind of gloss medium that looks white in the tub but dries clear (I think I had Liquitex). Test the medium to make sure it dries clear first. I guess make a practice pond on some throwaway support and see if this gets you where you want to go.) It looked sort of glassy smooth and yet the slight stucco like ridges the knife tends to leave made an effect that was like surface ripples. The colors did seem to be kind of deep down in there and complex after it dried up.
Thanks! that sounds like just what I need! I'll try it.
Hello, first of all I have to say that I didn't read the whole text on this thread. But I am a painter and I am very intersted in old master techniques. So I decided to share my knowledge (hopefuly it is already knowledge ) via attached picture (it will be oil on wood) I am painting now (this will be a christmas gift) - it is in early stage. I started with undersketch (pencil). Then I put one thin layer of yellow ochre in the countryside (I hope that it is not wrong, but I will see) and in the sky is pink ultramarine. Next step where I am now is that I start to create volume (raw umber and burnt siena). If you have some recomedations, please write it. Thank you. (the second one is in later stage - hopefuly I will show you also the next steps of it)
Has anyone thought about first learning to "see"? The best way to do this is by direct painting. "Hawthorne on Painting" suggests seeing the subject as already painted, translating it into a mosaic of shapes of color, scanning, comparing and exact matching color. It gives you the basis for further exploration into indirect painting. It forces you to paint, not color. It teaches you that color can convey form, space and texture. You are functioing simply as an "eye" and that is certainly only the first step, but without that step most people never really paint. They color.
I love Hawthorne....reminds me of ilaekae.....
Hi, it is sometimes very difficult to read some comments - for example the one about "to see" - I think that before the underpaint stage could be the underdrawing stage. And the role of the underpaint stage is to clarify the form and the use of colors in next stages. Yes this is my opinion - I am still learning, but I don't think that ... The example below a simple landscape pic on the wood (next stage of the one above)
thought this link was appropriate for this thread
Life is a long lesson in humility.
pavel.. I love how the wood grain shows through, as if the painting were paints on a veil
Stalsby, thanks for the link! If you have any more, please post them!
Thank you so much for contributing this. I am in an Intro to Painting course currently. We talked a little about underpainting and the examples and explanations on here really helped me understand it better.
I noticed a lot of talk about glazing here...so this might be helpful.
In acrylics (I'll use Liquitex's terminology here), there are a number of mediums which are suitable for glazing, but not all work the same.
Gloss medium and varnish: [NOT a true varnish, so don't use it as such!] Dries completely transparent and is great for glazes. If you use it, you may notice some problems with applying tube paint opaquely in daubs over it because the surface is so slick, so just wait for the daubs to dry and hit 'em again.
Glazing medium: I just got this but haven't tried it yet. I'm assuming it drys completely transparent, but not sure yet what the surface sheen is like. I'll report back when I use it.
Matte Medium: This dries with some cloudiness, so shouldn't be used for the type of glazing you might be used to in oils. It IS matte though, and is great for blocking in ititial glazes and washes. You can get some great effects in an atmospheric painting by carefully using this medium-plus-color as a glaze because repeated applications "fuzz-out" the color underneath.
The two mediums come in various viscosities, from liquid to heavy-body impasto, but the transparancy results hold true all the way through--gloss is always transparent, matte is always semi-transparent.
If and when you varnish, use Liquitex's Solovar (solvent-based), which is a true varnish and CAN BE REMOVED if necessary. Using the mediums as a varnish just covers your paint with more "paint" that can't be removed or cleaned. If you're want to show a painting but might work on it again in the future, just paint a layer of gloss medium over it to even up the sheen and make it purty. That way, you can just continue painting later if you want.
No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary
Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
Ilae and Jason....
May I pass this thread on to my husband's colour theory class? I really think Ilae's demos in particular would be invaluable.
in fact Ilae do you have high res of your demos ? I could put in a a power point for them? and would that be ok?
A very nice medium that perfectly marries the beauty and brilliance of oil with the quick drying process of acrylic is Alkyd. Alkyd dries within 24 hrs. or less depending on how thickly it is applied. It lends itself to both underpainting and glazing for overpainting. You can see an example of an alkyd painting in my homepage, it is entitled "Cinco Margaritas". www.oscarortiz.com
I wanted to salute ArtsandCraphs for an excellent overview of the Venitian Technique. More can be found in Sir Charles Locke Eastlake's book, "The Materials and Techniques of the Great Schools and Masters" (Dover).
I have been studying the techniques of the old masters intensively for the past decade or so (I actually moved to Madrid, Spain in 2000 to be near the collections in the Prado, San Fernando and Thyssen museums, as well as to have easy access to the rest of the museums in Europe), and have published a newsletter on the subject in the past which I am trying to restart. Naturally these techniques make up the bulk of my personal technique, although I do still paint en plein aire (alla prima) landscapes too.
After reading many of the posts on this thread, I think I see two ideas being mixed, or identified as "underpainting," and which could use some clarification. First, what is generally considered "underpainting" by traditionalists could be both a grisaille ("gris" is French for "grey"), which, as you have read, uses a monochromatic palette to define form, and also perhaps the "dead color" layer (which was a hold over from tempera technique -- the greenish hue of the dead color layer made the figures look cadverous, hence the name).
Second, the other idea I see here is the mislabeling of an imprimatura as an underpainting, which it is not. It is classified as a colored ground. It is applied either before or after the drawing (see Mayer). Imprimaturas put a transparent veil (basically a very lean glaze) over the white ground, letting it show through and still contribute to the luminosity of the final piece. Although it is, indeed, "under" the other layers, it does not define form, only adjust overall color and value. Its main use, besides providing an overall color to the painting which can be played off using other colors (hot vs. cold, mottling, etc., as has been described so well above), it gives an overall tone (value) to the canvas and allows the artist to more accurately judge values.
Imprimaturas can range from hot, neutral or cold greys (although most grey imprimaturas tend to be opaque due to the use of flake white in the mix -- this can be avoided by using transparent flake white, which has calcium carbonate (chalk) mixed with it to make it transparent (Doak and Associates in Brooklyn sells it) -- to a rainbow of colors, the most common being burnt or raw umber and burnt sienna. Most old masters stayed away from using a yellow for imprimaturas, especially for painting flesh. I imagine it did not work well, but I am not sure (also many yellow pigments had a high oil content, as I remember). Pigments like the umbers and siennas which have a high oil content can be placed on paper towels or blotting paper (or other absorbent surface) for some hours before using them to leach out as much of the excess oil as possible, rendering the paint leaner, and thus suitable for the lowest pigment layer ("fat over lean" principle). The best thing to do is to choose a naturally lean paint (pigments with low oil indexes) for the imprimatura. The same advice applies to pigments used in underpaintings. This is especially true if you are contemplating using lamp black in the mix, as it is one of the pigments with the highest oil content (depending on the quantity used, since grisailles generally are painted a couple of values higher (lighter) than the desired end product).
I would like to add that there are interesting variations on the idea, such as using different colors of grisaille in the same figure, such as burnt umber for the shadows and raw umber and white for the lights, which gives a hot/cold base to contrast with the color layers, and can have a profound effect on the final painting.
The temperature shift which occurs when using a glaze or scumble is known as the "turbid medium effect." I am not sure of the origin of the phrase.
I know the point I am making is a little picky, but I thought it might be at least interesting to some. I always invite feedback and debate because that is how I learn, so have at it!
Last edited by MartinShellabarger; June 13th, 2007 at 05:39 AM.
Here are some nudes I did using various old master techniques:
Corel Painter Official Magazine had a nice article about underpainting.
But that was for fermaccio (i think) so i guess that's a bit different.
How's it in underpainting for digital drawings?
Seems kinda important too, but how should it be executed? (properly that is)