This is a demonstration of a grisaille underpainting that has been partially
painted over, by painting into a wet "imprimatura", or layer of transparent paint.
A grisaille, some of you may not know, is any monochromatic underpainting, but
is called what it is because the word gris means "gray" in French, and in the early
days of the development of oil painting technology, underpaintings were most often
done in black and white, or raw umber and white. Leonardo actually used brown,
and a close inspection of Vermeer reveals that he sometimes used a greenish color.
Anyway, this type of painting is known as "Indirect Painting", in that you separate
the drawing, or "form" part, from the color part. It is actually the easiest type of painting,
and is believed to have been developed in Flanders by the Van Eyck brothers in the late
14th C.. -- My underpainting in this demo was done in black and white acrylic, but in my
classes, we use Mars Black and Titanium white, because Mars black is the leaset oily black,
It is important to keep the lowest levels of a painting almost oil-free, and then gradually
add oil (fat) as you build up the layers of the painting. This lessens the chances of cracking
and crazing of the paint surface over time.
This type of painting is directly opposite that done by alla prima ("all at once", "at the first",
who began working in the late 16th, early 17th C.'s, such as Frans Hals and Rembrandt. Later
on, Van Gogh and John Singer Sargent, and Mary Cassatt are marvelous examples of this
direct approach in which one both draws and paints onto a bare canvas, creating form and
color all at once with the brush.
Thanks for stopping by.