Painting with a Monochrome Underpainting
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This scene, of the "Narrows" area of the El Malpais National
Monument, intrigued me
because of the shadow colors and the little piece of road that winds beneath
the cliff. One
of the issues with painting a wall of rock is that value can quickly get
away from you
if you don't pay attention. To help with this, I print out a "grayscale"
version of the photo and
decide to do an underpainting in monochrome.
I start with a 19"x5" sheet of Wallis sanded paper and sketch
in the basic shapes with vine charcoal. I do a bit of rudimentary value
work with the charcoal. To keep the charcoal in place, I spray the painting
with a good dose
of Lascaux fixative.
with Monochrome Color.
I decide on a palette of blues, picking four values. I mass in the shapes,
to my grayscale photo to get the vlaues close to what the photo shows.
In order to keep the underpainting from mixing with my next layer, which
will be "true" colors, I scrub
in the pigment with Turpenoid and a big but stubby bristle brush. The
purpose here is also to fill in all
the white holes that show between my strokes. Once the entire surface
had been wetted with
Turpenoid, I used a small bristle brush, cleaned periodically in Turpenoid,
to "lift out" some of the
light, small detail areas that will be in the final painting. This is
to remind me of where these
spots will go. For example, I "lifted" the road you can see
snaking through the shadows.
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