Tuesday, January 12, 2010

23 Using a full value underpainting 2 of 2


  1. I love this painting. All through art school and even today I continue to struggle with using paint that is way too thinned down. My favorite painters use thick paint and yet I'm afraid to do so. For one thing I allways woirry that I don't have enough money to buy enough paint if I painted thick. I also have worries that my clients (as I'm an illustrator) won't enjoy the thick paint as much as I do. I've had at least a few people in my life question my use of thick paint when I did venture into that realm. Thirdly I guess my concern is that thick paint just doesn't dry quickly enough to send out to art shows, send to clients etc.

    Your blog has reminded me of all the great things about using thick paint and is inspiring me to try it out again. While I can't really see the differences from your uinderpainting to your final painting in the video, I can imagine the sorts of difference you are speaking of. I know what you mean whne you talk about adding that layer of interest with more lively and entertaining layer of paint. While I can't see the differences in this video a part of me knows for a fact that if I saw the two versions of the paintings side by side I would much prefer the thicker paint.

  2. Matthew,

    I know what you mean about this video not demonstrating the thick paint as well as it could. I think I will post a short video that shows the texture because I really did slather it on in places.

    The underpainting really was quite ugly. It was artlessly scumbled and the paint was splotchy and brittle looking. I made no attempt to get any quality in the underpainting as that actually makes it psychologically harder to cover up. All the beautiful paint needs to be in the top coat.

    If you need lots of inexpensive paint I can highly recommend this company: http://www.tricoat.com/cao-violet-blue-green.html. They sell at a bulk rate, too. I often buy my whites here. I prefer the caulking tubes as they don’t dry out like the cans do.

    Painting thick in an illustration might present problems although some illustrators like Gregory Manchess certainly use a lot of paint. If you use quick dry white (available from most paint makers) that might be a solution. Drying for me isn’t an issue as all my painting is for galleries so I have the leisure to send the work out on my schedule. I have attended plein air competitions where the paintings are framed and displayed still wet. I also know several illustrators that mail their paintings in special boxes that allow the paintings to dry in transit.

    Thanks for your comments, I appreciate the feedback!

  3. Thanks!
    I'll check out the link to tricoat. That sounds like the exact sort of thing i need. I generally can spend up to four hours searching various art stores online for the best deals whenever I order supplies. I can generally save myself anywhere from $20 -$50 depending where I order from. I generally search for coupons online first by googling the name of the store witht he word coupons.
    Gregory manchess does do some great illustrations with thick paint. There are few others I've come across in my searches. Richard Jesse Watson has a great children's book called "The MAgic Rabbit" which seems to have thick paint on the cover and within. I think oneof the other problems with thick paint is that it is extremely difficult to reproduce in photos and print applications. I actually used a failry thick paint for the sky and some smoke in the front cover image of my new book but the stroeks don't really show up.

    I do think these thick paint techniques will be great for paintings I plan to enter into art shows.

    Do you ever use acrylics to do your underpainting?

  4. Great Video Brad,

    I like doing the underpainting first because it must help with problems like drawing. Do you ever do a monochromatic value painting first instead of color? Did you let the under painting dry before applying the second coat? What does your medium do? Does it allow the second coat to go on more smoothly? Also do you ever let some of the intial first coat show through to contrast with the thick paint?

  5. One more question Brad
    I just checked out your website and you have some real nice compostions, especially going from front to back. It would be nice to hear some of your thoughts on compostions and canvas shapes.

  6. I have used an acrylic underpainting in the past, because it dries quickly, but found I enjoy doing the underpainting in oils as it gives me more "brush time" exploring that medium and rehearsing how I might paint the final coat. There may be some archival advantages to using oils although that is a secondary concern.

    I think illustrators can just use the illusion of thick paint because as mentioned it is often difficult to reproduce photographically if there is too much pigment on the canvas.

    I have used a monochromatic underpainting but find it difficult to match multiple color values to a single color. It might be just an individual weakness. I haven't found it as helpful as other people obviously find it to be. I do wait for the full value underpainting to dry. That is helpful if you paint a section you later think is not working you can scrape it off with the palette knife, oil it up, and paint it again.

    The Venetian medium I used is to "rewet" the paint you might say. When I paint into the medium it feels as if I am painting into a wet layer of paint. I am sure some of the underpainting shows through but it is nearly impossible to tell because the values and strokes match so well. I find that if I don't use some kind of medium I get lots of dry, scratchy looking strokes plus I focus too much on just getting the canvas covered and lose track of the painting.

    My next topic will be the preliminary sketch which is one component of my composition process. I will describe the whole process eventually. Thanks for the suggestion.

    As always, thanks for the questions and comments!


Thanks for your comments!


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