How to Develop the Underpainting
Many artists start oil paintings by first creating an underpainting, which is a simple sketch created
with one color. An artist can use an underpainting
There are no rules for creating an underpainting. An underpainting can be created as a pencil sketch,
I prefer to use raw umber oil paint as my medium
An underpainting is similar to the foundation of a house. A solid foundation can provide the best opportunity to create a well-developed painting.
|Underpainting is also the process of layering a painting to create more luminosity. You see, the underpainting never completely disappears when the painting is complete. It is not visible to the eye. But light travels through the layers of paint, reaching the underpainting, then reflects that light through the
over-painting layers. This is what gives a painting the luminosity so admired in masterworks over the centuries. Paintings without underpainting never achieve the same degree of luminosity because they lack depth of paint layering.|
Many painters today use an alla prima method of painting, which is a direct method of painting with little to no preparation. Alla prima paintings can be started and finished in one painting session. You can achieve luminosity from an alla prima painting, but there’s a much different optical effect, which is evident in paintings that were executed with an underpainting.
Several different methods of underpainting were used by the old masters.
Grisaille (pronounced griz-eye)
The final painting process involves adding
glazes and scumbles of oil paint over the underpainting
until the painting looks complete. I change the drawing and make many subtle color changes
as I finish the painting.
If you want to learn how to create an underpainting take a look at my new E-Book,
How to Create an Underpainting Like the Old Masters: A Step-by-Step Guide. The E-Book will teach you the techniques you'll need to successfully complete an underpainting. This step-by-step guide has photos and explanations for every step of the painting process. Click here for more information about this E-Book and sign up for a FREE excerpt.
Study of Pears and Grapes
Wash-in Underpainting with raw umber oil paint and some glazing.