Going through our files I found some notes that we took during a plein air event last summer and thought it would be fun to share how much we learned about underpainting!
An underpainting is a preparatory sketch or simple painting that serves as a base over which the artist then layers their final work. The underpainting often is used in oil and acrylic paintings to do a loose mock up of the layout of the piece, and will mark major light and dark points. The coloration and extent of the underpainting varies from artist to artist, as each has their own preferences on how much the underpainting affects or shows through to the final piece.
To someone like myself who has no technical or academic background in painting, it might seem like common sense to do an underpainting in black and white, or perhaps green if you were doing a landscape. A color that would blend into the overpainting I thought, or rather, a color that wouldn’t clash with the overpainting.
So imagine my surprise when I learned that many artists of landscapes use a bright orange to do their underpaintings! Using the color burnt umber can look muddy when layers are placed on top, whereas using yellow ochre stays a clear golden honey color.
The finished product comes out with vivid bright colors
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“Underpainting: Why You Need to Do It.” Jerry's Artarama Online Art Blog, 4 Apr. 2016, www.jerrysartarama.com/blog/underpainting-why-you-need-to-do-it/.