Saturday, May 4, 2013

How To Add Layers of Color To An Underpainting

This is typically how I go about the different stages of adding layers of color to a painting. I start with an underpainting of Raw Umber and Titanium White, and I start adding in the layers from there. Sometimes I start with the background, and sometimes I don't. It really depends on the painting itself, but most artists will say to start with the background first.

Raw umber and Titanium white.

I paint most of my skies with just Payne's Grey and Titanium White.

Believe it or not, the trees for this background are done only with Sap Green. What gives them the 3D look is the underpainting showing through the green. Sap Green is a very transparent color, and when applied over an underpainting it can have some very interesting effects. 

The grass is done with combinations of Sap Green, Yellow Ochre, Gold Ochre, Naples Yellow, Raw Umber, Vandyke Brown, and Titanium White. 

The skin is mainly Burnt Sienna and Titanium White, with a small amount of Naples Yellow.

The dress is done in with Rose Madder and Thalo Red Rose.

The hair is only with Burnt Umber; the highlights in the hair are just highlights from the underpainting showing through.

Oil paint becomes more transparent as is dries, so when painting with an underpainting the artwork looks better with age. After six months of drying time, I varnished this painting with Gamblin's Gamvar Varnish. Varnishing an oil painting not only protects it, but saturates the colors, giving them that extra pop.

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