Sunday, 12 July 2009

Arab Grisaille

A new painting started!

This is my first attempt at a grisaille oil painting. The basic idea in a nutshell, as I understand it, is to produce an underpainting mapping out all of the tones, before then applying thin glazes of colour gradually to produce the finished result.

Before starting I took much more time than usual preparing a canvas. Layers of gesso were applied, and then sanded down, and then reapplied, to eventually achieve a smooth surface to work on. Once I had my smooth surface I then applied several coats of thin oil paint as a base, or imprimatura.

So far I have my first layer of paint down. My underpainting will be produced using only white, and burnt umber paint, with possibly some ivory black mixed in to pick out the darkest shadows later on. I actually found the smooth surface quite tricky in some ways- this first layer was competed wet on wet and it was quite slippy! I was limited in terms of how much I could do as brushstrokes ended up taking paint off the canvas rather than putting it on if I wasn't careful.

I plan to continue to work on the underpainting in layers until it represents a finished tonal version of the painting; having gone to all the trouble of preparing the canvas I am keen to really achieve high levels of detailed accuracy before thinking about applying the coloured glazes.