Discovery Park oil on canvas 11 x 12
I love to work in warm hues. It is an addiction, a habit, or maybe an obsession...I don't quite know where it comes from... almost every painting I do begins with an under-painting of some sort of warm reddish color. The red often peaks through the added top layers of color, creating areas that seem to glow while creating a unity in my work with out even thinking too much about it!
The process of under-painting for me is one of my most favorite moments with a brush and rag in hand. I use a wipe out method - literally slathering the surface of the canvas or board with color and wiping back the white areas of the canvas where I want to reveal the lighter values in a painting. I can accomplish several important things in the early stages of a painting this way:
1. Tone my canvas
2. Establish my Compostion
3. Play with Value (light and dark)
4. Find a balance between hard vs soft edges
5. Get familiar with my subject matter before introducing color.
I am a firm believer that besides being able to accurately draw your subject matter, composition and value are the back bone to a successful painting. Color is just the icing on the cake. Under-painting is a great way to work out these elements. And for those that are afraid of color (like me!), it is an amazing way to empower yourself to paint with out fear!!!
Way back when I was in school I discovered a paint mixture that I still use today to do all my under-paintings. I call it Saparindian! It is a mixture of Daniel Smith brand Sap Green, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Indian Yellow. It is the most beautiful transparent rusty red I have ever found. Sure you can buy transparent red oxide or something close at the art store, BUT what is the fun in that!? Mixing my own allows me the freedom to play with the formula... I can make it browner or redder, or even yellower, depending on my subject matter! I mix up a whole bunch and tube it myself for later use... Which makes me think... if want to have one to try, I can make one for you, just email me. Even though I just gave away my secret formula... sigh... I just really like to share...
I often will do a painting like the one above, and fall in love with the soft glowing quality so much that I will not paint on top of it as originally intended. This one is complete. No color needed. It says what I needed it to say, all with one color (or three depending on how you look at it!)