|Underpainting For Along The Gunpowder, 26X36|
|Along The Gunpowder, 26X36, Oil on Canvas, G print.|
The other day I was looking through some old shots and I found this shot of the underpainting of the Gunpowder scene (reposted from my very first blog post). Now that I've gotten around a bit in the blogosphere, I thought this glimpse into the process might be interesting.
This is the first serious oil painting that I did since 1983. I began it in 2005 and finished it in 2009. I actually picked up where I left off in 1983 with this underpainting technique that I developed for its rapid mono-chromatic result.
The canvas is coated with a couple layers of white acrylic latex, and then coated with brown tinted gum arabic, and a simple drawing (one of my dots and dashes drawings like in my blog header) was done for placement. The neat thing about gum arabic is that water instantly dissolves it but oil won't touch it. So. If one was to make any kind of mark with just water (a thin elegant line from a sable pointer, splatter from a tooth brush, spit), and then quickly wipe a rag over it, a beautiful gleaming white mark would result. All kinds of wonderful craziness happens as one works over the whole composition in reverse.
Later a similar procedure was executed with UM blue sparingly. This completes the full spectrum in the underpainting given the composite color and value possibilities in the BU and UM layers. The canvas is then 'closed' to water media with a layer of medium. The paint is applied in daubs of very thin glazes, so that there appears to be practically no texture to the painting.
I liked the underpainting so much that I had no desire to mess it up, and just observed it (planning) in the studio for a few years, until I got up the courage to set up a pallet. I had been dreaming about this painting for twenty years, about approaching large works with these techniques, the daubed color "notes" leaving much of the underpainting showing, and ending up with practically nothing on the canvas, a characteristic I have come to admire in the venerable old pieces in the museums.
In any event--just another approach, thought it would be of interest.