Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to start a painting

#8 - Toning the canvas

The last 7 posts have been about value and color mixing,  a good thing to have under your belt before starting a painting. 

There are many ways to start a painting.  I'll include some of the options, but mostly the way I start a painting. 

1 -  Toning the canvas is the first option and decision. 

Toning the canvas means applying a wash of odorless mineral spirits in the color of your choice.  It can also mean using a colored gesso or an acrylic color applied to the entire canvas. 

WHY:  You have a value, usually middle value, to help you get started with drawing onto the canvas.
(Top left) In this example the  choice was red, the complement of green, chosen because complements together are exciting and the green of the pears will vibrate against the red.  This was done with acrylic.
(Top Right) - started on a white canvas.  The end result will be a high key (high value) painting. 
(Bottom left) - This one was toned with a neutral wash of Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna (any mix of red, yellow, blue will give you a neutral)
Bottom Right - toned with a mix of cad light and yellow ochre
It all depends on how you want your painting to look in the end.  I've tried all of these, but the way I use most is the bottom left, using a neutral wash for the toning and the next step which is drawing onto the canvas. 
Tomorrow I'll include photos of the progression of a painting, starting with a drawing. 

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