Tuesday, September 27, 2011


in todays post i'll show one way i like to underpaint. there are several ways in my toolbox. i know that alot of painters have one way that they like to start a painting, but i dont think you can have too many ways to do something. variety is the spice of life.

here we go

step one- lay in the shadow shapes with something in blue or purple OR something thats close to the original OR the complement of what will be going over top of it. for example, i laid down burnt sienna type color for trees which will ultimately be green. i'll let some of the red show thru in places to JaZz the green.

step two- put yellows, pinks, and oranges on all the light shapes

step three- really important when you put down a few shapes that will have its complement over it. i put the paper towel up there and without moving it at all i rub over it with my hand. dont smear it or you'll have a mess

look at all that wet gushy paint soaked up by the paper towel. now the panel is colored, relatively dry and ready for the top coat of the 'real' color on top of it. you can let this dry and paint the real color later, but 9 times out of 10 i push whatever color is needed into whats there to make the color i need, working wet into wet.

if ive got the real colors complement down i make sure that shape is very dry and i paint the 'real' color over it waaay thicker. that way the complementary color doesnt gray down the topcoat color. leave bits of the underpainting showing for some spark. i'm always thinking about what i want peeking out from under the topcoat when deciding what to put down on the underpainting shape.


Denise Rose said...

What a great lesson Mike! I especially like the step where you "wipe" off the extra paint on the undercoat. Too often I am guilty of putting the top colors on and graying them down, which is not usually what I want to do! Thanks for the tips!

Klinger Studios said...

I was going to ask you why you don't just put the real color down first, but I think your last line answered that - colors "peaking through." Thanks for this helpful demo!

Suzanne Roberts said...

Mike, you had demo. this in class and I had forgotten it. Thanks for the reminder...Your full of good ideas. Keep 'em coming.

mike rooney studios said...

denise- remember fat over lean equals clean! 'D

christine- youre welcome

suzanne- paper towel works great when there's no time for underpainting to dry. especially if its a complementary color underneath.

Judith said...

Mike, It looks like your panel was first colored a yellow and then you started the painting. What a great idea! Then all you have to do is come in with the darkest dark and work to the lightest light which is what the sunlight is hitting. the yellow gives the warm sunny feel. I can't wait to try that. I love your lessons since I am on the West Coast and no chance for me to get to NC.