Saturday, January 24, 2015

12 x12 Demo on Red Ground

"Light Spill" 12x12 Demo on Red Ground

This demo took less than one hour. I wanted to show how quickly an oil painting (or a painting in any other opaque medium) can unfold when working on color ground.

Note: My standard ground color is a mix of two Holbein gesso colors - Carmine and Orange, applied over 3 coats of standard white gesso. In this example, however, a less-than-successful oil painting, already dry, was re-purposed. I painted over it with Cadmium Red oil paint, which looks much like my usual color gesso ground. Original paint applications beneath the red top coating account for the heavily textured surface, which I rather like. I love to paint on red - medium valued hot color. Darks and lights both contrast against its medium value. Red's forward projecting heat can be kept/covered as needed for depth illusion impact. Plus, it's RED in all it's glory!

Painting with a "apply it/leave it" attitude, work progressed in a series of like-color treatments. What was on my brush at any given time was applied to any place needed across the canvas.

I like to paint the sunlight first.  Straight from-the-tube white. Lighting in the scene is my primary source of motivation. I was attracted to early morning sunlight flashing on the road.


Strongest darks and vibrant forward notes, established a value/intensity range to which all
subsequent color applications relate. From-the-tube color! Minimal mixing other than a few overlapped strokes. Red ground now a significant visual impact factor.


Mid-value colors began to establish more distant areas, where a bit of mixing diminished color strength. (Value is more important than hue/temperature/intensity.) I began to gradually cover
more red ground toward the background.


Lighter valued marks developed background subtleties. Blues into some whites produced lesser highlights accounting for value differences throughout. More red covered in the distance.


Here, red ground importance is finally apparent. In the previous image the background does not visually recede due to the still unpainted red strip running across the canvas. Cool, faded greens completed distant foliage and covered nearly all red ground in that area. 


Brilliant warm colors were added to remaining open red spaces in the foreground, adding some excitement. Added hot notes visually pulled closer areas more forward.  All-important foreground value contrast was strengthened by deeper darks layered over a few shadow areas, while additional white layered to greater, and therefore brighter, opacity. 

Red visually stands out. The red ground strategy is complete when the most red has been allowed to show through in the closest places, gradating to the least red (gradually painted over more and more along the way) in the most distant areas.













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