Sunday, November 07, 2010

Fond Brun under the Yellow Rhody

Rhody, Yellow - oil
in progress at the easel
The last time I used a fond brun underpainting was almost four years ago. I continue to be amazed by Vincent Van Gogh's seemingly effort brushstrokes using thick paint in which the underpainting shows through. The Vincent Van Gogh Painting Projects website describes his underpainting as a 'fond brun' violet, consisting of white, carmine and traces of light-yellow.

Four years ago I concocted a similar tint using acrylic gesso tinted with alizarin crimson and cadmium yellow acrylics. This time; however, my painting process took a different turn. I've been painting laboriously layered small florals for a gala art auction in December. Sometimes I just don't want to work on a painting for weeks at a time. Most of the artwork I admire is direct painted, by artists who employ luscious, painterly brushstrokes as part of the painting. Vincent did this. I can stand for hours in front of one of his paintings, just examining the brush strokes.

So I decided to give direct painting another chance. I tinted the canvas with a mixture of Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow Deep and Titanium White, thinned down with Liquin. I applied it thinly and smoothed with a blending brush, then let it dry overnight. The next day I started painting, and finished on one day. Ah bliss, no time to get tired of the painting!

I feel this direct painted floral is as good, or better than paintings in which I used a layered technique. I was able to capture freshness, which is what I want to capture in a floral. I also completed it faster, which suits my need for instant gratification (at least when painting!). And I didn't have to worry about my paint mixtures drying, since I used them up in one day.

So you tell me, can a direct painted floral capture the depth, essence and luminous quality of a flower?
Painted directly: Yellow Rhody
Painted in many layeres: Trillium, Rhody Glow, or Peony

I shall keep the brush happy in my hand!