Archive for September 29th, 2009

GC Myers 2009 Underpainting #@So I’m well into the underpainting of this large 42″ by 60″ canvas, a step that is perhaps the most important in my process.  This part of the process really builds the final composition and gives me guideposts as it grows to what the final product might be.  As I’m painting, I’m taking in parts of the painting that I will later enhance and highlight.

In this top photo I build three layers of landscape beyond the village with a path running through them.  This adds depth and distance into the picture plane and creates an atmosphere of sorts.  It changes what the focus of the painting might end up being.  This addition, in my mind, brings in the possibility that the path running farther into this landscape says something about what might be coming or what has gone.  It’s not all about the static existence of the structures.

GC Myers Underpainting DetailAfter finishing this bit of landscape, I turn my attention to building my sky.  Again using a red oxide, I start a rough cross-hatch and fill the area where the sky will be.  At this point in the process, I am not yet thinking about the way the light will emerge from this sky.  I am merely putting down a base from which the sky will grow .

GC Myers Underpainting SkyTo many painters, this may seem like needless work.  By that I mean there are quicker ways to proceed with this sky to reach a similar final product.  However, for me, this is the way I have adapted that best fits with the way my mind operates.  It is slower in process and forces my mind to be less reactive, allowing me to take in the whole  picture and adjust, bit by bit.  I t just works best for me.

GC Myers 2009 Underpainting FinalMy next step is to finish the area on the right side of the waterway ,in the bottom right quarter of the painting.  I’ve decided I want to continue the road through the house and have some smaller roads off it.  I just felt that area needed a little more visual interest but don’t want it to be too fussy.  As I wrote before, I want the lower parts of the painting to enhance the whole, not dominate.  The only part of the painting that is left blank at this point is the waterway.  I sometimes also use a layer of red oxide in this situation but I’m leaving it blank for the time being to see how the areas above evolve.  They’ll dictate how I will proceed with the waterway.

So I’m basically done with the underpainting.  I have a really good idea at this point how the painting will grow although it can often change, especially in it’s emotional tone or feeling,  beyond this point in the process.  The next step is to start introducing more color and build.  I’ll let you know how it goes…

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