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Old 08-05-2005, 08:45 AM   #1
Richard Budig Richard Budig is offline
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Staining your canvas . . . what do you use




What do you use for staining your canvas before you begin to paint . . . warm colors or cool colors.

I ask because I'm always torn -- not whether to stain -- but what to use.

Chris Saper says in her book that she uses a green earth. Bill Whittaker uses a mix of raw umber and ultramarine blue. John Howard Sanden seems to start on a white, untoned canvas. I've seen Daniel E. Greene use several tones, one being a mix of mostly ivory black and Prussian blue, and the other a warmish raw umber sort of thing.

And, what do you think this does for the way you approach, or do your painting. I mean, I've heard that the initial tone you put on your canvas has "an enormous effect on your portrait," according to Dan Greene.

I would like to hear your thoughts.
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Old 08-05-2005, 11:26 AM   #2
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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I work on white canvas. I work thinly and many parts of my canvas have just one layer on them, especially the face. I don't want a toned ground affecting the colors I lay down, or showing through more in later years as the paint becomes more transparent over time.
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Old 08-05-2005, 12:06 PM   #3
Claudemir Bonfim Claudemir Bonfim is offline
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I tone my canvasses according to the completion of my client.
I'm testing now Nelson Shanks' hints on preparing the canvasses for the portrait, I'm using a coat of acrylic paint before applying the oils.
visit http://www.studioincamminati.org/ see the supply list. It's being an interesting experience. But I also like the ultramarine mixed with raw umber.
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Old 08-05-2005, 12:38 PM   #4
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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I have also used a raw umber wash or a transparent black wash, which I learned from Bill Whitaker.

I like the cool gray tone for subjects lit with a cool north light (or equivalent). I prefer not to work on white canvas because it is too difficult for me to judge values against the white ground.

Although I generally use a wash made from OMS, for slicker surfaces(e.g., New Traditions L-600 which is REALLY smooth, or ABS plastic) I thin the paint with www.studioproducts.com Underpainting medium. It dries very quickly and leaves a matte, slightly toothy surface so the first coat of paint I apply sticks more easily.
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Old 08-26-2005, 08:38 AM   #5
Alexandra Tyng Alexandra Tyng is offline
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For toning the canvas, I use a mixture of ivory black, burnt umber and white. And lots of solvent. First I brush it on, then I take a paper towel and wipe it on with circular strokes to even out the surface. Even with the white it still dries fast, and the addition of white gives it a slightly smoother surface (though matte) that makes the paint glide on.

Sometimes I vary the color, mixing ultramarine blue and burnt umber, or ultramarine and burnt sienna. Sometimes I use complementary colors mixed with some white. My goal is to make a neutral color that is equivalent to a light midtone.

And sometimes I'm in such a rush of excitement to get started that I don't tone the canvas! In the end, I can't tell the difference!

Alex
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Old 08-26-2005, 09:52 AM   #6
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Although I enjoy working on a toned surface I'm concerned how my paintings would look in years to come when the paint has become more transparent. I wouldn't want them to lose whatever color and brightness they have because the toned ground started to influence the upper colors more, especially in thinly painted areas with only one or two layers, like the face. Because of that concern I now work on a white canvas. Is this something you wonder about also?
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Old 08-27-2005, 07:54 AM   #7
Alexandra Tyng Alexandra Tyng is offline
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I'm glad you brought that up, Michele. It is important to think about the future, and I am usually so enthusiastic about painting now that I forget to consider what might happen down the road.

I tend to put a lot of paint on the light areas, less in the midtones, and even less in the shadows. Since my ground is a midtone, would it be bad if the color on top thinned or lost color so that the ground showed through more? Same with the shadows. On the other hand, what if you don't tone the canvas. Would the white show through, and is that what we would prefer?

The other thing I am wondering about is whether the colors in the toning mixture would be fading at the same rate as the top layers of paint. This would certainly occur if I mixed a ground color from the dominant shadow color in my painting and its complement, thus making a neutral. Then the same pigments would be in the ground and in the painting.

Gosh, Michele, I never thought about any of this until you brought it up! Is there anyone out there who KNOWS?

Alex
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Old 08-27-2005, 09:00 AM   #8
Richard Budig Richard Budig is offline
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Yes, this thinning of paint over time is well known. A painting by Valesquez (sp) called the Water Seller comes to mind, as well as a couple i've seen in museums. I'm sure there are bunches more where an under painting is peeking through.

But, you gotta consider that there are also museums full of paintings where this isn't apparent, and a goodly number of these paintings are by artists known to do all sorts of thing on the under layers.

My thought is that many things are at work in these paintings with ghosts. For example, Valesquez seems to have painted thinly his correction of the Water Seller's collar, so "thin painting" could be one of the culprits.
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Old 08-27-2005, 10:26 AM   #9
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Budig
. For example, Valesquez seems to have painted thinly his correction of the Water Seller's collar, so "thin painting" could be one of the culprits.
I have seen that painting, as well as others by Velasquez, where corrections become visible. But that has nothing to do with the under paint, as Richard correctly states, but thin, faster drying paint upon impasto details, like a leg that had to be moved, or a gun that was too long.

When we plan our works carefully so that we don
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Old 08-27-2005, 11:06 AM   #10
Claudemir Bonfim Claudemir Bonfim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele Rushworth
...especially in thinly painted areas with only one or two layers, like the face.
Interesting, that's where my paintings are thicker.
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