I've realized my choice of subject matter for the last few paintings is my subconscious longing for winter to end. More snow is predicted for Monday, so this weekend I'll enjoy the sun (although cold and windy), build a fire, and paint more memories of last summer.
I suppose I could have painted snow scenes, because there was plenty to be found, but I like my little mental vacations.
Well, I've started my glazing. This process requires a lot more patience than direct painting!
In the Lobster Pot painting the sky has about 4 layers. The first was yellow, then a Cerulean Blue (made it too green), then some Ultramarine Blue with white (made it too purple) then a very thin glaze of Veridian Green. Whew! The street started with a warm brown, then glazed over with Paynes Grey and white, and some small areas with Earth Green and white Most of the other parts have one or two layers with more to go. I'm not having much luck on the sunny side of the building. The top is too yellow and the bottom is too grey.
The tea pot painting has only one layer of glazing. The drop cloth will next get a glaze of brown and the copper pot will get some red. Then I'll start on the cup and tea pot.
Verdaccio is another Italian “old master” technique for underpainting. Here, I’ve used mixtures of Green Earth Hue (or Chromium Oxide green), Ivory black (a warm black) and Flake White. I thinned it down using Galkyd Lite but you can also use your “turps.” You want this layer to be thin, especially if you are going to glaze over this layer. Always remember “fat over lean” when applying paint. If you glaze with a thin layer over a thick layer of paint, the top layer may crack as the bottom layer dries.
I still have some work to do on the right part of the sign, but I can evaluate the strength of my composition using just values. I might lighten the dark window at the top and the sky just a bit. If my composition fails at this point, it probably won't get much better when I add the color glazing.
Another version of this underpainting is the French grisaille technique which uses neutral or warm grey tones. Using what I learned in Color Theory class, verdaccio could be better for portraits as the green is a nice complement to the reds of skintones. Contemporary paintings are often stared with an underpainting using complementary colors.