In the studio 3/29/15

The under-painting for Woman in Purple Boots is finished. This means that everything has a layer of paint–darks, lights, and local colors. The last time I showed this in a ‘Studio Corner’ post it was still pretty raw.

Woman in Purple Boots is an example of how I prefer to prepare painting surfaces. There is a layer or two of neutral-gray oil ground. I can’t remember if there is one layer or two, and my usually reliable studio journal doesn’t help. I think there are two. Anyway, I draw over the ground with pencil then fix the drawing by tracing over it with ink. I rub the surface with denatured alcohol to remove the pencil smudges before painting.

With the under-painting finished, the next step is to cover it with a layer of alcohol-based varnish. I plan to apply the varnish this afternoon. I apply it with a rag–a very thin layer.

The unfinished painting titled 'Woman in Purple Boots' on the easel

The unfinished painting titled ‘Woman in Purple Boots’ on the easel

The painting in the right-hand background is prepared in a different manner. With Keith and Jane Aboard the Betty Jane, the oil ground is white, as can still be seen. The first paint layer is very thin and provides a neutral local color beneath each area. Each area has its own ground, so to say–red beneath red, brown beneath brown, and so on. This method is slower and I don’t think it provides enough  benefit to justify the slower pace. It is probably the last time I paint directly on the white ground.

I say “probably” because the white oil ground is wonderful, and adding gray oil paint to it affects it somewhat. Another option is to add the pigment directly to the ground. Knowing myself, with several options to play with, I’ll have to try them, right?

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