Monday, November 15, 2010

The Wash-In

The initial step in the Reilly painting program was dubbed the Wash-In. It is an imprimatura, a thin translucent monochromatic layer of paint designed to develop the drawing, values, and edges while putting off the challenge of color and brushwork to another session. I created the one displayed here in twenty minutes using raw umber.

Material list:
Linseed Oil
Raw Umber
Medium Cup
Varnishing bristle brush (or house painter's cutter brush)
Cheese Cloth (or cotton rag)
Solvent (turps or OMS)

Oil out the canvas with linseed oil thinly, applying the minimal amount to just barely cover the surface. "Breathe it on" is how we used to describe the application. This may seem antithetical to fat over lean concerns, but it has proven to be safe.

In a medium cup, mix one half solvent and one half linseed oil. 

Brush on Raw Umber thinly to approximate the shadow value of the subject, dipping the brush into the medium to add fluidity to the application. Let this set for a few minutes. 

Using cheese cloth, or a cotton rag, separate the light from the shadow by rubbing out the lights beginning with the average, or middle value in the light. After separating the light from the shadow in this way, further define the values in the light by rubbing out the lightest light, perhaps the upper chest or forehead,  then using the cutter brush, dust in the darkest light, like the underbelly of the torso. I hope to describe this better in a later blog on the Lay-In. By this approach, the figure is simplified to three values in the light and one in the shadow. 

In this illustration, Reilly breaks the process down as follows: 
A- tone the canvas to the shadow value. 
B-draw in an outline of the figure. 
C-Wipe out the average light. 
D- wipe out the lightest light and brush (dust) back in the darkest light. 
E-draw in the darks. 
F- emphasize the "Effect", the lightest light in the picture. 

© John Ennis 2010

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