Still life study of 3 onions #2

still life study of onions Mar-8-2019
Color study over monochromatic underpainting

Study topics

Monochromatic underpainting in 3 values; pre-mixing colors on palette; slow and intentional brush strokes

Process notes

Used viridian and transparent earth red for underpainting, on a sheet of Fredrix sheet canvas. Blocked in subject with a small hog bristle brush, wiping out lightest values. Used synthetic bristle flats for color application.

underpainting for still life study of onions Mar-8-2019
Underpainting in viridian and transparent earth red

What I learned

After the last study in underpainting, I had wondered if it would be easier to wipe out the light values with a sheet of the Fredrix canvas. It definitely was!

I liked using the mix of viridian and transparent earth red because it allowed me to go darker with the values. I could have done more variation with warmer and cooler in the underpainting by not mixing the two colors together as thoroughly, which would have been nice. But overall I think the dark earth color worked very well as a base color.

While painting in the color, I was able to lose a few edges in the dark and mid values which helps give the study looseness and freshness instead of looking like shapes cut out and stuck onto a background. I’m gaining a better understanding of the way lost edges bring unity to a painting.

A tiny bit of the underpainting is showing through, especially in the cast shadows. It’s very difficult for me to leave more pieces of it showing even though that’s my goal. Will have to keep trying!

I avoided painting all the way to the edges of the canvas because I thought it would bring a bit of energy to the otherwise subdued image. But in retrospect the onions are too close to the edges to make that work well. Next time I could try zooming out to leave more space to make a vignette, similar to how some portrait painters work, and suggesting a background rather than showing it all completely.