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 What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?

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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:29 pm

We all have different ways of underpainting and doing a preliminary sketch on our canvas.
This post is a place for us to share our different approaches.


I usually prepare my canvas with a white or black acrylic gesso. Occasionally, I will tint the gesso with another acrylic color, but not on a regular basis. Once the under painting is dry, then I use my soft pastel pencils to sketch in critical shapes. They wipe off easily with a soft cloth if I want to make changes. I use colors that will bend into the WSO colors I will be using, because they will dissolve into the WSO without altering the color.

When I put WSO's over a painted acrylic background or other mediums which have been sealed with clear acrylic such as this "Mozart" painting, I put a very thin film of walnut oil over the whole painting.

This thin film acts as a bonding agent and helps the WSO's blend more easily over the acrylic.



I sketch with a thin WSO. In this case it was raw sienna. Having the thin film of walnut oil allows me to make changes to the sketch by simply wiping it off with a paper towel.

Now it is your turn. What are your preferences?

Judy

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Janet
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:17 pm

Great option Judy!

Like Judy I usually use White or Black gesso to prepare my canvas also I sometimes mix acrylics in with my gesso. For my sketch I've used graphite pencil (heard this is a no no as the graphite migrates to the surface over time), charcoal, thined down acrylics and pastels.

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dbclemons



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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:39 pm

Usually I just slightly water down my oils, but often that's not necessary to get the amount of roughing in I need. Thin acrylic will also work, but not on an oil ground. I also sometimes use water and oil emulsions (casein, egg, or methylcellulose) which adds bonding strength to the thin layer.

For marking on the surface, instead of using graphite I would suggest colored pencils, such as what Judy described. Others to consider are watercolor or oil based pencils, even Prismacolors would work but not be as easy to correct. If you don't need to make corrections, there are also acid free ink markers you could use. The simplest thing of course would be just paint.
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Callie
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:27 pm

I love watercolor pencils for when I need to start with a drawing. Charcoal is too messy for me, graphite is so-so, but smears if it needs to be erased. The watercolor pencils erase easier/cleaner than graphite, also, you can wipe off mistakes with a wet brush or paper towel. Lighter colors work well to start with.
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:30 pm

David, I never thought that colored pencils like prismacolor would work. I always assumed because they were waxed based they might create problems. Thank you for the info! Smile

Callie, I'm looking forward to testing the watercolor pencils sound like a great option. Smile

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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:40 pm

dbclemons wrote:
The simplest thing of course would be just paint.
Usually that is what I do unless it is something very critical to get the shape right such as the bird in this watercolor.



I was also wonder about whether colored pencils would work because they are waxed. David, Have you ever used them for sketching under WSO's?

What I referred to in the initial post were soft pastel pencils which are both water soluble and wipe off as easily as regular soft pastel chalks

Judy

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Sofie
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:50 am

Cute bird, Judy. Smile

I have used thinned down WSOs or acrylics at different times for my underpainting. The difference is that you can paint almost right away on the acrylic underpainting - the oils will take a bit longer to dry. I've only actually had a problem with this once, as I painted white on top of a pinkish underpainting and got a pale pink instead. Wink If I need a detailed drawing I use water colour pencils, otherwise thinned paint works just fine.
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dbclemons



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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:38 am

Watercolor pencils, pastels, any pigmented pencil will be compatible with the paint you add. Derwent makes woodless "Aquatone" pencils that I've used which come in a variety of colors. Those would, however, be more likely to mix with any watered-down paint you're adding. Prismacolor pencils resist water and are fine for simple outlines, but don't build up a heavy wax layer - do that with paint instead.

Ink markers are also useful, or thinned colored inks as long as they are pigmented and not made of dyes. There are several brands of these available, either as markers or bottled inks. Waterproof inks will be less likely to mix with the paint you add, as would acrylic paint.

I usually begin with very simple outlines, and then block in with lean oil paint tones. By the time I start I don't need to make corrections. That's already been worked out with studies and preliminary sketches.
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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:05 pm

Thanks Sofie and David,

Waterproof, acid-free inks were mentioned as probably not a good choice since they wouldn't mix with the WSO. I have used them to my advantage when I want them to show such as in a wall of stone where I want the detail of all the stones and just light WSO washes over it to give color.

Judy

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Janet
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:39 pm

David, thank you for the additional info! The extra information on the prismacolors is apprecitaed. I started out with colored pencils so I have several sets of waxed based and oil based colored pencils.

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dbclemons



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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:07 pm

The one caution to bear in mind is that the waxes and oils used in some of these tools are typically mineral based, like oil pastels. As long as you keep them as light sketches that shouldn't cause problems underneath the oil paint.

Dark ink lines overpainted with oil paint is one way of drawing thin lines, like telephone lines, in your painting. I've done this trick with shellac ink or acrylics.
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acadianartist



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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:18 pm

This is a fascinating discussion. Lately, I've started using a charcoal sketch under my studio paintings (outdoors I sketch with thinned paint). Of course, the charcoal will lift right up and mix with the paint. Because I only use it to establish dark values in certain areas of the painting, that's usually ok, but probably not the best way to proceed. So a while back, I asked a few painters about painting over a fixative and no one seemed to think it would be a problem. I just go ahead and sketch in charcoal - not so much to get the exact contours right, but rather to establish balance and value relationships in a composition because it's easier for me to see values in shades of grey than in colour - and when I'm done, I spray the canvas with reworkable fixative. It doesn't seem to alter the texture of the canvas and I can paint over it without fearing that it will lift off. Anyone know any reasons I shouldn't do this? I've done it on a few larger studio paintings so far without any problems that I can detect.
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:15 am

Years ago, when I first began using ws oils, I used to begin with charcoal/fixative because that's what I had done with my other oils. So far - no problems. Just make sure the fixative is a light coating and give it plenty of time to dry. I don't mix water with my paints, but wonder if water-thinned paint would "bead up" on top of fixative. Since I started using watercolor pencils, I don't need a fixative, so haven't used it in several years.
I think Judy has some recent experience with painting on top of a fixitive, so maybe she can tell us if she used a medium or water with the oils and how it worked out.
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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:51 am

Chantel,

I posted the complete experiment with putting WSO over a fixative, which in this case was acrylic clear spray, at

http://watersolubleoils.forumotion.com/water-mixable-mix-up-f14/can-you-use-wso-over-a-watercolor-that-has-fixative-on-it-t34.htm

I do not mix any water with my WSO paints, only walnut oil and now recently walnut alkyd for glazing (thank you Callie)

I use soft pastel pencils which are water soluble for my initial sketching. The advantage over charcoal is that I use colors which will desolve into the
WSO's without altering the paint color.

Judy

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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:35 am

I've use the workable fixative under acrylics with water added to the acylics so I don't see a problem with anyone using water with their WSOs and the fixative.

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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:43 am

Thanks Judy! I read your entire thread and it seems the fixative spray works well as a barrier. I have not found any difficulty in applying the wso paint over the fixative as I use two very light coats of fixative and that still leaves lots of canvas weave for tooth. I haven't tried it on panels yet since I generally use panels for plein air work (and then I sketch with paint), but for stretched canvas, it seems to work fine so until someone gives me good reasons not to do it, I will continue to sketch in charcoal. I suppose I could use colour, but because the goal for me is to establish values and compositional balance, I find the charcoal works best for me.

Just read your reply Dave. Do you think charcoal could seep its way through the fixative barrier? No waxes there, but perhaps some minerals.
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:05 pm

Thanks Janet (water over fixative). I was just curious about whether water-thinned oils would "stick" to the fixative.

Chantal - I don't think you need to worry about the charcoal. This has been such a common method for a very long time, it seems we would have heard warnings by now if it were a bad practice. This was how I used to start my paintings; I've got a few from 40+ years ago and they're fine.
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:31 pm

Thanks for the reassurance Callie! I just really like working with charcoal initially.
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:08 am

[quote="judyfilarecki"]
dbclemons wrote:


IWhat I referred to in the initial post were soft pastel pencils which are both water soluble and wipe off as easily as regular soft pastel chalks

Judy

Judy which brand of soft pastel pencils are you using? I have unisons soft pastels which mix with water and a binder nicely to create watercolors, but haven't thought to use them for my underpainting this is so cool as I'm truly going full circle with all of my studio materials. If carbon migrating to the top of the painting is truly an issue then I probably wouldn't use the graphitint watercolor pencils to draw on my surface.

Kimberly
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:09 am

Callie wrote:
Thanks Janet (water over fixative).
Chantal - I don't think you need to worry about the charcoal. This has been such a common method for a very long time, it seems we would have heard warnings by now if it were a bad practice. This was how I used to start my paintings; I've got a few from 40+ years ago and they're fine.

So would using vine and conte should also be fine then???

Kimberly
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:10 am

btw my method of creating my initial design is to simply use paint, using other mediums never occurred to me.
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:27 am

Kimberly, Vine charcoal works great! Smile

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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:55 am

It would have been vine charcoal or sticks back in the dark ages when I first began painting. Soft and crumbly so it's easy to brush or blow off the excess. It is messy, though. Some years ago I got a set of "pencils" from Conte that has the usual colors; white, black, sanguine... and also included 2 different charcoal pencils (one soft, one hard). I used all of those until I tried the water color pencils - they're all I use now if I need something besides thinned paint to sketch with.
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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:26 pm

kbaxterpackwood wrote:
[



Judy which brand of soft pastel pencils are you using? I have unisons soft pastels which mix with water and a binder nicely to create watercolors, but haven't thought to use them for my underpainting this is so cool as I'm truly going full circle with all of my studio materials. If carbon migrating to the top of the painting is truly an issue then I probably wouldn't use the graphitint watercolor pencils to draw on my surface.

Kimberly

I have Farben Stabilo CarbOthello soft pastel pencils. I use these for initial sketching and like to use the different colors so it makes it easier to follow the painting. I have crumbled Rembrandt Soft pastels to make very effective watercolor backgrounds for some of my pastel drawings.

Just recently, I used Caran D"Ache Neocolor II Watersoluble wax pastels for initial sketching. Again, I used varied colors to use as reference for the painting. Although they are wax pastels, because they are water soluble, they dissolve right into the WS oils. They also have the advantage of not smudging and can be washed off if you want to change something in your sketch.

Judy

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PostSubject: Re: What Mediums do you use for under painting and doing your preliminary sketch?   Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:04 pm

On a prepared canvas that already has an acrylic gesso coating, I kind of sketch in what I am painting with the ws oils that have a little water added. I will block in forms and do a whole underpainting using water as my medium to thin the paint. It seems to dry rather quickly. After the underpainting, I do not use water again, but will build and fine tune with with walnut oil as my thinning medium if needed. I like that it is slow drying and it is so smooth!

Do you paint alone? Too bad we all live so far apart! I'd love to have painting buddies!
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