View Full Version : Floral Underpainting - WIP

01-25-2007, 09:40 AM
Started this today. :D

I'm lucky enough to have been given a free hand with this commission so I am using it to also experiment with a new approach I've been veering towards. Trying to capture a softer feel, less of an outline look, lost and found edges...generally a more painterly look.
Recently purchased some oils and I feel they are really helping me to loosen up, hoping I can transfer a similar feel over to my acrylic works.
I've also been experimenting with space in my work, as opposed to the more macro compositions you are all used to seeing from me.

16x16 canvas
Umber & White gesso
(Using the gesso as I am unsure whether I will want to finish this in acrylic or oil glazes)


Oooh look, there's that jug again! LOL!

* Note the colour coordinated font! :rolleyes:

01-25-2007, 09:44 AM
I like the way you have composed this, the soft flow, the lost found look to it already. I like the way you experiment. :D

01-25-2007, 09:48 AM
Wow that was quick Ann! :eek: LOL!
Thankyou, your descriptive feedback is much appreciated. :)

01-25-2007, 12:43 PM
Interesting composition - looking forward to seeing how it plays out....

01-25-2007, 07:48 PM
I really like this so far. One of these days I am going to do a complete underpainting and never put a dot of color on it. Just because. :)

01-25-2007, 08:03 PM
I was at on-line at the right time Anita! :) Just popped in to see if you had posted an update (hint)

Margaret 59
01-25-2007, 10:16 PM
It looks good already and I see you're painting your favourite flowers.
Please add me to your list for photos of the jug Anita,as I'm in need of lots of practice at still life...among other things. :lol:

01-25-2007, 10:42 PM
Thanx Robert.

LOL...Thanx Debee!

Update coming Ann! ;)

Thanx Margaret. I uploaded a heap of photos of the jug today in the RIL. :thumbsup:

Update...A little more:




01-26-2007, 02:58 AM
I will be here watching you create this one Nitsa.So far it is stunning.As you bring it to life it is wonderful to watch and learn.I am so glad this is a WIP!

chammi kaiser
01-26-2007, 10:51 AM
Anita. I think this is looking wonderful. I shall be watching carefully. Want to paint flowers in acrylics - seem to be stuck on buildings, landscapes and figures, so this will be soooo valuable to me. Thanks for sharing.

01-26-2007, 11:15 AM
Lovely, lovely, lovely.
Since this is a commission, do you know where this will eventually hang?
Did it infulence how your painting this?

01-26-2007, 11:16 AM
I am loving the tones in your painting. Looking forward to seeing the flowers.

Leslie Pz
01-26-2007, 11:56 AM
Holy moly!!! More More!!!

mrs willow
01-26-2007, 06:55 PM
I love your floral paintings Anita! You are so good at these and it is such a pleasure watching them take shape.:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

01-26-2007, 08:05 PM
Thankyou Anthony. Glad you are enjoying the WIP.

Thanx Chammi! Look fwd to seeing some floral pieces from you, glad you feel this will help in your new venture.

Thankyou Audrey. This is a commission for a client that will be giving it to friends as an anniversary gift.
Choices were difficult, we went through many ideas together...Art is such a person appreciation it's hard to know what someone else may like but we do know they love my work :smug: so that was a good start. LOL!
My suggestions work towards their colour scheme in their lounge area, which is predominently gold. The wife attends floral arranging classes so a floral piece seemed a reasonable suggestion and I used the pitcher/jug rather than a vase because their home is situated in the country surrounded by acres of beautiful landscape and I believe a jug always looks a little more informal.
The soft approach was taken in an attempt to add romance to the piece (40 years of marriage is quite an achievement) and the canvas is standard, allowing for framing but modern in shape to enable a choice.
So...Yes, it did influence the piece hugely while also allowing me the scope to carry out some experimental changes in style and application. :D

Thanx Ann!

LOL...Thanx Leslie!!!

Thanx Sandy. I purposely included leaves in this piece, I have painted many florals but usually from quite close up so I haven't had the experience with leaves that I have with florals. For some time now I've been aware that although this choice started by macro preferences it was starting to develop into an avoidance, so I'm tackling it head on before it gets out of hand in my head! :thumbsup:

Nothing to update today I'm afraid, spent the day in Cambridge at Addenbrookes sports injury clinic with my teenage Son.
Very good news! :clap:
Much relief! :D

01-27-2007, 02:06 PM
Thank you for yout detailed reply Anita. It was very interesting now the concept started and the line of thinking behind it.
Can't wait for next post.

Charlie's Mum
01-27-2007, 03:37 PM
Love these u/painting colours Anita :thumbsup:
I like the comp too - nice change to see you exploring some space and depth - should be lovely :D

01-27-2007, 04:03 PM
Looking forward to seeing this...

I haven't been very successful with underpainting in acrylics (seem to go dull on me; oils are more successful for me with underpainting), but I think I'll give it a go in acrylics again sometime soon.

So very interesting to see this one develop.

01-27-2007, 07:21 PM
You're welcome Audrey, glad you found it interesting!

I love this umber gesso too Maureen. Glad you like the composition, thanks for popping in!

Hi June, thanx for your interest.





01-27-2007, 07:56 PM
I'll be watching this as I have no idea what I'm doing when I pick up my paintbrush, so yeah, bring on the WIPs. Great so far.

01-28-2007, 04:15 AM
OOOh this is an oh wow again, delicate and beautiful colour too.

01-28-2007, 06:33 AM
Pulling up a chair.........

01-28-2007, 07:41 AM
Hi Anita... every now and again, I wander into your forum... and I really enjoy opening up one of your threads... I like this composition and the direction you're taking it... will check back later to follow your progress... it's going to be beautiful!

Leslie Pz
01-28-2007, 10:55 AM
I can't believe how great this looks and you say it's the underpainting!!

Charlie's Mum
01-28-2007, 11:39 AM
I'm thinking I like the 'old' look of a sepia photo here - not sying colour will spoil it understand, just that I LIKE THIS COLOUR AND THE WAY IT'S SHAPING!!!!!!!!!!! (Not shouting, just getting my point across!:lol: :lol:

mrs willow
01-28-2007, 04:41 PM
Getting very exciting now Anita!:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

01-28-2007, 06:29 PM
very romantic feel to this Anita, watching for the finale:)

01-28-2007, 09:58 PM
Thanx Piper.

Thanx Dewi!

Hi JJ!

Char, wonderful to see you...Thankyou!

LOL...Thanx Leslie!

ROFL :lol: ....Now don't panic Maureen, I agree with you. :D
It was never my intention to colour the whole thing but to glaze a thin coat of a golden hue over the blooms. For the first time in my life, I plan to test this idea out before altering the piece. I'll be sure to add the tests here too! :thumbsup:

Thanx Sandy!

So pleased you feel I captured romance in this piece Lulu...Thankyou!

I spent most of my spare time today on the sketchcrawl in the 'art from life' forum. I did manage a tiny bit more on this but nothing worthy of an update....10 minutes max. :rolleyes:

01-28-2007, 11:26 PM
This is beautiful already!

01-29-2007, 09:55 PM
Thanx Debs! :)

Managed a little more tonight....6 down - 1 to go!


Bit of a zoom :D :

Sorry about the photos, the colours are probably more like the 2nd which was taken without a flash. :thumbsup:

01-30-2007, 12:48 AM

chammi kaiser
01-30-2007, 04:02 AM
Anita, I have been trying something out along the way - battling along with the underpainting. What kind of brush do you use to get such a smooth look . I seem to have too many brush marks showing which is driving me crazy. I have tried a big brush as well. Help. Your underpainting is so stunning. It is a work of art in itself.

01-30-2007, 04:13 AM
absolutely breath-taking Anita.

01-30-2007, 06:40 AM
That has just the most wonderfull feel to it - very old world and romantic:)

01-30-2007, 06:41 AM
WOW, Anita, this is looking so beautiful! I'll be watching this one til the end also. :thumbsup:

01-30-2007, 08:59 AM
Love the position and values of the flowers as they take shape.

01-30-2007, 11:23 AM
Really very interesting, this undercoating like this - a work of its own actually... loving seeing how the flowers 'bloom'.... :thumbsup:

01-31-2007, 12:04 AM
Thankyou JJ!

Thanx Chammi. I'm not particularly 'fussy' with my materials, I generally just pick a brush I like the look of on the day and go for it. I then stick with that/those brushes throughout the painting. I will check though, tommorrow when I go back into the studio, and I'll add the details in my update here. :thumbsup:

Thankyou Lulu!

Thanx Bowerbird, that's just the look I was after! :D

Thanx Serena!

Thanx Ann....Can you believe that I just plopped this jug on the bench outside my studio and took photographs, no positioning or fiddling except for plucking one out to lay at the front!

Thankyou Robert!

Haven't had a moment spare to paint all day :( ...I plan to make up for it tommorrow BIG TIME! ;)

01-31-2007, 11:16 AM
Beautiful work Anita - If I could paint like that I would never stop.

01-31-2007, 12:01 PM
Beautiful, I can imagine how they feel (the flowers and the leaves).

01-31-2007, 12:12 PM
Thankyou so much Barbara and Jackie...I am flattered! :)

CHAMMI - The brushes I am using for this piece are:
ArtDiscount, Taklon flat size 4
W&N 101, Sceptre Gold, size 3

02-01-2007, 02:31 PM
Underpainting complete....




I have to say, I agree with Maureen I like it just how it is.
I've sampled the glazing on another piece, I'll upload a photo later for your excellent advice. ;)

02-01-2007, 02:58 PM
Beautiful....... [sigh]... just beautiful.... :thumbsup:

02-01-2007, 03:26 PM
Ditto what Robert said!

02-01-2007, 04:48 PM
Thankyou Robert & Ann! :)

Here's the glaze effect



I will, of course, be asking my client thier preferences but I'm curious about yours too...

...What d'ya think, leave it as is or glaze?

02-01-2007, 05:58 PM
It's absolutely stunning! My preference is for unglazed Anita. I like both ways, but unglazed keeps that romantic look to me.

Just wondering........did you keep with the umber gesso or did you add umber and white acrylic too?

02-01-2007, 06:53 PM
Oh my I love the unglazed one, it is absolutely beautiful!!!!!!!!!! :clap:

02-01-2007, 07:47 PM
Yes I think I am for the unglazed version. I would hate to see those nice creamy roses change color. Beautiful work. But then again its not my present (sniff, sniff)

02-01-2007, 09:01 PM
I think unglazed would suit better on this particular piece......the jug and roses already look so elegant and it definitely has a romantic feel to it. Lovely work as always, Anita! :thumbsup:

02-01-2007, 09:17 PM
Thankyou Lulu! Yes, I kept with gesso throughout.

Thankyou JJ!

LOL...Thanx Audrey!

I agree Serena, thankyou!

Thankyou all for keeping me company through this one. :)

02-01-2007, 11:10 PM
Thankyou Lulu! Yes, I kept with gesso throughout.

thanks Anita, now 'nother question:D Sorry! How did you get the dark in the painting? I'm imagining that the gesso is light/medium wondering about the darks if you just used the one type of gesso? Dumb I know, but I admire your work so much!

02-02-2007, 04:34 AM
Lulu the gesso is a very strong pigment, I guess that's the benefit of purchasing a coloured gesso rather than tinting your own. It's a very yukky, very thick brown and if applied impasto style it can look rather unpleasant but if applied sparingly it has wonderful warm hues.
My painting was created using the gesso rather sparingly and, in alot of places, drushbrushing it in. The very dark areas are formed by layering the gesso rather than applying in one go to keep that a little of that warm glow coming through, although the thicker it becomes the cooler it seems to appear which is great for shaded areas in a monochrome. Some of the warmer mid tones were created using white gesso and then glazing the umber gesso over the top.

I hope that answers things for you, if you'd like me to photograph my palette I am happy to do so. ;)

02-02-2007, 04:48 AM
Thank you so much Anita, that is so helpful. Now I have to try and find some of it here! I have something in mind that I would like to try.
You are such an inspiration!
Would love a pic of your palette too, but when you have had enough sleep!! Seems like it's not been that many hrs since you said you were going to bed;)

02-02-2007, 06:16 AM
Hi Anita, I like the unglazed one too.
Again your latest floral underpainting is so awesome.

02-02-2007, 07:26 AM
You are so welcome Lulu!
You are such an inspiration!
Such a wonderful compliment, really...Thankyou Lulu. I'll photograph the palette as soon as I've unpacked the shopping that I should be unpacking right now but am ignoring. :evil:
I average around 4 hours sleep a night :eek:

Thankyou Dewi, I think it's unanimous...Unglazed!!! Will be interesting to see what the client says now won't it...I will, of course, let you know.

02-02-2007, 07:41 AM

Do you leave the painting like this?? It is just gorgeous, but I thought you painted the colour on next..

02-02-2007, 12:20 PM
Thanx JJ. Yes, usually I would now start to apply glazes of colour but my client popped in today and, just like us, loves it just the way it is....so it stops here! :thumbsup:

Lulu, managed to grab a shot of my palette for you. There wasn't alot of the umber gesso left in the palette so I included the lid of the bottle to hopefully show how dark/strong the pigment is. ;)


Charlie's Mum
02-02-2007, 01:42 PM
Phew! so glad both you and the client like it as is ..... so just the varnishing to do now?
It's a winner - and I'm definitely putting that gesso on my want list - guess this deserves a smilie :Dhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Feb-2007/30494-998-Woohoo.gif

02-02-2007, 01:50 PM
This was a wonderful and informative demo !

02-02-2007, 07:55 PM
:) Your client has excellent taste. I too am going to have a look for that gesso!!!!!

02-02-2007, 09:42 PM
LOL...Thanx Maureen. Yes, just the varnishing to do now but I'll give it a few days to get comfy on the canvas first! :)

Thankyou Gilberte!

JJ the link to the product is in this thread somewhere, they do other colours too: black - Which I have and a grey - which I've yet to try myself.