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Old 03-29-2017, 08:15 PM
neilpriceart neilpriceart is offline
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Reasons for a Grisaille?

Hi,
I hope this isn't too much of a stupid question, I am genuinely confused

Why do artists paint a Grisaille. Is see artists now and so many old masters do such a detailed Grisaille before painting over with color.

Is it just for their own reference when they paint over? Is so, if you did a value study would this mean theres no reason for one?

Or is it to have the value backdrop for the glazing? And if so what about all the areas you paint over with opaque paint, was there any point in that part of the Grisaille?

I know so many masters did it. I just don't really know why!?!

Am I missing something?

Thanks
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:43 PM
wdaniels wdaniels is offline
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

Starting with a monochrome underpainting (usually in brown or grey tones) allows the artist to first solve the problems of accurate drawing, values, and composition without the added complication of color. Color is then built up with glazing and scumbles, with opaque paint usually reserved for the lighter areas. This method also gives a much greater illusion of depth that the direct, alla prima method, and can achieve rich, glowing colors. This demonstration might help explain: http://www.penroseart.com/vermeer01.htm
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:55 AM
neilpriceart neilpriceart is offline
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

Thank you so much
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:23 AM
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

As WDaniels said, a monochrome underpainting is often used to make the painting process easier.

But a true grisaille wasn't used much in earlier days. Most painters (as far as I know) used earth colors (browns) for their underpainting. This is very much an economic choice: earths are cheap and dry quickly.

IMO earths also a 'better' choice artistically speaking. Flesh tones, greys and blues, but also reds and oranges look a lot better when painted over warm earths than over greys (provided you let the underpainting shimmer through a bit). In my eyes a grey underpainting doesn't often yield the most pleasant results, colorwise.

I don't believe the pure glazing technique (many layers of transparant paint) wasn't used very much in the past. Painters have long been craftsmen and businessmen (not artists as we view them today), who had to develop practical and economical methods, to achieve desired effects with as little layers, paint and effort as possible. In my personal experience, using an underpainting in earth colors is the easiest and most efficient way of achieving a rich and vibrant look.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:20 AM
tiago.dagostini tiago.dagostini is offline
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0chre
As WDaniels said, a monochrome underpainting is often used to make the painting process easier.

But a true grisaille wasn't used much in earlier days. Most painters (as far as I know) used earth colors (browns) for their underpainting. This is very much an economic choice: earths are cheap and dry quickly.

IMO earths also a 'better' choice artistically speaking. Flesh tones, greys and blues, but also reds and oranges look a lot better when painted over warm earths than over greys (provided you let the underpainting shimmer through a bit). In my eyes a grey underpainting doesn't often yield the most pleasant results, colorwise.

I don't believe the pure glazing technique (many layers of transparant paint) wasn't used very much in the past. Painters have long been craftsmen and businessmen (not artists as we view them today), who had to develop practical and economical methods, to achieve desired effects with as little layers, paint and effort as possible. In my personal experience, using an underpainting in earth colors is the easiest and most efficient way of achieving a rich and vibrant look.

Hope this helps.


Well considering some commissions back then costed as much as a small castle reform, they could afford to go for excellence. Florence and Naples messenas where famous for spending in single paintings more than enough to arm a full regiment of troops.
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Old 05-03-2017, 11:38 AM
corinaghetu corinaghetu is offline
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Smile Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

I think the reason for using grisaille is because you can focus better on the shades, instead of focusing also on how every color looks. I myself use this technique and it helps me a lot.
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Old 05-03-2017, 11:41 AM
tiago.dagostini tiago.dagostini is offline
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

Quote:
Originally Posted by neilpriceart
Hi,
I hope this isn't too much of a stupid question, I am genuinely confused

Why do artists paint a Grisaille. Is see artists now and so many old masters do such a detailed Grisaille before painting over with color.

Is it just for their own reference when they paint over? Is so, if you did a value study would this mean theres no reason for one?

Or is it to have the value backdrop for the glazing? And if so what about all the areas you paint over with opaque paint, was there any point in that part of the Grisaille?

I know so many masters did it. I just don't really know why!?!

Am I missing something?

Thanks


You usually do not use much opaque paint when you are doing a grisaile first. You use transparent glazes over it. You want to inherit the light absorption and shadow behavior of the grisaile on your other colors.
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:55 PM
wdaniels wdaniels is offline
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

Quote:
Originally Posted by corinaghetu
I think the reason for using grisaille is because you can focus better on the shades, instead of focusing also on how every color looks. I myself use this technique and it helps me a lot.
I think that most people who are learning to paint would benifit greatly if they started out with the indirect method or at least did many monochrome studies to focus on tonal values. Aside from poor drawing skills, the number one weakness I see in novice paintings is innacurate tonal values, in fact, it seems that many don't even consider them.
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Old 05-04-2017, 03:48 PM
tiago.dagostini tiago.dagostini is offline
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdaniels
I think that most people who are learning to paint would benifit greatly if they started out with the indirect method or at least did many monochrome studies to focus on tonal values. Aside from poor drawing skills, the number one weakness I see in novice paintings is innacurate tonal values, in fact, it seems that many don't even consider them.


That can also be solved by people learning to draw before they learn to paint :P I find hard to understand why so much resistance to learn a foundation skill that is already half way on the path that is to be followed.
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Old 05-04-2017, 03:48 PM
MJFaxapw MJFaxapw is offline
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

The early European "Panel Painters" used tempera. Because tempera is not easy to blend and get tonal variations the technique of a tonal under-painting was developed. It usually was a tonal painting using Indian ink. To get the desired effect of shading and strong colors tempera was added in glazes.

When oils started showing up, the paintings were a mix of tempera and oil, still the artists stuck with the original Panel Painter technique of the under-painting because the majority of the painting was tempera and oils where still just not that good so they painted in glazes to get stronger colors.

Overtime by the 1500s with experimentation and new oil techniques, painters started to give up the tempera, and since they wanted to get rich colors and tones they still painted with glazes so they kept the under-painting. Which now because of the oil layers gave an even better light effect.

By the end of 1700's and the beginning of the pigment revolution (that came with the industrial revolution). The old schools still used underpaintings, and the newer oils gave even better colors. Glazing was still used by most artist, but the use of the under-painting started to slowly disappear with introduction of even better pigments that could be used straight out the “tube” and of course the introduction of alla prima.

Then came various off shoots of the Alla-Prima revolution (such as impressionism) where color became secondary to light and the colors don't matter.

So you want a brilliant colorful painting, try this. Paint a portrait or a genre. Use Verdaccio for all flesh. Us Grisaille for clothing and objects in foreground. Bistre for the background.

Good luck
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Old 07-20-2017, 02:59 PM
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ptrkgmc ptrkgmc is online now
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

daniels,
Use of a gris will unify your painting in so far as values are concerned. try it!
Patrick
p.s.I use Mamieri Cassel Earth, in my gris.
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Old 08-06-2017, 03:16 PM
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

It is less daunting to begin simple, and add complexity to a project step by step, the same with color, once you have established the masses, light and shadows correctly, and it is pleasing to your eyes, and to others, you know you are in the right track.

Maybe not the best example, but below you can see something I started, unfortunately I have been unable to complete. Adding glazes of color is less problematic from this stage upward.

This particular Grisaille has been isolated with varnish, not recommended, but it is actually an experiment.

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Old 08-11-2017, 10:10 PM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

There are 3 dimensions of color--Hue, Value, and Chroma.

Hue, and Chroma are the two that are the best indicators of color identification. Value represents the dimension of light, and dark, and can easily be expressed in neutrals.

When I create a grisaille (gray) underpainting in as much detail as I can, and as accurate as I want it to be, I have solved ONE, entire attribute (dimension) of color, and then all I have to do is to scrub (glaze) color over it. In this case, I use the grisaille underpainting as a "value map", indicating to me the accurate locations of the light, medium, and dark colors.

I always tell my glazing students that once you have prepared a grisaille underpainting with such care, the rest of the painting practically paints itself! By the time I finish my painting, the grisaille is totally covered by the color layers, but by then, it has served its purpose of being a "value map".



This is a typical "work-up" for one of my flower paintings, for which I employed a grisaille underpainting for the specific purpose I have described. I dunno'.....it's been working well for me for many years, now. You can't beat THAT with a stick!
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:08 PM
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Gina dada Gina dada is offline
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0chre
As WDaniels said, a monochrome underpainting is often used to make the painting process easier.

But a true grisaille wasn't used much in earlier days. Most painters (as far as I know) used earth colors (browns) for their underpainting. This is very much an economic choice: earths are cheap and dry quickly.

IMO earths also a 'better' choice artistically speaking. Flesh tones, greys and blues, but also reds and oranges look a lot better when painted over warm earths than over greys (provided you let the underpainting shimmer through a bit). In my eyes a grey underpainting doesn't often yield the most pleasant results, colorwise.

I don't believe the pure glazing technique (many layers of transparant paint) wasn't used very much in the past. Painters have long been craftsmen and businessmen (not artists as we view them today), who had to develop practical and economical methods, to achieve desired effects with as little layers, paint and effort as possible. In my personal experience, using an underpainting in earth colors is the easiest and most efficient way of achieving a rich and vibrant look.

Hope this helps.



Hello, I would have always wondered why artists painted their first layers with earth paintings instead of grisaille. I would like to study this technique, which artist worked that technique or do you know any online book to study this technique?
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:54 AM
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Re: Reasons for a Grisaille?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gina dada
Hello, I would have always wondered why artists painted their first layers with earth paintings instead of grisaille. I would like to study this technique, which artist worked that technique or do you know any online book to study this technique?
I think a large portion (if not most) of (north) european painters from the 17th to the late 19th/early 20th century used earths for their underpaintings.

I don't think you need books to learn it. It's just a matter of trying it out. The trick is to paint most of it quite thinly, to let the warmth of the underpainting shine through.

I posted a painting with pictures of the underpainting and subsequent layers and some explanation in this post. Hopefully it helps.

Last edited by 0chre : 08-15-2017 at 05:02 AM.
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