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Old 02-26-2018, 01:32 PM
Lcruz84 Lcruz84 is offline
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What tonal ground color to use?

I am trying a new technique with acrylics by adding a tonal ground. I see artists use greys, yellows or complimentary colors as a tonal ground but why? I have problems with the vibrancy and going too dark. I’m hoping jawing a tonal ground will help with that. Right now I plan on painting a tropical landscape with a toucan, lots of different greens. Which I can see all becoming the same color. I made the tonal ground using black,white and red mixed with airbrush medium. But how will I know Which colors are best for a tonal ground?
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Old 02-26-2018, 02:44 PM
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Humbaba Humbaba is offline
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Re: What tonal ground color to use?


You need to understand that a toned ground is just one of several choices an artist has to work on a painting.

1. Toned Ground
2. Imprimatura
3. Underpainting

Each one serves a purpose. A toned ground is normally done in grey to help relieve the eyes from the monotony of the white ground. A white ground makes difficult to establish a proper relationship of colors.

A silvery green, light grey, or pink ground might cover the white canvas in an opaque layer, this can help to add luminosity to the subsequent painting.
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Old 02-26-2018, 03:24 PM
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Gigalot Gigalot is offline
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Re: What tonal ground color to use?

For your purpose I will personally try pink ground made from one part of Venetian Red or Mars Red mixed with three parts of regular semi-opaque White. To get a medium pink, not very dark or very light colored and reasonably muted. Very bright colors make me blind as they pop up too aggressive. Muted pink ground is useful to paint green grass and forest. Not bad for sky. The idea comes from Constable

Last edited by Gigalot : 02-26-2018 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:49 AM
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Journeyman Journeyman is offline
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Re: What tonal ground color to use?

There are lots of reasons and strategies for using toned grounds here are a few that I use.
When painting outdoors I will carry a few differently toned panels.
A Blue gray panels is useful on a sunny day as the blue will match the sky and I can paint dark trees over the dry ground, add any clouds and we are well under way in a short time.
A warm pink grey is good under a predominantly green landscape as the warm colour showing through the green give some life and vibrancy to the view.
Mostly I will not pre-tone but quickly paint in an overall tonal wash that will become the background and half tones, while the wash is still wet I’ll wipe out the lights to get the placement. Then I will go in with the shadows, then the lights. This is a quick way to paint as you establish all the essentials in the beginning.

“What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?”
— Allen Ginsberg
Are you ready for a Journey?
PS Critiques always welcome but no plaudits or emoting please.
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Old 02-27-2018, 10:06 AM
budigart budigart is offline
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Re: What tonal ground color to use?

Toning a canvas has an effect on the finished painting. Also, a light to middle toned ground will help establish values immediately. For example, any color you put on a pure white canvas is darker than the canvas. You have to wait until your canvas is covered before your can compare values accurately.

And, the tone you use can have a large effect on the final painting. Try this: cut several pieces of stiff cardboard. Seal with acrylic matte medium. Paint one of them a deep red, another black, another middle gray, and maybe a couple of other colors. Make them around 8X10 inches . . . maybe smaller. Then, paint the same picture on these grounds. Make it very simple so you can finish your mini-paintings in a few minutes. The purpose is not to paint a masterpiece, but to see the effect of different toned grounds.

This will help you make future decisions about which toned ground you want to use for other paintings.
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Old 02-28-2018, 09:14 AM
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Humbaba Humbaba is offline
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Re: What tonal ground color to use?

Take a look at the beginning of these videos (just the beginning), the artist does not start a painting on a white canvas, he first tone it or mute the white in order to begin the painting:







Last edited by Humbaba : 02-28-2018 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:32 PM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: What tonal ground color to use?

I prefer a "taffy", or "putty" color for my toned, oil ground. I used to mix White and Raw Umber to obtain that, but lately I've been using Buff Titanium from The Art Treehouse, directly as it comes from its tube. That suits my tastes quite well.
wfmartin. My Blog "Creative Realism"...www.williamfmartin.blogspot.com
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Old 03-01-2018, 04:30 PM
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ronsu18 ronsu18 is offline
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Re: What tonal ground color to use?

Henri Matisse started with a cadmium yellow canvas due to his strong, expressionist colorscapes. he felt it helped in making bolder color choices.
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