Originally Posted by Richard P
If I am going to use layers I find I prefer either a grey under painting or an ochre one and then the full colour layer. I'm not sure why you would need both either..
The Dead layer isn't supposed to fully cover the umber layer, just deepen the darkest shadow areas and help refine edges and model forms. This allows transitions to retain the umber color when glazing later, resulting in varied gradations of color that are more exciting to look at and generally less cold. Each layer in the Flemish Technique serves a very specific purpose designed to allow the artist to focus on one element at a time.
- Umber Layer 1
- Umber Layer 2
- Dead Layer 1
- Dead Layer 2
- Color Layer 1
- Color Layer 2
Imprimatura layer include the drawing transfer, allowing the artist to focus just on clean transference of drawing and end the day on relaxing toning. Each step after that is broken down into 2 passes, where the first focuses on an element and the second focuses on refining and correcting mistakes. Umber layers are for building form, Dead layers are for building depth in shadows, Color layers do what we expect. Each step has a break in between that helps the artists objectively assess their progress. Basically the whole method is about simplifying the artistic process and giving the eyes to adjust so they can see clearer what needs done each time they sit down to paint.
Try juggling everything all in one sitting and it can be overwhelming for an artist, even a professional one. Everyone creates a method that simplifies the work and organizes it into manageable bits, the flemish method is just one that is very easy to teach and follow along with. It provides a structured approach that allows one to focus easier, and is very relaxing to do over and over. It is like painting on autopilot, very little thinking needed so long as you are working from a reference, just follow the recipe and likely will end up with a fairly successful painting.