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Old 06-28-2003, 10:58 PM
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Grisaille pears REVIVED

I was very interested in grisaille technique and wondered if I can apply it in watercolor. There is always underpainting, but i found purple or blue underpainting too harsh for soft natural effects. I, myself never could acheive soft light effect with purple underpainting. I decided to try grey underpainting but mixing Prussian blue and burnt umber.
You can view results on painting, (exersice) of two pears. I thank the author of the photo from image library.

I find that i lost transparency of yellow because of strong values of underpaint, even I tried to do it as light as possible. Next time it would be very light.

Pear is much heavier than I planned, more brown to hide grey underpaint.



Critique and comments welcome.
I plan to finish it and add shadows. Play more with background.

Aselka


[Note: To preserve the continuity of instruction, this thread has been edited to remove posts that did not pertain to the technique being demonstrated. The Moderators]

Last edited by painterbear : 03-27-2008 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 06-28-2003, 11:00 PM
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detail

close-up details


Last edited by painterbear : 03-27-2008 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 06-28-2003, 11:28 PM
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I think they are quite beautiful.....

maybe more green? or red?
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Old 06-29-2003, 01:12 AM
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I will play with color later, when background and foreground painted, so i can see the whole picture.

Underpainting saves me a lot of time. Instead of mixing color and trying to establish values while painting, i establish values in advance by underpainting them and then glazing with flat transparent washes. I drop few various colors on shadows. My only complain about underpaint: it shows through. I try to acheive some balance, so pear would look rendered and three dimentional and at the same time transparency of watercolor won't be lost because of grey underpaint.

There is more progress.
I plan to soften pears so they can blend with background. I also will soften line between black and grey part of background.




Aselka

Last edited by painterbear : 03-27-2008 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 06-29-2003, 02:50 AM
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more progress


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Old 06-29-2003, 04:05 AM
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I posted this exersice as an experiment. For it is importance is in the process to find a "perfect" underpaint" for my style.

There is more progress and i will post more tommorow. I go to bed now.

Aselka



Last edited by painterbear : 03-27-2008 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 06-29-2003, 06:57 AM
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Hi Aselka,

This is a very interesting and informative thread. Your pears are developing beautifully.

I liked it at the beginning when you had one pear against the light background and one against the dark. It was an interesting juxtaposition.

Could you explain the term "grisaille"? From this thread I would guess it means starting with an underpainting before adding body color, but I'm not sure if that is correct.
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Old 06-29-2003, 03:14 PM
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Thank You very much for your responces. My next goal is to try grisaille on transparent objects with more complicated composition and limited palette.
Sylvia: I was inspired by project Grisaille. There is an info, which I copied from projects description about grisaille.

Grisaille is a traditional painting technique which uses a palette of greys
to build up the tonal values of the picture. It can either be left as a monochrome
picture, or colour can be added by glazing. While it was traditionally
done with oil paints or tempera, the technique is suitable for use with
a range of media, eg. acrylics, watercolours, inks, coloured pencil....
Till next,

Aselka
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Old 06-29-2003, 03:22 PM
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I was intrigued by the title of your post because I never thought grisaille was applicable to watercolor, but despite your misgivings, Aselka, I think the underpainting gave a lot of volume and depth to the pears, which you can readily see if you compare them to the surface they're sitting on, which you did not grisaille. How many layers do you think you applied before you finished the pears?



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Old 06-29-2003, 06:03 PM
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Thank you All for your kind responses.

I think, I almost finished this painting. I decided to leave table loose to not distract attention from pears and i'm also lazy to work on texture with fine dry brush.

I did few adjustments. I strengthen highlights on pears by washing of some color with synthetic brush. I also added highlights to the table.

I did not use grisaille on the table, a little bit underwash of grey for shadows on reflections. It took two flat washes of cadmium yellow on pears and around 4-5 washes of burnt sienna/ burnt umber/cadmium red on shadows. It was not a wash but rather a smear of pigment with a minimum of water. I also literally used few drops on sap green on both pears, while wet.




I did not take classes. Books very helpful, but i never did follow with exercises. I tried to paint everyday and I found out that for me it is very important to watch. When I see painting, which I like i do notes and try to analyze it. I take notes on various exhibitions, etc. I record: brush strokes, palette, composition effects.

I do not know if I will post more progress. It would be few touch ups here and there. Thank you again for veiwing and commenting.

Aselka

Last edited by painterbear : 03-27-2008 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 06-29-2003, 06:36 PM
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Your pears are beautiful. They just glow! I would be very happy with it.

Michelle
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Old 06-29-2003, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
I'd never heard of grisaille.


Me neither, I thought it was the brand of the pear....

The finished product is absolutely wonderful. A credit to you and I have learnt a lot from your WIP. Thank you very much for posting this and I hope to see more from you as I to learn from watching and reading. I do not take classes, as at present it is not an option for me.......

Well done

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Old 06-29-2003, 07:44 PM
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Aselka - WOW! I just keep staring and staring at this... I can't take my eyes off of it! You achieved such richness and depth with this, I'm definitely going to try it. I've bookmarked this thread, and I think it should be added to Rod's "Favorites" sticky at the top because I don't think we've seen this here before!

Thank you so much for sharing!
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Old 06-29-2003, 07:57 PM
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Absolutely fabulous!
Just looked again to see what colours you used for the grissaille - was it just prussian blue and b umber mixed?
It really is stunning, just glows.

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Old 06-29-2003, 10:35 PM
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Thank You Lulu, Michelle, JJ and Nandie for your comments. I'm really happy that this thread was informative for you. As you know it was experimental for me too.

My goal was to find a perfect underpaint for natural colored limited palette. I made some conclusions: The lighter the object the less intense underpaint it requires in order to keep transparency.

Lulu : underpaint was Prussian blue and burnt umber only. I tried on paper the mixture until i found very neutral grey shade, which reminded me of powdered graphite color. I did not use Payne's grey, becuase I find it dull and it has not energy in it.

Aselka
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Old 06-29-2003, 10:42 PM
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Excellent painting Aselka. The gray works beautifully with this one!
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Old 06-30-2003, 12:13 AM
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Wonderrful absolutly wonderful.
I have saved your WIP and I am thinking my students might like it... Will see what happene)
Bravo Aselka and thank you,
Kathy
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Old 07-02-2003, 04:46 PM
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It finished beautifully, Aselka...thank you for sharing this experiment with us!!
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Old 07-02-2003, 05:05 PM
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These are the most delicious looking pears I've ever seen. I love it when you can take the simplest subject, and make it so beautiful!

Sylvi
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Old 07-02-2003, 06:36 PM
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Thank You very much Arctic Rose, Sylvi, Pam and Kathy. I'm really happy that this demo was useful for other painter.
I farmed it myself the same day when I finished it. Yesterday morning I took it to the gallery, which is i'm now and they accepted it. I hope someone will buy it.

Aselka
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Old 07-02-2003, 10:00 PM
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I nearly missed this thread.
From the first jpg it was obvious that this piece was to be a thing of beauty. Honestly, it looks like guilded pears. Lovely form, wonderful b/g, love the uneven wash, lovely everything. Thank you.
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Old 07-02-2003, 11:22 PM
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Amazing! You have achieved a great deal of depth here.

How many washes did you do of the gray?

I have also found that purple is too harsh for the work I want to do, but I am going to try the grey mix on my next piece.

Most informative, thank you.
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Old 07-02-2003, 11:24 PM
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positively stunning Aselka!!!

they glow !!!

I have rated this thread.....it is MOST valuable

em
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Old 07-03-2003, 09:16 AM
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Elegant, understated and informative. Thank you for sharing this with us!


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Old 07-03-2003, 02:57 PM
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I read about this technique in one of my Decorative Painting magazines several months ago... The article focused primarily on acrylics, but I thought at the time that watercolour could apply... Based on what you've done with your pears, I would say that it's very successful in wc...

These are beautiful and luminous... sharing your progress and thoughts was very interesting... Thanks for sharing your gorgeous work!
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Old 07-03-2003, 06:09 PM
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Thumbs up

your pears are just fabulous; thank you for showing us.... I have also bookmarked this wip....
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:35 AM
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Re: Grisaille pears

Sorry for reviving the old thread. I just wanted to let you know, that this painting and Demo were included in a book by Jan Hart "Watercolor Artist's Guide to Exceptional Color". Book is available in book stores in Canada and the US. I wanted to thank Wetcanvas members for supporting my art, for inspiration, wonderful reference photos.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:26 PM
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Re: Grisaille pears

Wow!! CONGRATULATIONS, Aselka!! The honour is most deserved... I've linked your thread in our Watercolour Handbook... Now... I have to go and find Jan's book...
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Old 12-08-2007, 03:52 PM
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Re: Grisaille pears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aselka
I find that i lost transparency of yellow because of strong values of underpaint, even I tried to do it as light as possible. Next time it would be very light.

from what i understand, going too dark with the underpainting is a common mistake with grisaille.

your painting is progressing beautifully, though. it has a substaniality (if that's areal word) that i don't associate with watercolors. i look forward to the the finished painting.
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Old 12-08-2007, 04:19 PM
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Re: Grisaille pears

Aselka,

These pears are absolutely stunning. I have been thinking of trying grisaille in watercolor and questioning it; but, now after seeing these pears, I want to try this even more. Thank you so much for sharing this wip!
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:51 AM
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Re: Grisaille pears

Thank You everyone for a support and feedback.

Laika, painting is finished. This demo was included in a book by Jan Hart, thanks to Wetcanvas.
Char, I am reading book now. It is mostly about mixing pigments, knowledge of colour wheel and palette. P.S. I always had problems with my rose/red and greens.
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Old 12-13-2007, 09:27 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Grisaille pears


I love how the colors transition from the background in the upper left corner to the pears to the forground! The underpainting seems to be giving you lovely volume yet keeping the pears delicate....They are gold, but not the heavy feeling of gold/metal.
I have used underpainting a lot in my pastel work. But, I'm just experimenting with its power in watercolor.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful painting and the techniques.
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:50 PM
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Re: Grisaille pears

Thank You, Elsie.
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:11 PM
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Re: Grisaille pears

I'm interested in this technique, I want to add depth in a landscape I'm painting.
Wich colour I must use in the trees that are distant? I can't explain much better caus I'm from Brazil, and is a little difficult for me to talk in english, I just know the basics, so i apollogize if I'm not clear, but is the only site i found explanattions about this technique.

Thank you if you can help me, Aselka.

your painting is wonderfull, it really gets a natural lokk, the painting get much reality, there's no doubt.
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:32 PM
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Re: Grisaille pears

Aselka,
i"m glad this thread got back on!

What colors did you use for the rest of the painting? The overpainting of the pears, that beautiful background and that luscious tabletop.
OH, it's a beautiful painting!
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Old 03-28-2008, 11:44 PM
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Re: Grisaille pears

I realize this is an old thread, but it was so interesting. I have a little experiance with using grisaille with watercolor and think its very useful. Jan Hart is great, and also is an artist from Washintion State that uses this technique alot, Judy Tremane! When you have yellow as the local color, and want it to be as true as posssible, but still have the deeper values, use a warm purple underpainting. A purple mixed with colbolt blue and perm rose, lighter value in the lightest areas, then as you need the value to darken, change to perm rose with Ultamarine blue. Yellow looks good over this. I really like the idea of the prussian blue with the umber for that greyish under-painting. I admit I love the purplish tints, tho, and its comepletly hidden in the finished painting! Oranges, reds, yellows, greens all benifit. I think the yellows espeically do because violets are its complimentary and as long as you let the first washes dry, then put the local color over you will do well. I have done very expressive equine faces, showing sunlight and shadow this way. Also foliage. Try to get a copy of Judy's book. This was a great demeo! And very beautiful work.

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Old 03-29-2008, 03:49 AM
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Re: Grisaille pears

Grisaille is generally used in Oil painting and is a Method going back to the Renaissance .
Using it for Watercolor and ,just my opinion ,is contrary to the idea of a few washes to make the Transparent statement .
Luminosity has to be lost ,in doing an undercoating .It will look more like an Oil than a Watercolor .
Watercolorists generally aim to touch the paper with the fewest possible brushstrokes to preserve this luminous look .
June
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