Home Member Services Content Areas Tools Info Center WC Partners Shop Help
Search for:

Welcome to the WetCanvas forums. You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions, articles and access our other FREE features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload your own photos and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please visit our help center.

Go Back   WetCanvas > Explore Media > Oil Painting
User Name
Register Mark Forums Read

Salute to our Partners
WC! Sponsors

Our Sponsors
Closed Thread  
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-04-2013, 12:49 AM
santy2040 santy2040 is offline
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 24

hey team

i have a question about portraits but not the image of the person itself rather the background. I know that the background plays a huge role in the emotion and effect the painting gives. the issue I'm having is with dark backgrounds. do people start with a black canvas and then over paint the lighter colours or start with a white canvas and lay it on thick. please if you would share your insights.
  #2   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-04-2013, 06:26 AM
Ribera Ribera is offline
Veteran Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 716
Hails from United States
Straight Black, Awful. . .

One never commences a portrait (or any work)
on a black support:
All oil color's transparent (and in time'll only
get moreso), so inevitably, that black'll only
show through the layers atop.
That'll both dull the work's chroma, and lower
the values.
On the other hand, though, many artists do
prefer a lightly-toned background, as when
painting on a stark white ground, every stroke
placed upon it appears too dark (In precisely
the same way every stroke on that black
must then, appear too light.), so, if that sur-
face instead is roughly a 7th value, the
paint placed atop'll appear more accurate.
  #3   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-04-2013, 11:08 AM
Judy Manuche's Avatar
Judy Manuche Judy Manuche is offline
Veteran Member
Rancho Mirage, CA
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 860
Hails from United States
Re: portraits

Ditto the above from Ribera, I use toned canvas, usually burnt sienna.
"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape..."
  #4   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-04-2013, 12:17 PM
DAK723's Avatar
DAK723 DAK723 is offline
WC! Guide
Rochester, NY
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 12,181
Re: portraits

Start with a white canvas, and as mentioned, you can tone it to a medium or darker value right from the start. You definitely do not have to lay it on thick - the thinner the better especially for the initial layer or layers as you want them to dry quickly.

Don Ketchek, WC Guide - Pastels

My Blog My Art Gallery My Photo Gallery
  #5   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-04-2013, 04:37 PM
santy2040 santy2040 is offline
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 24
Re: portraits

ah i see, the only reason i ask is because i look at some of the "classical" portraits and they are so dark see attached.

  #6   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-04-2013, 11:19 PM
Toril's Avatar
Toril Toril is offline
Virginia, US
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 4,068
Hails from Norway
Re: portraits

Is it because they were painted in candlelight and then have darkened over the years on top of that?

I thought some painters used black or dark supports... although perhaps not for where there is supposed to be skin color on top?
  #7   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-05-2013, 12:36 PM
fxoflight fxoflight is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 253
Re: portraits

Hi there,
Not saying this is correct or incorrect, but artists do start with a black or almost black support sometimes. http://caseybaughfineart.com/free_demo_page.htm
  #8   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-06-2013, 12:27 AM
santy2040 santy2040 is offline
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 24
Re: portraits

that video was really good. thank you.
  #9   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-10-2013, 07:57 AM
Ribera Ribera is offline
Veteran Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 716
Hails from United States
Portraits. . .

Re: the portrait posted, while it's quite strong,
and appears to have black areas on it, neverthe-
less, had it commenced on a black ground out-
right, the white shirt, paler regions of that back-
ground, and most essentially, the fleshtones
through the yrs inevitably must've dulled and
In fact, precisely that has occurred in many
works toned to a mid-tone, so it appears to me
most likely the artists instead, once the compo-
sition was established, glazed with black, mult-
iple times, until it was as close to black as oil
paint can get.
  #10   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-10-2013, 08:56 AM
viking009's Avatar
viking009 viking009 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 328
Hails from United Kingdom
Re: portraits

Just a small snippet from a book about Caravaggio

"While Caravaggio used a

light gray ground in some of his earlier works, by the

time of the Contarelli Chapel paintings, his first major

commission, he had begun to paint directly on to the

dark, earth toned red-brown, or dark brown single

ground which he used to enormous dramatic effect"

Which leads me to believe a dark toned canvas can be used to great effect.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:35 PM.

© 2014 F+W All rights reserved.