1. Steve sculpts critters
    April 7, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

    A friend of mine, John Watkiss, would always stress the importance of underpainting to allow light to shine up from behind through later applied transparent color layers to give the painting a glow.
    He said using this method (combining opaque scumbles and transparent glazes) Velasquez achieved a remarkable illusion of color range using barely more than black and white, especially in some of his metallic objects.
    Sprightly is looking good!


  2. Sadie J. Valeri
    April 7, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

    Hi Jeff, thanks for sharing your process in such detail – I paint with a similar method so it's interesting to see the things that are the same and also different in your process.
    My question: Why do you put a layer of retouch varnish over the underpainting? Maybe you are about to cover that in your next post.
    Also, why do you use retouch varnish vs straight varnish?
    Thanks Jeff, it's been fun following you over the years!


  3. Shannon
    April 8, 2010 @ 4:36 am

    I think you're right, not many artists use this method. An instructor I had was putting down the process and said, "I don't want to paint a painting twice." I personally love it when I do people this way. It brings such luminosity even if that doesn't come across in a photograph. Love seeing your progress. Thanks


  4. 文行文行
    April 9, 2010 @ 2:16 pm


  5. Caroline Bray Art
    April 13, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

    I'm just starting to experiment with underpaintings so your advice is really helpful, a huge thanks for being open about your process. I'd be really interested in hearing your answers to Sadie's questions above as I wondered the same things when reading your post. Hope you can help. Many thanks and I can't wait to see the next stage!


  6. Jeff Hayes
    April 13, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

    Thank you all!

    Steve: Glazing is a process that still seems a little exotic to me. Strictly speaking, I don't glaze, since I'm applying a more or less opaque layer on top of the underpainting. For those who do it well, it comes off as magic.

    Hi Sadie: I put a layer of retouch on the underpainting for a couple of reasons. It increases the adhesion of the layers (I'm told), it provides a more uniform visual field to work with(umbers dry matte, whereas the white dries a little wetter), and it also improves the handling of paint applied on top of it slightly; thinned paint going over a layer of retouch seems to me to have a more "gracious" feel to it. The retouch varnish I use is actually pure damar/turpentine, but it has less damar than final varnish – I use it at this stage (as opposed to final) so as not to get *too much* varnish into the mix, which can potentially have negative consequences.

    Shannon: it's not for everybody, but I want to do paintings that I think ARE worth doing twice 🙂

    Caroline: My pleasure.


  7. Dee Lessard
    April 14, 2010 @ 3:48 am

    I also paint in layers with under painting very similar to you. I have also experimented with doing more allaprima styles and I always go back to the traditional old masters style. I love the underpainting process most because it simplifies the process with concentrating on the values only. And as you said it gives the finished painting…well a better finished look!
    I appreciate you sharing your process…especially what you are thinking about. I just started blogging and I'm not always sure what people want to read about!
    And BTW…I love your work!
    If you get a minute,visit my blog!:)


  8. Dee Lessard
    April 15, 2010 @ 12:23 am

    Also…another question: What do you use for a final varnish and more importantly how long do you wait to do this final step?


  9. Jeff Hayes
    April 26, 2010 @ 4:11 am

    Thanks Dee, I'll probably talk about varnishing in the final installment of this series


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