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Making a Mess - Glazing Over a Black and White Underpainting

This technique is my absolute new favorite thing!

My painting mentor Aaron Donovan kept telling me to try this, but it took watching another painter doing it for me to see how fun it looked.

Before I begin, toning the surface is always my first step. I like the energy that bright colored backgrounds bring. Colors seems to vibrate more with a bright tone behind.

UNDERPAINTING: The process is to take acrylic black and white paint and do the entire painting in grayscale, getting all the values and contrast and structure down. I like to use a really crappy brush to keep myself from getting too caught up in the details.

GLAZING: Next, you take a lot of oil and lay all the colors on top, essentially coloring it in, but as thin and wet as possible to let the underpainting show through. The battle is to let the drips happen and enrich the mood, while still keeping an eye on colors you may have to put back on if they've melted too much.

The resulting surface dries kinda sticky. I'm still trying different methods of sealing the finished painting so that dust doesn't stick to the surface.

I absolutely love this technique because it is messy and unpredictable! The layers give each painting a mood and depth and sense of movement that I crave in my work.

- MH 2016


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