Friday, March 6, 2015


Some of the painting techniques I use have a long history. Glazing for example (where you paint transparent layers on top of each other) dates back to the 15th century. In my Painting Clouds video I explain what it meant to me when I first learned about it. 

Another technique I sometimes use is the 'grisaille'. The French word 'gris' means grey and that kind of sums it up. The painter limits his palet to black, white and grey. A lot of 15th century triptych doors have a grisaille of a saint at the back. In the 16th century it was Leonardo da Vinci, I think, who was the first to use the grisaille as an underpainting. 

By doing so he was able to tackle the problems of volume and composition, without having to bother about color. In combination with glazing (to apply your colors) it's a really powerful tool. It gives you maximum control, because you build up your painting step by step. It takes a lot of planning and patience though. If you're the 'I-have-to-spontaneously-express-my-feelings' kind of painter this is probably not the right technique for you.  
In my painting After the Storm I was very keen on getting the structure of the sand right, so I painted it in detail with black and white acrylics. Then I slowly built up my colors with oils. Even though the black and white structure almost disappeared in some areas, you can still see it shimmering through the top layers. On your computer screen there's probably not a lot left. That's what happens when a painting of 90 x 120 cm has to fit on a laptop screen... 
Anyone tried this? Let me know!

No comments:

Post a Comment