Creative Challenge: The Underpainting

One of the paintings that has influenced me the most is Johannas Vermeer’s “St. Praxedis.”  I’m not going to include a link because there is no example on the web to match its true glory.  You can google it at your own risk.  The true painting is large and bewitching.  I stood for ages transfixed by her dress thick with the shine and shadow of velvet.  It is believed that he achieved this effect by first painting an underpainting of raw umber and lead white and then glazing it with madder. (okay, I’ll go ahead and include a reference)

You can try this method even without paints.  This is an “underpainting” done of a blue jean jacket with colored pencils.  The shadows of the jacket are a dark deep blue and the bright spots are white.

Colored Pencil Underpainting

After rendering the shapes of the lights and shadows there is nothing left to do but “glaze” (meaning “color it all over”) it with a light blue colored pencil.

Colored Pencil Jean Jacket

If you feel so inclined, go ahead and try this method yourself.  If you do, please include a link to your work in the comments.

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About Rebecca

Christian, artist, wife, mother, teacher, tea drinker View all posts by Rebecca

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