I have completed the next step in the painting process, which is to create an “underpainting” that is monochromatic (one color). This is called a Grisaille (pronounced Griz-eye). The underpainting serves as the foundation on which the colors layers are built upon. To create the monochromatic underpainting, I mix a range of values to block in the image, working out the darks, midtones, and lights. Black and white, or green are the traditional colors used for an underpainting in theVenetian method.

When you create an opaque underpainting and then glaze color over it, that approach is called an “indirect method”. There are various styles of “Indirect Painting” the two most notable styles are the “Venetian” and the “Flemish”, and artist use every conceivable variation between the two.

Technically, the most important consideration for ‘indirect painting’ is the oil content used in the application of each paint layer. It is very important to follow the “Fat-over-Lean” rule (more oil over less oil). In my previous post, I showed how I start with a “lean” layer of paint in the Imprimatura. As I paint the next layers, I will use a mixture of paint and medium that has more oil and less thinner in it. With each successive layer the oil proportion should be increased. This will ensure that, as the paint layers dry, the layers will bond together properly and the paint will not crack.

Now the underpainting has to dry for at least a week before stating the next layers of color.