5 x 7 Oil
Carole Rodrigue ©2014
I'm also laying the foundations for a new larger piece as I mentioned yesterday. I'm planning out what I'll draw first but I might be decided by tomorrow what will go on canvas. First, I need to tone my canvas so it can be ready to work with tomorrow should I decide to start painting. I usually always tone my supports with a good layer of burnt umber washed out with turpentine. This process requires a well ventilated area, but it's so well worth it.
Why would you want to tone a canvas? First, I can't tell you how many times I've seen a painting with parts of the white canvas show through. This looks amateurish and takes away from the painting. A professional looking piece must be completely covered, unless the white parts are deliberate and incorporated into your painting. Preparing a canvas by toning it also reduces the amount of time required to complete a painting since there is already a layer of paint completely covering your support. This enables one to begin layering more easily, keeping in mind the fat over lean rule. The toning also creates a richer glow to your colours. The stark white of a canvas can distort colours. Some prefer the brightness of colour painted directly over a white canvas, and that's okay too. With toning, you can also leave parts of the tone showing in your work, or uncompleted parts if you will peeking through, that give an interesting finish and can make parts of a painting glow. Should you for some reason also miss a little paint in one section, this ground colour will still keep your piece unified.
Artists work with different colours for toning, but usually earth tones are preferred. Some work with darker yellows, and others work with burnt sienna, some with grays. I prefer burnt umber. I start out by applying a little paint, but not too much. If I need more, I add more. This canvas shown in the photo below is a larger 18 x 24, so I used about three pea sized drops. Maybe four. I then take turpentine and saturate a bristle brush. I like to keep some of my muddy turps for this rather than wasting it. Once my paint-turpentine wash is completely covering my canvas, I let it sit for about three minutes. I then take a rag and gently wipe in circular motions. It's okay to leave streaks and uneven marks. This can make for an interesting background should you use transparent glazes. Once the toning has dried, usually the next day is good, then I'm ready to begin drawing on the canvas. I like to use white pastel or chalk as you can see in the photo on a smaller dry canvas.
So, that's part of my process. I find toning invaluable in my work and I've discovered the process has been much more enjoyable since I started toning my canvas.
Thanks for stopping by!