Sunday, January 16, 2011

Beginnings-No Toner Results

After doing the charcoal oil sketch on an oil primed white canvas with no toner, painting on the white canvas had some surprising results for me.  First, painting on a white primed canvas without a toner seems ideal for high key portraits---especially for portraits of children.  Why?  It's easier to keep it in a high key.  Kendal, who is extremely fair haired with almost ivory white skin lent itself to a high key image process.  Having said that, I'm thinking that value relationships are keyed to the white easier than with a canvas toned with a darker value because I'm making a lighter dark side of the image.  Does that make sense?

As I looked for support for my developing opinion, I observed that artists like Jeremy Lipking demonstrate on a white/light canvas .  At the Weekend with the Masters (2009) for example, Lipking demonstrated on a white canvas whereas  David Leffel began his demonstration using a darker pretoned canvas.  Second thought;  knowing what you want to achieve in the finished work is essential to how you begin the work.

In my next blog post I will focus on "beginnings" using the alla prima method on a pretoned canvas. Again, thanks to all who have taken the time to give me input on your method.  Your comments, pro or con, are welcomed and encouraged!


  1. Even if the portrait is of a fair skinned beauty like this, I would go w/ a very lightly toned canvas. White really stares back at me.

  2. I agree with the whiteness being so stark. Have you seen the high keyed portraits painted by Lipking? I will try another one with a light raw umber tone just to experience the difference. Thanks so much for your comment.


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