Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Priming Sketchbook Pages

Priming the painting surface with an abstract color field is a great way to energize a field study done in opaque media.

I like to prime a few pages in my watercolor book with abstract color shapes in casein. If you don’t have casein, you can use tinted gesso or acryla gouache. In this case, the underpainting is a random yellow shape surrounded by a tint of blue, which gives me some colors to build on. 

When I arrive at a motif I choose a page with an intriguing priming that fits the subject. In this case, a a  cluster of flowers that I'm attracted to resembles the shape of the underpainting.

Sometimes I cover up the underpainting completely with the final gouache or casein, and sometimes I let the priming colors show through, but the priming always influences the painting.

Here's a snippet from my next video tutorial "Flower Painting in the Wild," which releases Monday, August 21 Friday, August 18. I'll show you four flower paintings from the first to the final touches. Michael Klein has previewed the video and calls it "a treat for any artist."
On Amazon: Recommended set of casein
Holbein acryla gouache also works for priming.
During the month of August, you can join plein-air challenge to paint a storefront. Here's more information on a Facebook Event page.


Peter Drubetskoy said...

Shouldn't simple acrylic - not acryla gouche - also work for the under-painting?

James Gurney said...

Peter, yes, absolutely. Acryla gouache is really the same thing as acrylic. It's just a matte version of it

markmors said...

Pardon my lack of knowledge, but how do you keep the pages from buckling or warping?

James Gurney said...

Markmors, I use a book with watercolor paper that is 140lb cotton, and I find it doesn't warp. I hold it flat with clips or the elastic as it's drying and then press it into the book. Watercolor paper has been sized with gelatin so that it's designed to lay flat after taking a wash. It's best not to put any wet washes onto a book with paper that's not made for it.

markmors said...

Thanks for your help.

Diane Mannion said...

Thank you for the acrylic information. I've also heard acrylic gesso works to seal the paper.
Can't wait for your flower video!

Bill Marshall said...

Please don't be disappointed in the amount of purchases of your new video on that date from followers in the viewing zone of the total eclipse. heh-heh


James Gurney said...

Bill, Yikes, you're right! I wasn't paying attention to the calendar. OK, I've made an executive decision, and the release date is now Friday, August 18.

Robyn said...

Looking forward to it, regardless of release date.