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Thread: Coloured canvas in portrait painting?

  1. #1

    Coloured canvas in portrait painting?

    Do portrait painters use a brownish or other coloured canvas when doing portraits? I've seen this done with real life oils so wondered if it is a good idea, also what colours are correct for a traditional portrait? Or do you just do a white canvas? And do you try to incorporate the underpainted canvas into the top layers of portrait or make the portrait layer opaque?
    Last edited by Kate12345; 05-09-2021 at 02:28 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    I’m not sure there really are right or wrong answer to those points Kate
    But only what works for you in any given painting.

    But in general:
    I do tend to always put down a neutral wash, of around 50%+/- value, over the majority of the canvas first.
    Alternatively you could just use a more neutral canvas value when setting that up.
    But I prefer having an actual layer, or two, for the under painting/washes as I think it give you a bit more freedom to play around with them later if needed.
    As to the coulour, it depends on whether you want a warmer or cooler feel imparted to the painting.

    Painting directly onto a sea of white canvas tends to skew your perception of the colour values. Conversely too dark a canvas wash will also do this.
    As in real world painting you can let the degree this under paint shows through, in part or not at all, in the finished painting as desired.
    It’s one of the things I like about AR, how you can still use your real world painting techniques and knowledge digitally.
    Also changing the Blend modes of layers will allow them to interact with each other in similar ways as to using washes and glazes in real media.

    Perhaps a bit light on “always do this…” or “don’t do this…” in the above but the best thing to do is to get stuck in and push some paint around and see what works for you!
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  3. #3
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    Does this look about the right shade as a neutral colour? I suppose the answer is, its up to me lol. I have things on different layers, but seem to want to be fairly boring and realistic. I am a long way from have a freer style which I would actually like, but no idea where to start. Maybe this is my style and thats all there is to it? Second ever proper portrait of a person, so not running before I can walk!

  4. #4
    From what one of my art teachers taught me, a neutral tone base layer is great for being able to recognize and generate your highlights and shadows with the right contrast. He preferred picking neutral tones that had as much of the main color of the subject as possible, but the main thing was to not be too bright or dark.
    Last edited by Krigen813; 05-10-2021 at 05:38 PM.

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