Michael Chesley Johnson, Fine Art, Landscapes, Seascapes, Maritimes, Paintings, Oil, Pastel

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Demo: Painting with a "Local Color" Underpainting

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Vine charcoal sketch on Wallis Sanded Paper.
I clip and tape a 19"x25" sheet of "Belgian Mist" Wallis Sanded Paper to a 1/4"
Masonite board and put it on my easel. Using a longish (4") stick of thin vine charcoal,
I sketch in my composition. I refer only to my value thumbnail sketch for this. Having spent
so much time refining my composition, I want to make sure I get it right. I draw a grid on my
thumbnail and a similar grid on the big sheet to help with the transfer.

Finding the lightest and the darkest areas.
Using the three-value monochrome palette from my color thumbnail sketch, I mark my
lightest and darkest areas. This shows me at a glance the range of values I must
stick with in the painting. No color will be lighter or darker than these.

Blocking in the underpainting with a limited palette.
After blocking in my main masses with the three-value monochrome palette,
I continue with applying a layer of "local color." I keep cool colors throughout. (That
purple in the cliff shadows appears warm here, but it's really cooler than it looks!)

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