Atelier Painting Techniques

Posted by on Mar 23, 2013 in Blog | No Comments
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These are the atelier painting techniques that we use:



After the drawing is completed, we begin the monochromatic value painting (often called underpainting), which is the most important stage in our process. Without a thorough knowledge and skillful execution of the underpainting – the thoughtful application of the initial layer of paint – the extraordinary pictorial unity which characterizes most realistic paintings cannot be achieved. The underpainting greatly facilitates the realization of a finely balanced composition, establishing accurate depictions of light, dark and in-between values.

An underpainting is a monochrome version of the final painting. It allows the artist to fix the shapes of composition, give volume to the forms, soften edges between shapes, and distribute light and dark values to create the effect of illumination and shadow. All this is much easier to accurately accomplish at this initial stage, utilizing only a few neutral tones, rather than an infinite range of colors.

Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Rubens, David and many other great realist painters utilized underpainting very effectively.

Painting Color

Once the monochromatic value painting (underpainting) is dry, the artist superimposes layers of colored paint – applying them in order from thin translucent glazy layers, to increasingly thick and more opaque layers. The accurate values of the underpainting help the artist to match the correct darkness or lightness when applying the subsequent layers of colored paint. The lighter areas are generally rendered with full-body color, whereas shadows are painted in very thin semi-transparent glazy layers. Warm and cool tones created by the newly-applied colored layers, are unified by the accurate values (light and dark) originally established by the monochromatic underpainting.

During this step the main concern is to give everything its correct coloring, to render materials appropriately, and to fix the final soft contours of each shape/form. Each distinctive section of the painting is executed as a separate entity, or adjacent sections are executed together in bulk and finished in one or more sessions.


is the final step in the painting process. Although in theory it seems rather simple, in practice glazing technique can be a very complex undertaking. In the simplest terms, glazing consists of applying – usually with a soft-bristled brush – a transparent and thin layer of paint, mixed with a glazing medium, over another thoroughly dried layer of paint. The glazing layer creates an optical color shift without disturbing the dried layer below. Glazing is similar to placing a sheet of colored glass over a monochrome photograph, creating a unique “shine through,” stained-glass effect that is not obtainable by direct mixture of paint or any other painting process.