Monday, November 15, 2010

The Wash-In

The initial step in the Reilly painting program was dubbed the Wash-In. It is an imprimatura, a thin translucent monochromatic layer of paint designed to develop the drawing, values, and edges while putting off the challenge of color and brushwork to another session. I created the one displayed here in twenty minutes using raw umber.




Material list:
Canvas
Linseed Oil
Raw Umber
Medium Cup
Varnishing bristle brush (or house painter's cutter brush)
Cheese Cloth (or cotton rag)
Solvent (turps or OMS)

Oil out the canvas with linseed oil thinly, applying the minimal amount to just barely cover the surface. "Breathe it on" is how we used to describe the application. This may seem antithetical to fat over lean concerns, but it has proven to be safe.

In a medium cup, mix one half solvent and one half linseed oil. 

Brush on Raw Umber thinly to approximate the shadow value of the subject, dipping the brush into the medium to add fluidity to the application. Let this set for a few minutes. 

Using cheese cloth, or a cotton rag, separate the light from the shadow by rubbing out the lights beginning with the average, or middle value in the light. After separating the light from the shadow in this way, further define the values in the light by rubbing out the lightest light, perhaps the upper chest or forehead,  then using the cutter brush, dust in the darkest light, like the underbelly of the torso. I hope to describe this better in a later blog on the Lay-In. By this approach, the figure is simplified to three values in the light and one in the shadow. 

In this illustration, Reilly breaks the process down as follows: 
A- tone the canvas to the shadow value. 
B-draw in an outline of the figure. 
C-Wipe out the average light. 
D- wipe out the lightest light and brush (dust) back in the darkest light. 
E-draw in the darks. 
F- emphasize the "Effect", the lightest light in the picture. 






© John Ennis 2010

Next Topic: Edges

14 comments:

jo-ann said...

well done!

Tristan Elwell said...

John, thank you SO MUCH for this. The only problem is now I'm hungry for more updates!

Timothy Paul said...

This is amazing. I cannot express enough gratitude for Reilly and your resolve to not allow his information to fade away.

Molly said...

Oh wow this is truly amazing. Thanks in advance for all the work you put into this. I am a serious amateur without much access to formal instruction and I can assure you I will be poring over these notes. THANK YOU.

Ariel said...

Thank you so much for this!
Great, terrific posts, and very clear

Thanks for sharing!
This is so much needed!

David Apatoff said...

I just learned about this exciting news. I am delighted that you are making these available and I will check in regularly. Thanks very much for your efforts!

Holly said...

Thank you for doing this. It is a credit to you and a benefit to all artists.

Judith Reidy said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this process. I have been experimenting with trying to develop a simple preparatory monochromatic under- painting using only turps and various colors, depending on the mood I am looking for in the painting. I will need to try using the mixture of oil and turps. Thanks so much.

Judith Reidy said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this process. I have been experimenting with trying to develop a simple preparatory monochromatic under- painting using only turps and various colors, depending on the mood I am looking for in the painting. I will need to try using the mixture of oil and turps. Thanks so much.

willek said...

Just great stuff. Please keep going.. I have the two Faragasso books the the higgins material but this is just terrific. Thanks,

Karen Thumm said...

I've just learned about this blog and am eagerly going to sign up so I don't miss a single post!

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this knowledge with us artists. I feel like a sponge, just ready to soak up every bit of wisdom.

briansart said...

Hi John; Again, thank you for these. I noticed that there is a bad link or bad scan however. When I click on "The Wash-In" (page 6 in the corner) the enlarged image is distorted and only half width. Hope you can fix this as it is not possible to read this page.
Thanks,
B

Keith Patton said...

Thanks a lot for this. Two of my teachers studied with Reilly, and I'm really interested in Reilly's teachings. I'm looking forward to your future posts about the lay-in.

Thanks again!

kathy said...

This is so generous. I am feeling like I have finally found the answers to a lot of questions. I cannot attend art school but am feeling like I've hit the jackpot with this blog. I'm hoping that it will resume again sometime. I see that it has stopped in 2011. Hope to see all you have to share.