"Mock Grisaille" in Water-Mixable Oil Paint

The lesson of working within a ground extends itself to oil paints. Projects will begin with a thin, monochrome layer of paint, and will work into the surface with additive and subtractive pressure and painting methods to create the illusion of form and depth. Students will learn about water mixable oil paints.

Grisaille is a method of painting that begins with earth tones and introduces black and then white paints to create a greyscale, foundation painting for later glazes that add color. The idea is to have less expensive paints create a highly illusionistic foundation, over which more expensive pigments are sparingly glazed. The luminosity of the glazes adds to the illusionism achievable with oil paints.

“Mock Grisaille” will use burnt sienna and Prussian blue, the white of the canvas and, sparingly, titanium white. The idea is to create both the illusion of form and illusion of color with a limited palette.  The results are beautiful, glowing vignettes that can be used as studies for later projects or appreciated in their own right.



Burnt Sienna Ground

Beautiful Burnt Sienna creates a glowing atmospheric ground. Images are initiated by removing paint and exposing the glow of the prepared canvas to create light areas. Drawing into the ground image with additional Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue begins the light/dark back and forth to create form. Titanium White is used sparingly as a finishing color.  


Prussian Blue Ground

Prussian Blue paint is mixed with medium to create a sapphire glowing ground. Light from the prepared canvas still shows through the ground.

The depth of the Prussian Blue sets up a complete range of values and therefore, a greater ranging platform for “realism."

hollywood bowl.jpg

Mixed Ground

Two different kinds of grounds can be mixed into the same composition to create lighting effects. This project can be a landscape, exterior of architecture or an interior scene.