Approaching the Blank Page- Underpaint Some Canvasses

Underpaint some Canvasses

Since it is often better to start a painting on a solid color or a pattern rather than the plain white of a readymade or gessoed canvas, one thing to do when you want to start painting but don’t know what to do is to take some canvasses that are blank and put a layer of solid color or a simple pattern of a few colors down. Then, when you go to start a new painting, you can select an underpainted canvas and have something to work off of.

Browns are often used for an underpainting, although I have found that two or three colors randomly dotted on or in a loose pattern works as well.

It’s not necessary to let the underpainting dry when working in oil, you can just start right in. If the paint is thinned enough with turpentine, it will not affect the new colors all that much.

Drawing grounds could be prepared in the same way- you could cut paper to various sizes, gesso the paper for later painting with oil or acrylic, or maybe prepare a piece of paper with graphite or charcoal so there’s something to work off of next time with eraser as well as pencil or charcoal.

You might start in on one of the canvasses or pieces of paper you’re preparing.

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