Using Underpainted Grounds
To Improve Paint Flow And Blending

by T. M. Smith
(Norfolk UK )

Particularly noticeable when employing Alla Prima(direct wet into wet Impressionist) style painting.


Acrylics can be pushed around the canvas and blended into adjacent brushstrokes when over-painting on top of previous dry acrylic paint or underlayers.

Also a common mistake is painting onto a white canvas as it is "too white" for most tonal subjects. Tinted grounds as tonal values as used in pastels can work better.

Hence dilute a large enough quantity of a neutral coloured paint eg. Paynes Grey or Raw Sienna sufficient to cover a canvas.

Then sponge paint over the entire canvas giving a tinted ground that proves a much better surface to paint on.

You do not need to be too fussy about obtaining an even flat covered layer as streaks and blotches can enhance the finished work.

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To Improve Paint Flow And Blending

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All at once?
by: Anonymous

While I relise alla primea literally translates as all at once or painted in one sitting. In truth this does not tell us much unless we are sitting a French exam.

When used in (UK) art it normally describes a methode of painting used since 1850's.
To achive 'a one sitting painting', quick working and direct style is the norm. Mixing wet into wet on the canvas or via a pallet.
This replaced multiple glazing over an under-painting. A process that needed several mounths drying time to work.
And is taught in most art schools these days (in UK) as direct or alla prima techque.
(Or was when I attended art school in 1980's)

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Alla Prima
by: Anonymous

Alla Prima means At Once or All At Once not direct wet into wet.

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Using underpainted grounds
by: Anonymous

Good thinking...

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Use Glossy Medium
by: Liricus

Great tip, I came to it by my own experiments.
This technique mimic the ground prep and under-painting like in oil colors (yes, I'm from US...).
Be sure to mix glossy medium to your undertone layer and let it dry trough. When you'll start your paint the brush will glide much more easily than a matte and too absorbent ground as gesso is. To go even further you could lay down a thin layer of glossy medium mixed with retarder before starting with alla prima method. Careful though, if too much medium and/or retarder is applied you'll get a big mush that doesn't dry properly!

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