I decided to show you the “under painting” for Bran Mak Morn. Especially since Samson isn’t at that stage. An underpainting is where the artist establishes the value pattern for the composition. Its very important that the value pattern be maintained through out the painting process.
The value pattern creates a feeling of depth as well as enhancing the dramatic effect of the piece. Without a good strong value pattern everything begins to look flat and lifeless. On top of that, if the painting were to be reproduced in black and white, the detail would be lost.
I don’t know about other artists, but the underpainting provides me with a road map of sorts. Cool colors in the shadows, warm colors in highlighted areas, with a foundation of how dark or light I should mix the colors according to their placement. (Confused yet?) Towards the end of this process I’ll mix and match. Such as putting a warm color like red in a shadow area to represent reflected light. I’ll probably use a cool color like green or blue, in this one. Purple or violet works nice in these sort of genres, because it adds to the “other worldly” kind of atmosphere that we want to have. In my next post I’ll show you a finished painting that has all of the elements I’ve just described to you.