photo taken from the Gamblin website.
I'm always in two minds about whether or not to start a painting with a ground
A ground is basically a layer of coloured paint applied to an artwork before painting the picture, rather than leaving the canvas or panel white.
Here is really good article on how and why to use coloured grounds:
Painting on coloured grounds
I'm not sure about using a ground because I'm not always overly keen on the way they can tint the whole painting when you are painting wet-on-wet, so I decided to try out a Gamblin product: Gambin FastMatte. Supposedly it dries quickly. I purchased a few colours to try: Hansa Yellow Medium, Indian Yellow, Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Green.
For my previous painting I used the Hansa Yellow medium colour as a ground but I painted on it basically straight away (too impatient!). I was fairly happy with the result, but the yellow pigment was still tinting the paint.
For my next painting I have decided to try again, but to wait for the ground to dry first. For this painting I am using Indian Yellow.
HOWEVER, 4 days later, the ground is still not dry!
According to Gamblin website it should dry in 24 hours. Hmm.
Not sure what I'm doing wrong. On the Gamblin website it recommends thinning with a 50/50 mixture of Galkyd and Gamsol. I just used my usual medium although lately I have been using Safflower oil which is slower drying than my usual linseed oil. Next time I guess I will go with Gamblin recommendation.
Anyway, I ended up wiping most of the ground off as I want to get started on the painting. There is enough of the Indian Yellow left to have remained on the panel so I'm going to go with it.
Some people just use acrylic paint for their ground as it dries overnight. Personally I do not want to mix acrylic with oils because the long term effects have not been tested. Plus I just don't like the idea of painting on acrylic.
So I'm going to persevere with the fastmatte for a while, as is it oil based like the oil paint itself.
Some common comments I have heard about using grounds:
- Use a warm ground for a painting dominated by cool hues.
- Use a cool ground for a painting dominated by warm hues.
- Use a complimentary colour to the main painting.
- Use a neutral colour such as burnt sienna.
- Use the leftover paint from the palette of your last painting as your ground. I have heard that Lori Putnam does this. I think I heard Randy Sexton say he does this as well. Apparently Spanish Renaissance painter El Greco did the same. His painting all look 'brown' to me though... so....