This method of painting with acrylic utilizes a monochromatic underpainting in raw umbers on a base coat of raw sienna or yellow ochre. In other words I do a brownish yellow shaded version, which in turn lets me concentrate on just the lights and darks (values)—so later when I apply color it makes the job faster and creates more depth of value.

I picked up this method from Todd Schorr's art book, he works with acrylic and before reading about his technique, which is an old masters method, I had much difficulty with acrylic as I was used to working with oils in a "alla prima" (all at once) style.

I use Golden fluid acrylics and mostly winsor newton sceptre gold rounds, and robert simmons sienna filberts, for canvas I prefer Fredrix blue label fine texture or Gessoboard masonite.



FIRST I start with a detailed pencil drawing—which goes through various stages, from quick sketch to this, the finished drawing—which I had to resize in photoshop to fit the board to be painted. Then I use a projector to transfer the image to the board, which I draw in graphite then I seal it with blair matte spray fix. It is then given a wash of raw sienna acrylic with matte medium and water.



AFTER the wash I proceed to shade with raw umber in various mixtures with raw sienna usually working from mid tones to dark.




HERE is the sky completed with turquoise blues and whites and grays for the clouds, the bit of pink in the clouds is the underpainting showing through the grays. I did not plan it but it was a nice effect. Most acrylics are pretty translucent making it perfect to use with an underpainting... with the exeption of any color with a lot of white added to it, or gray.

I usually apply a mid tone of the color I wish each part to be then add in the darker and lighter tones. Sometimes the underpainting is enough for the shading, but usually I end up adding a bit of darker tone and always white in the highlight areas.





THE finished painting.