Once I have secured my design with the Trapping steps, I then need to add to my VALUE REGISTER so that I can control the values of my “Colored Umber” layers. I love to paint on the Ampersand clayboard surfaces as they are most like the surfaces that the early Flemish used. When this surface is sealed it is no longer white but picks up a warmer cast and drops in value to around a #9.5. That is my first given value. Drama is most easily produced with a darker value background, so the next thing I usually do is to BEGIN to drop my background value to around a value #5.
This transparent layering technique is based on a watercolor technique of very thin washes layered to create darker values and glowing highlights. Envision a value scale with the white of the surface as your light (highlight) value #10! You are then beginning at the TOP OF THE SCALE. Each wash slowly inches your way down the value scale to the final dark (which may or may not be a value #1).
HOW TO MAKE THE COLORED UMBER MIXES
Using the Golden Open Paint, there is no preparation. They are used directly from the tube and thinned to the proper consistency on the wax palette when you paint. If using the Traditions Acrylics by DecoArt, you will first need to prepare the individual colors for extended blending, then make the colored umber mixes. To prepare the paint, watch my video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zffk4UFSXFc
The early Flemish felt that the drawing was the true artwork and that color was just the frosting on the cake. Master painters often worked out their thoughts and compositions in Umber tones as they were very economical while others worked in grey tones. I prefer to work in these “umber tones” as they produce “warmer toned” paintings.
For those of you unfamiliar with my “COLORED UMBER LAYERING” technique, I am going to post process photos as this painting is developed. But, my beginning steps are always ones of PHOTOGRAPHY. Many items are considered for (in this case a still life) and tried in various arrangements until both the camera and I are satisfied with the composition. Mentally using the Rule of Thirds, the center of interest is determined during the set up. Lighting (I use LED lights) is then played with from various angles, heights and directions until that too has achieved the most dramatic effect possible.