My painting classes resumed this week and tho' we plan to paint outside for the remainder of the season, this first week painters got back into things with a paint-a-long demo that focused on basic METHOD in the landscape.
We talk a lot about METHOD in class. Just having one goes a long toward bringing order to chaos. There are so many variables in the landscape, many that have nothing to do with painting, so it helps to have a method, a way of doing things that does not vary but keeps you on course.
I teach certain methods in class, sometimes as simple as how to lay out your palette, knowing that another teacher could have a totally different take on the process. No worries; and no wrong answers. Just have a METHOD and use it.
This demo was a refresher on painting using the INDIRECT METHOD.
The INDIRECT method refers to the practice of starting a painting by laying in major masses with their relative color -in a wash of paint and thinner. This allows you to cover the canvas very quickly and analyze the shapes before getting too far.
Once the canvas is covered, it is much easier to follow up with heavier, more opaque paint to bring a piece to finish.
A good under painting (- good, not tight) can do a lot of the heavy lifting in a piece, while the opaque paint does the job of defining the subject instead of working to cover the canvas.
The INDIRECT method has been around for centuries. Tonal painters often lay in an under painting with one color (Burnt Umber is popular) and bring color on top. Most contemporary painters however, will use the local color to lay in major masses, adding light effects with heavier, more opaque paint, on the second pass.