Before you begin your verdaccio underpainting, make sure you have completed everything you want to accomplish with India ink, charcoal, and gesso and/or gelatin in bas relief, so that your rendering looks as perfect as it can. This functions as your value map for the underpainting, and if it is perfect, nearly everything at Value 5 and under can be quickly glazed, rather than painted. Of course, the need for the perfect underpainting is that glazes are transparent, and everything will show through!
Look closely at the enlarged version of this drawing; can you see the areas where it seems to be especially white? Those are the places where, if you could run your fingers over the board, you feel the bas relief of the gesso that has been built up only in the areas you want to advance, to give the painting extra dimension. Pretend you are a sculptor and pay special attention to areas like jewelry, headwear, the forehead, nose bone and tip, shoulders near the viewer, lower lip, muscle structure, illuminated areas of dark garments, fabric folds that are closest to the viewer, and anything else you want to advance. Make sure you smooth those built up edges so they blend smoothly into the board surface–you don’t want them looking pasted on. You should not see the physical edges of the build up:
Mixing verdaccio in nine values is the next step. Here is where you will make your life so-o-o much easier if you have purchased Frank Covino’s Controlled Palette.
Before mixing any paint on the Controlled Palette, coat it lightly with olive oil.
To mix verdaccio:
*Put 2, 8″ strips of chromium oxide green on Value 2
*Put 1, 8″ strip of mars black on Value 2
(= 3 strips total on Value 2)
Mix together thoroughly for a “Value 2 verdaccio.”
Value 1 is comprised of equal parts of Value 2 with Mars Black.
Values 3 – 9 are made by the addition of Flake White to Value 2, then 3, etc. (aka a “color string”).
Then cover it with Saran Wrap (the most non-porous wrap in my tests) and put it in the freezer until you’re ready to paint. Even better is to buy multiples of the three colors and some empty tubes, and tube your mixtures. That way, you won’t have to mix it again for a year or more.
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All the best,
P. S. Just a note to let you know of an upcoming workshop–
Hello, readers. The Arizona Renaissance Art Guild is hosting a one-week workshop with Maestro Frank Covino, art teacher extraordinaire. If you will be in the Phoenix area on April 6-10, 2015, we would like to invite you to attend and make some new painting friends. The cost for the week is $695. Respond to this post if you are interested. We still have two spaces available.