I transferred my drawing to the canvas and lightly sprayed it with fixative. I mixed up 9 values of burnt sienna and lead white, and began the underpainting. The purpose of an underpainting is manifold. Firstly, it gets me painting in an low-pressure way. There is no color variation, texture, subtle lighting effects, or even exact values to think about. All I have to do is cover the canvas with paint while retaining the drawing. It’s easy. It also takes away the stark white of the canvas, so it’ll be easier to judge color and value when the time comes. Lastly, it provide a consistent color under the top layers, harmonizing the finished painting.
Since I want this layer to dry quickly, I paint very thinly. Also, I don’t want any texture at this point, since any ill-considered brushstrokes would show through in the final layers. I smooth out the paint with a badger blender. I paint everything in a much lower value key than in the final painting. The darkest dark in the underpainting is only about a 5 on a 1-9 scale. I have found that a darker under-layer can dull the brightness of the over-layers. I’m always careful not to obliterate the drawing. I don’t need any subtle detail at this point. Notice that I show no texture on the orange crate.
This is a big canvas. so covering it with paint takes a while. This is as far as I got after a day of work. Considering how complex the pattern on the scarf is, I probably won’t finish it at my next session either.