I started the underpainting. As usual, I used burnt sienna and lead white, in 9 values from white to pure burnt sienna. I kept all of the values very light, so that the colors I paint over the underpainting will still be bright. I also kept the paint layer thin, so that it would dry quickly. I stayed away from detail, since it will all be painted over, and I don’t want to waste time. I just need a guide for the drawing and the relative values. I also took advantage of this stage to correct my drawing, which still wasn’t seeming right to me, especially the branch.
Above is the completed underpainting. I finished it in two sessions. The drawing of the cloth isn’t perfect. That is frustrating, but I realize that it doesn’t really matter if my painting matches the set-up. No one will know or care that a fold is higher or lower than the set-up. The important thing is that the composition works and looks good.
Above is a close-up. You can see how simple the painting is at this stage. I tried to preserve the drawing underneath and indicate relative values. It will be much easier to begin to paint with this preparatory layer in place, because drawing and value have already been considered and established. I’ll let this dry for a week, or until no paint comes up when I rub with a cotton pad. Next, I can focus on color and light effects.