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All right! I've made a breakthrough in this oil painting process. Liking the warmth of the reflected beach sand on the underside of this gull, I decided to start with an umber/yellow base on today's posted painting. Then I took that one step farther and lifted off the lights, and painted in the darks, until I had a complete value painting with the umber (I remembered this from Carol Marine's workshop!) That was late last night and I left it to complete the today, when of course the umber was dry.
I discovered that I really like how colors go on over this warm underpainting, without having to deal with the a wet blending of it into the new colors.
(PLUS: I finally signed up for Pandora with my iPad, hooked up some speakers, and had all my favorite music as I painted today. I don't know, but I certainly felt like that had something to do with my performance. Somehow, grooving to Maroon 5 with a paintbrush honed my concentration... wish I'd done that months ago!)
Below is the umber underpainting. The finished painting above has NO white highlights painted in. The highlights are the lifted areas from the umber, left unpainted. I love this look so much I painted 4 more monochrome umber underpaintings today, in hopes of finishing them all tomorrow with the same palette.