Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To-tone-or-not-to-tone...

Quick Draw Painting - Hudson, Ohio dentist   8 x 8
is really a matter of individual preference.  But, despite the foresight and planning that is apparent, it is usually a good thing.  Toned canvasses provide a slicker surface, providing an ideal surface for the gliding of brushwork.  Untoned drags.  Think skating on ice versus trudging through snow.  For me, the surface dance is most important.

In addition, a particular color of toning can enliven a work from the get-go if pieces/parts of that preliminary color peek through.  Another fun thing to try is to tone with with the opposing color temperature of the anticipated temperature of the work.....i.e. cool underlying warm.  This is particularly effective in watercolor where the transparent layers are visible from beneath. (and, with watercolor, this preliminary toning can be done right on the spot when work is begun, rather than ahead of time)

Most often, however, my foresight is dim, and so I just use leftover paint from my palette all mixed together to tone random canvasses for future paintings.  One time I used the sludge from my turp jar to tone.....bad idea.....those canvasses took months to dry.

For plein-air work, toning is a real plus, as it provides color already there when speed is of the essence.  It is also terrific for vignetting.  Also for scratching through to a previous layer.

So, I guess, the answer for me is yes.  Think ahead.  Tone.  My small painting from the quick draw in Hudson of the dentist's office was toned well ahead of the event.

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