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Stain color for a black & white

Should i still stain the canvas that neutral color for a black and white painting?


  • Im thinking a neutral grey?
  • If your blacks and whites aren't totally opaque then you will have the background hue (say brown) showing through a little. On the other hand if you did use a neutral grey there is the chance that when you come into paint in a grey value it's so close to the stain colour that you can't easily see where you have painted.

    Maybe do a test of both first?
  • Hmm...true. tricky tricky!
  • It does it your white doesn't cover the brown fully.. ;)
  • Mmm, I'm gonna do quite the same in my next painting, like paint in black and white (chiaroscuro) as a tonal map for the uplayer. I will use a mix of burnt sienna, a bit ultramarine and white. I did an experiment on a canvas and the result is good. This was a method used also back in the past and as @Richard_P pointed out it will help to don't have tonal overlap or "saturation" gap.

  • So weird, I am in the process of experimenting with this!  I have a black and white flower photo that @Richard_P ; helped me with - I painted it in black and white with unprimed linen.  I actually like it but want to see what happens when I paint the same exact thing but on a true neutral mid-tone grey - I can't wait to see the difference.  I like how my whites sing and are vibrant on the unprimed linen but I recently read that mid-tone grey (has to be neutral though) is the key to a beautiful painting.  We'll see.
  • edited March 2018
                                                                               The stain mixed for the top 2 canvases, trying to mix much like Geneva canvas stain. My recipe is DMP containing W&N Lamp Black, Burnt Umber and fast drying White. The bottom recipe is DMP containing W&N Lamp Black. When I paint in color on these, the color pops right off the canvas, the vividness makes for an exciting painting experience. My most recently completed "Orange Sunset" here on another thread, serves a good demonstration of using the top color canvases, the colors I used for the sunset are neutral colors, as seen in the photo of my palette (quite unlike the painting) in the same thread. You may also want to see Mark's recent video named "Color is Relative - Start with Non-Vivid Colors".
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