To Tone Or Not To Tone

Once the basic composition was set on the canvas, I was faced with a big decision: should I tone the canvas or not? Toning not only kills the stark white of the canvas but also influences the colors which will be applied over it; sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. In this case, I decided to use Marc Dalessio’s practice of using a transparent earth orange tone to give the final painting an earthy, but luminous effect. One of the joys of a toned canvas is seeing it break through in the final work.

Once that was set, the a thin layer of colors was applied, using my mock up photograph with the composite garden I’d created in the last blog. This is when self-doubt can threaten the inner vision!

But now the painting is getting beyond the scary stage and starting to express something. Adjustments need to be made in the garden: more variety on the left side of the path, for sure. What was fine in the little mock up is too repetitious on the full size canvas. Brush strokes and layers of impasto will bring it to life. From here to the end of the ride, the trick will be to decide where to delineate and where to merely suggest. Balancing the two will make the painting “sing”. With most of the rest of the week dedicated to the piece, the next post should tell the final story.  After that, I have a different kind of story or two up my sleeve.

3 thoughts on “To Tone Or Not To Tone

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