Thursday, May 11, 2006

Finished E. Gruppe Experiment...

9" x 6" oil

This is the final result of experimenting
painting greens over a red underpainting,
which Emile Gruppe recommended to his
painting students to gain ease of control
over the greens of nature.

My methods are to paint wet into wet on
the fly...but to pull off such direct alla
prima painting successfully, one needs to
judge values and color accurately with a
good degree of ease. I find in teaching
painting workshops that many artists, if
not most...struggle with their color when
painting outdoors on location, and it
shows itself evident again and again that
they have a difficult time judging values.

My habit then is to have students do a 15
minute small format value study of a scene
before pulling out the larger canvas or

This approach of Gruppe's to use reds to
undertone his canvas has proven itself
very good and of particular ease in
handling greens; a color many artists
seem to struggle with so prevalent in
the springs and summers. The procedure
also seems to assure a wonderful warm glow
that imitates the warmth of the light.


James said...

I have seen this red underpainting technique in several books. I never really thought of where it originated. Do you think that Gruppe gets the credit or does it go back further in the past?

Larry Seiler said...

Hey James...

Gruppe had a number of his own favorite painters, Frank Mulhapt and one of his biggest favs was Edward Redfield. His two painting instructors he credits everything with are first John F. Carlson, and Hawthorne.

So...I guess one might begin a search there to see if such was taught. I have my hunch neither Carlson nor Hawthorne taught such. Gruppe admits his own methods evolved, and he was a great teacher. Quite fond of helping students. Hard to say where he discovered the reddish undertone...

Main was at time when the effects of color and a thing he and Edgar Payne talked often about, "color vibration" was a common issue. Payne referred to its common use.

It wasn't just a reddish undertone Gruppe used, but did advise students to control paintings with much greens. Gruppe often chose with every major mass to lay down the complementary undertone color to what his intended over finishing brushstrokes would apply.

All quite interesting and leads to many possibilities.

thanks for your question...and visiting my blog!