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Lesson 1: Imprimatura

In this instructional painting video, Nicole starts painting “Incline”, a painting of a hand on a 12″x9″ canvas. The process is narrated throughout, where Nicole shares tips for completing an imprimatura, or underpainting. 

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What You'll Learn

Course Details

What is an imprimatura?

An imprimatura is an initial stain of colour on the ground (canvas or linen in this case). It is an Italian word that means “first paint layer”. The purpose of an imprimatura is to remove the distracting stark white of the canvas and to establish the drawing/values of the painting.

Should I do an imprimatura or underpainting?

Layering your painting helps to create more of a depth and richness to your oil painting.

Do you want your underpainting to dry?

Yes, you should give your imprimatura time to dry before continuing on with the next layer of your oil painting.

What colour should I use to tone my canvas?

This depends on the colours you’ll be using primarily in your painting. To learn more about colour temperature, colour values and hierarchy, view my online class here.

Watch "Incline" Lesson 1: Imprimatura

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