Many of my paintings wear hidden underwear. most of my favorite techniques involve underpainting to add richness and depth to the finished piece. sometimes this is slightly visible and sometimes there is nothing to see (such as in a flemish technique painting). My underpainting is frequently very elaborate, involving layers and frequently a few days of work.
So why do I put so much effort into something that my viewers are probably never going to notice?
it creates a foundation to pin the entire painting to. like underwear, it provides support, structure and a hidden story. when I am painting my underpaintings I see the finished piece start to emerge. even if the underpainting is abstract, such as the example above, I can see the placement of the different shapes that make up the finished form. what would it mean to have red here, or a deep blue there? is this a place for translucent layers or solid color? it feels like a living thing and by creating the best possible foundation I know I have done my best.
Plus it’s really relaxing and makes a most excellent computer background.