oil painting » Painting techniques » Grisaille Paintings
The French word, grisaille, loosely translates
to gray tones.
Grisaille is a painting
technique by which an image is displayed
completely in shades of gray and generally modeled to create the
illusion of sculpture, particularly relief. This feature of grisaille
was used predominantly by the 15th-century Flemish painters,as
in the outer wings of the Van
Altarpiece" and in the late 18th century to emulate
classical sculpture in wall and ceiling decoration. A grisaille
may be done for its own sake as a decoration, as underpainting
in the case of an oil painting (in preparation for glazing layers
of colour over it), or as a model for an engraver to work from.
There are several advantages of a grisaille
1. Grisaille(gray tone value) underpainting segregates
and conquers the painting process, so it's awesome for painters
of all skill levels.
2. An artist needs to conquer the rhythm of nature and allow light
to dance playfully through an art work. The foundation for this
is obtained in the graytone process.
3. The artist constructs a foundation in gray tones.This monochrome
underpainting varies in value from black to white and consists
of various gray values that will assist in several kinds of effects
when light tries to pass through or bounce off the layers of paint.
4. The grisaille underpainting assists in providing a foundation
for transparent color overlays. Transparent colors have no body
on their own.That is, it is not possible to construct textural
quality using a transparent paint alone.Hence, the illusion of
texture is created in the grisaille underpainting, over which color
is glazed using transparent oil paint.
5. The completed grisaille underpainting will stand alone as a
finished art work.That will be called a classic grisaille.
The term grisaille is applied to monochrome painting in enamels
as well as to stained glass. Portions of a window can be done in
grisaille using, for example, silver stain or vitreous paint ,
and other sections can be completed in coloured glass.