What is Grisaille Painting?

Grisaille, [gri-zahy, -zeyl; French gree-zah-yuh] pronounced in my studio as "Grizz Eye", is an under painting technique that dates back for centuries. The under painting is rendered monochromatic, in shades of grey or browns . This technique can be used in most mediums but traditionally in oil.

I have found this technique liberating! There is much to consider in a painting; such as getting your form, brushwork, contrast, texture and color just right. You can become bogged down and overwhelmed in the painting and find yourself overworking it. With a Grisaille under painting you can not worry about color which in my opinion heightens your perceptions of the form, contrast and texture of the piece. Once completed and dry you can then apply color glazes to complete the painting. I have been using acrylic for my under painting for the quick dry advantage then glazing in oils. The results can be stunning.

My first piece using this technique, pictured here, was not only fun and relaxing but the result was stunning. I am now on my third attempt at this technique and I love it. I look forward to refining my Grisaille paintings.

Pride Lord | 16 x 20 Oil over Acrylic

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