Author Topic: Priming the Figure  (Read 1729 times)

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Robert Burnham

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Re: Priming the Figure
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2023, 03:09:27 PM »
Thanks for all the tips! I will definitely prime my next set of figures with either white or grey.

Re: Priming the Figure
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2023, 10:15:54 PM »
I use Tamiya Fine Surface Primer (L) in white in the spray can.  Always, as Marko stated, handy, with very smooth matte finish.  Oils and acrylics over it have not been a problem at all for me, at least that I can tell.  I also let it dry for days or weeks.


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Re: Priming the Figure
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2023, 02:26:51 PM »
It depends on what paint you use: acrylics or oils. I"m told (I'm and oils painter) that acrylics are formulated to go from dark to light, so that a black primer will work well with them and still allow painting "up" to brilliant highlights. OTOH, if you try that with oils you will get what Hannibal suggests. My acrylic painter friends swear by black primers, but that's due to the nature of their medium.

Of course if you're looking for the "dead" color effect as a final finish, then black or gray will help you with that. I have used black and find it very hard to see the details. One trick is to lightly dry-brush a bit of medium gray on the figure to pick out the highs and make them visible. However, I find the inability to see details disorienting.

The color of the primer affects the brilliance (chroma)  of the final color layer so that a black primer mutes the final tones, a gray primer mutes a little less, and white gives the most brilliant chroma. Light passes through the paint to reflect off the primer. So the more brilliant the desired color; the more reflection is needed; hence a lighter primer.  As an experiment, paint red over a black, gray and white primer.

In addition to color effects, primer also provides "tooth," or a gripping surface, for the paint to adhere to. This is important with oils.

It's also helpful to use a primer with a base different from the base of your main paints. E.G.  if you use oils, an acrylic base will work best as it will not lift when you start using oil paint mixed with a thinner or medium. For acrylics, the reverse is best: oil or enamel based primer.

Always best to allow the primer to dry thoroughly before staring the upper layers.

Personally, I use white acrylic,  or lately acrylic white gesso, as a primer. Gesso is a canvas primer that, when sufficiently diluted, gives the reflective quality plus a very nice tooth.

Nothing is ever simple anymore!    ::)    Hope this helps. 
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If the world is wrong; then right your own self...Brother Dave Gardner


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Re: Priming the Figure
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2023, 04:54:46 AM »
I use acrylic white in spray, or Humbrol matte No.34  diluted 1:1 with turpentine, in two thin layers!

Black is not handy and uneasy to paint clear tones like yellow, green, earth browns more nowadays where natural pigments are more and more replaced by chemical pigments of syynthesis, most of the time transparent.  Try to paint cadmium yellow on black undercoating!
Men are a bit like God: everything they can do, they do it. Or they will do it.  (Jean d'Ormesson)


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Re: Priming the Figure
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2023, 06:08:30 PM »
Tamiya fine flat white primer for me which is handy as you can get it in spray cans.

Many painters claim white is nice, particularly for oils as it can give other colors a bit of soft glow if you paint in thin layers or use glazes.  I have also read of black and grey under painting so it is really a matter of taste and what you are comfortable with, I.e. there is no “right” answer. 

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Re: Priming the Figure
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2023, 05:53:39 PM »

  Bob flat white or Gray primer Willie

Robert Burnham

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Priming the Figure
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2023, 04:58:02 PM »
I have recently started painting flats after spending many years painting "rounds". I usually prime my "rounds" with black primer. However I tried doing that with my flats but have trouble seeing the details. What color do you recommend I prime my flats with?