Robert’s Painting Approach
Robert builds his paintings with three different layers of paint known as the indirect method. First he starts off with a drawing of the main elements onto the surface where he then works on his first layer called the tonal layer. It is simply one color, usually Burnt Umber, that is diluted with mineral spirits and the basic values are established in his painting. This layer is solely about the values; little attention is given to any details. The second layer is called the underpainting layer. On this layer, Robert paints in the colors loosely, and the paint is thinned again with mineral spirits. The purpose of this layer is to get a read on how the colors are working as well as building up more value. The next and final layer is the overpainting layer and whereas the first two layers go pretty quickly, this layer, depending on the level of detail you want to achieve, takes time. The paint is applied thicker on this layer and a medium is used; Robert uses 70/30 mixture of stand oil and mineral spirits.
This technique is a variation of the Flemish/Venetian Old Masters’ technique where they would begin with a Grisaille (a black-and-white underpainting) and then proceed to add glazes of color to create the finished painting.
Below is the finished painting, “Moraine Morning,” which was painted using the indirect method.You will see in the following progress images the indirect method in action and the results that come from using this technique.