A brief history:

The free use of coats of wash first appeared in the works of such 15th-century Italian artists as Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci. Within the next 100 years, the easy and ink drawing technique was so highly developed that two-tone washes were used concurrently, one blending into the other. The technique was very popular with the topographical painters of the 18th and 19th centuries, who built up their pictures by superimposing thin washes in the same way that an oil painter would construct a work with successive glazes.

The Bistre Underpainting process:

The “Bistre” underpainting technique. This style of painting is created whereby paint is applied thinly using the white of the background to reveal the light. A wash and ink drawing is usually a monochrome study similar to a charcoal drawing but has a warmer tone and the oil paint is more permanent than a charcoal so will last longer. The artist works into a wet semi transparent wash in conjunction with lines made by a pen or pencil that define and outline the form while the wash provides colour, depth, and volume. Some very sensitive results can be achieved through this process of painting and drawing.

Commissioning a Bistre Underpainting:

For a Bistre Underpainting I like to meet the sitter for an informal preliminary discussion on what is required. You will need to consider the size and the position your charcoal drawing will hang. For Bistre Underpaintings I require just one sitting either at my art studio or on location for approximately 1 hour. During this time, I will take reference photographs and create preliminary sketches and drawings. I will then begin work on your final charcoal drawing which can take from 3 to 6 weeks to create. If you would like to discuss commissioning a painting with me please get in contact.