We've been discussing underlayers in painting over at the Maida Dolls Group, so I thought I would repost this. The original underpainted color was orange in the painting above.
Robert Henri said that artist always paints from memory, even when the subject is directly in front of the artist. This is true, because we are always editing with our eyes, even when we think we are looking at something objectively.
I painted this painting about 5 years ago. I enjoy experimenting with underpainting. What happens if you prime a canvas in a rich color before you begin painting and let some of that show through? The beauty of acrylic paints is you can lay down a wash, go have lunch, then come back and lay down another layer. No waiting days for the first layer to dry. When I painted with oils I always used a lot of turpentine in the paint to speed up the drying time. I started using acrylic paints when I had kids and it was very hard at first - the blending capability isn't as great. But the opportunity to scratch into the paint and reveal under layers is maximized. In some senses this is two paintings - the top and bottom aren't as related as they could be. But I like the way the orange lines come through in the blue above the cloud.