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What are underpainting and the difference between Bistre, Grisaille and Verdaccio

This lesson explains the different underpainting techniques used by Titian, Rembrandt and Caravaggio. You will learn about how and where it is used, and what types of painting can be painted using this method.

Sneak Peak!

The monochromatic painting technique (called Bistre), was done entirely in shades of grey, not unlike a black and white photograph. 

A shade of brown made from soot, or the name for a colour resembling the brownish pigment. Bistre’s is a transparent, dark brown with yellow undertones.

  • Faking is: We fake the colour by combining … with ….

Vermeer generally used black and brown in his underpainting. (Bistre) It is believed that artists once kept a number of under paintings in their studio waiting for clients’ interest before completing the painting with full colour and detail.


Leonie has been painting for 30 years. she has a degree in Art as well as a Teaching diploma. Her dream has always been to help other reach their full potential, in art as well as in daily life. LifeArt School has been in operation since 2004 and has managed to help various students become full time artists. Leonie is also a well know local and international artist. She paints three days a week and her work is available in various galleries.