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Monday, August 12, 2013

Discovering the Magic of the Underpainting part 2

'Serenity Found'            8x10         pastel        ©Karen Margulis
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Does this painting look vaguely familiar? If you scroll down to the previous post you'll see another version of this same scene. I decided to try it again with another underpainting approach.  And the strangest thing happened. I painted differently. I was bolder and more free. I used the exact same colors but the two paintings look different. I didn't know what was happening but then it dawned on me. It was the underpainting!

Yesterday I did a very soft and dreamy watercolor underpainting. The colors were mostly cool. I took my time and and let the paint layers dry. I was slow and deliberate. When I applied pastel I used a light feathery touch. I was gentle.  The resulting painting was soft and dreamy. (scroll down to see the result)

Underpainting for today's version

 This time I did a very bold  underpainting with dark charcoal lines and bright intense warm colors. I used hard pastels rubbed in with pipe insulation. I pressed down hard in this underpainting and put down the colors with a lot of energy. The hard black charcoal lines left no room for softness.

And when I began the painting with my pastels I brought the same energy with me. My strokes were bolder and I was pushing the pastel in hard. I used broader more angular strokes. I had a totally different state of mind as I painted this one.

And it wasn't until I put the paintings side by side and analyzed them did I understand what had happened.  It was the underpainting technique that influenced my energy and approach to the painting process. I always tell my students that the COLORS in the underpainting or the COLOR of the paper have an impact on the painting but I wasn't aware of how much the TYPE of underpainting technique used influences how we approach the painting and guides the decisions we make. 

From now on I will keep this in mind when I am planning a painting. It will be one of the questions I ask myself....and I will choose my underpainting technique to best express my vision.

side by side comparison of underpaintings next to the finished painting

To read about the watercolor underpainting version visit yesterday's post HERE

1 comment:

Rebecca Prough said...

Great post - I will try playing around with my underpaintings today! Thanks Karen!