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Sunday, August 11, 2013

I had an Aha Moment about Underpaintings!

'Soulful Solitude'           8x10        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
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I made a wonderful discovery today. It was one of those Aha Moments.  It was actually something I already knew but to see it so clearly really hit me.  My discovery has to do with underpaintings and how much they can guide your painting process. Let me explain....(I will break this into a two part post so be sure to come back tomorrow for part 2!)

 Today I decided to do a watercolor underpainting. I wanted to put together a demo for my online mentoring students so I took out the watercolor set I purchased at  the IAPS convention.

My reference photo. This is the Outer Banks. I've painted this before but I love it.

My new travel set of Schminke watercolors
It's a great set of Schminke watercolors in a leather case. The convention price was too good to pass up. And Schminkes are my favorite watercolors.  I also decided to use a Pastel Panel by Multimedia Art Board. I love this surface. There were no worries at all about ripples or buckling. And the white surface took the watercolor beautifully. 

Watercolor Underpainting
I haven't done a watercolor underpainting in months. In fact I can't even remember the last time I did one. Maybe last Fall?  I seem to be moving away from wet underpaintings.  But I enjoyed playing with the watercolors and seeing the happy little accidents that came about.

I ended up with a vey fluid and soft looking underpainting. And I got to work with my pastels. Below is a shot of the half way point of the painting. I found myself using a very light touch not wanting to cover everything up. I found myself being led by the shapes and colors I had created with the watercolors. It made me feel soft and dreamy and in the end the finished painting reflected this mood. In fact I even felt compelled to blend the sky with my fingers! I added back some pastel to freshen it. But I was most definitely influenced by this underpainting. I knew it was happening and I just went with it.

After I was finished I got into my 'What if' mode and asked myself what might happen if I tried one of my newer underpainting approaches with this same reference?  The results surprised me! And all of the sudden everything became clear. Be sure to come back tomorrow to see what happened!

If you want more tips about watercolor underpainting for pastel you may enjoy these posts:



Deb Townsend said...

Can't wait until tomorrow's post! Love this. And I look forward to the demo on Etsy!

Karen said...

Thanks Deb! I appreciate it! I hope you enjoy the Etsy demo!