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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Why I Love a Wet Drippy Underpainting

'Ending the Day with a Bang'                  8x10           pastel        ©Karen Margulis
purchase painting $125
 The memory is burned into my mind. It was the most spectacular sunset I have ever witnessed.  The photos I took didn't do it justice but that never stops me from taking photos.  When a photo turns out well I rarely use it as a reference. It's stands alone as a photo.  But the bad photos.....they are the ones with painting possibilities.  I look at a bad photo and see the potential for interpretation. That's the fun part of painting.

My terrible photo

This was a bad photo. It's blurry and the colors are completely washed out. Good thing I was there and remembered what it looked and felt like.  Now the fun begins. How to best express this scene. I liked the big shapes of the silhouetted trees so I decided to begin with an oil stain underpainting... Nice and wet and drippy!  The perfect kind of underpainting when you don't have a good reference or don't want to copy your photo.

A wet underpainting allows us to respond with pastel in a more spontaneous way. We don't have to paint in the lines.

The oil stain underpainting

 The finished oil stain underpainting gave me big simple shapes and intense colors. It also gave me some interesting drips. I liked it. I knew I wouldn't have to do much with the pastel to keep this expressive mood that the underpainting created.  It gave me the freedom to respond in a loose and expressive way....or as Richard McKinley says....The underpainting became my dance partner.  I had fun dancing with this painting today.


Anna Lisa Leal said...

Three cheers for spontaneity! Love the interpretation. Thanks for sharing the under painting and photo.

Gayle said...

Hi Karen, what's an "oil stain" wet and drippy underpainting? I use watercolor or watersoluble crayons or watersoluble pencils--but what makes an "oil stain"?

Karen said...

Thanks Lisa!
Gayle it is simply oil paint thinned to the consistency of tea with Odorless Mineral spirits (turpenoid) Paint like watercolor.