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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Adding Pastel to a Watercolor Underpainting..demo

'Back to the Wetlands'            6x8             pastel          ©Karen Margulis
You just have to sneak up on it. That's the best way to add pastel to a watercolor underpainting. The beauty of the watercolor is it's transparency. Add some opaque pastel and the contrast is wonderful. Add too much pastel and you cover up the watercolor and the effect is gone. It's a balancing act. When I do a watercolor underpainting I approach the pastel application like a cat.....softly and quietly.

  • I use a very light touch....my pastel is like a feather and it dances across the paper....lightly.
  • I start by matching the colors and/or values of the underpainting. I may layer other colors but I do it in stages...and with care.
  • Every mark has a purpose and it thought out. By the time I have done the underpainting I already have the composition and value map in place. Adding the pastel is done with thought. It is when I find myself making random marks...without thought...that I overwork the painting and cover up the underpainting.
  • I am not compelled to cover up all of the underpainting. If there is a section of watercolor that I like I will leave it alone or add just a whisper of pastel. Let it breath!

The watercolor underpainting done on mat board that has a coat of clear gesso for tooth

Adding pastel by starting with the dark areas.

Adding pale yellows to the sky and the water

adding blues to the distant land

Adding golds and oranges to the grasses

Adding a few blades of grass for the final touches
If you would like to try a watercolor underpainting or learn more about them check out my digital demo  on watercolor underpaintings. You can download this pdf booklet or follow along on your ipad or tablet. Available for $6 in my Etsy shop . Click here to see details.

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