|'Twilight's Last' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
If I can make it simple I am happy. This week I seem drawn to moody landscapes so my simple underpainitng discovery is coming in handy. I am drawn to the contrast between the light of the sky at dusk and the darkness of the landforms. I need to be sure that I capture this contrast in my painting.
A Notan is a simplified design using just black and white....dark and light. Using a notan is the perfect way to start a painting that needs to have a strong contrast of dark and light.
Earlier this week I posted a painting done with a notan underpainting. (see it here) I used large sharpie black marker to make the notan right on my pastel paper. It worked well and I was excited.
But then someone asked me if the sharpie was acid free and archival. I had not considered that actually so I did a little research on the Sharpie website and while some of the pens are listed as acid free......the magnum sharpie was not. So if this is a concern for you please be aware. I decided to try another similar but archival technique.
|A simple underpainitng of dark and light|
I took out a black pastel! I rarely use black pastel but I do have them laying around. Black can look lifeless in a painting especially if used in large amounts though I do think it can be exciting if used well. I decided that I would use the black pastel to block in the dark shapes in my painting. I used a piece of gray canson mi-teintes paper. I left the paper untouched in the light areas.
The beauty of the sharpie marker was that it didn't mix and contaminate the additional pastel layers. I needed to make sure my black pastel wouldn't mix and make the other colors dirty. So I rubbed the black pastel into the paper with a piece of pipe insulation foam and them I sprayed it with workable fixative. I used Blair low odor spray.
Now my black underpainting was fixed and I was ready to develop the painting.
I began by reinforcing the dark areas. Again, the light and dark notan allowed me to keep my darks dark enough and my lights light enough. I used several colors in the dark areas keeping the values close together. I then moved onto the lightest area of the painting, the sky. From there it was just a matter of subtle shifts of color and playing with marks until I was satisfied.
This technique worked great so now I am happy to have an archival way to create a simple notan underpainting!
|close up detail|