Saturday, February 06, 2016

Unexpected Underpainting Colors


'River of Peace'           18x24         pastel           ©Karen Margulis
available $450
I don't know why I haven't used this color before now. It is one of my favorite colors but I have never used it for an underpainting. But when I was planning my demo painting for my  workshop yesterday a bright blue variation of turquoise caught my eye. I pulled four values of the color for my simple block-in. It would work for my lesson. 

Color will work if the values are right.

I was curious to see what would happen with a turquoise underpainting. I blocked in my big shapes with the four sticks. Dark trees, light sky and water and the two middle values for the ground and distant trees. I didn't get a photo of the block-in since this was a workshop demo but it was pretty! It was my favorite color after all.

The colors I used for the underpainting
The finished painting was actually quite true to the mood and feeling of the reference photo. The warm blues peeking through my foliage and grasses added just the right amount of coolness without being cold!

 It had been a cool and overcast morning on the grounds of Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey in New Mexico. We were taking an afternoon walk on the grounds in preparation for the week's painting retreat. We walked along the river's edge listening to the music of the water over distant rocks.....  I am left with such inspiring memories and photos and can't wait to go back in October!                  (Join me for a wonderful painting retreat in Pecos New Mexico this Fall. Details here)

close-up photo
 Unexpected colors maybe... but a fun result. Imagine what other underpainting colors could do to transform this scene. I think I'll try some warm colors next....but they will be unexpected. This is what painting is all about. Fun!

The painting at the end of the demo. I spent another 30 minutes once home in the studio
PAINTING NOTE:  This painting is on Canson Mi-Teinte gray paper. In my last two blog posts I gave suggestions for getting started with pastels. I suggested using good paper. Many pastelists prefer sanded paper. I like it too but I love Canson. The trick is to use good pastels and have a LIGHT TOUCH. It is easier to build more layers when the pastel is applied with a whisper.

2 comments:

robertsloan2art said...

Oh wonderful lesson. Yes, it really can change everything to choose a different underpainting color. I love Mi-Tientes. I buy lots of sanded papers but keep coming back to Mi-Tientes like an old friend - especially the colors in the six color Basic pad. Moonstone is a favorite.

pattisjarrett said...

What a difference that makes! Those are favorite colors of mine, too, and I love how the painting turned out.