Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Which Underpainting Technique is Better? part one



'Believe in Summer'       16x20       pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $325
It suddenly occurred to me. Underpainting techniques are like foreign languages. They are both sometimes a challenge to learn and achieve fluency. It take practice to really understand the ins and outs of any underpainting technique...what paper to use, what colors to use, what subject is best, how to make the technique work. But oh how wonderful when they are mastered!  A whole new world is open to you. Like learning to speak another language. Taking the time and effort to learn a new language opens up a whole new world. It takes effort but it is well worth it.

Being fluent in Underpaintings adds more tools to your painting toolbox.

I am often asked to share my favorite underpainting technique or what underpainting technique is best.  I don't really have a favorite. I love them all and for different reasons. Each technique gives different results and in the end it all boils down to a personal preference for those results.

Tools of the trade: a limited oil palette, gambol and an old bristle brush

To illustrate this point I decided to try the same subject with two different underpainting techniques and compare the resulting paintings. Today I will share the first technique....an oil stain underpainting.

Wonderful drips and spider webs in an oil stain underpainting

 I have written much about the oil stain underpainting and blog articles can be found using the search box. (if you are reading my blog via email head over to the actual blog to search www.karenmargulis.com)  An oil stain underpainting is done using oil paint thinned to the consistency of tea with odorless mineral spirits.  If you can see the brush marks in the paint then it is too thick. You don't want to fill up the tooth of the paper. You do need to use a paper or surface that can get wet. I am using Uart paper for this painting.  It takes practice to figure out the right consistency of paint vs. OMS but that is the fun of it....discovery and happy accidents.

I love oil underpaintings for two reasons....the intensity and vibrancy of color and the unsual and unpredictable drips and spiderwebby things that happen when the paint is drying.

click to enlarge

I believe that the underpainting sets the stage for the painting. Starting with a rich and vibrant underpainting leads more easily to a rich and vibrant painting. The rich color and strong darks in this oil stain underpainting influenced the pastels I selected for the painting. It was a bold underpainitng and I kept the bold feeling as I painted.

the pastels used for this painting
 Now let's try another language! What would happen if I try the same subject with a watercolor underpainting? Stay tuned!



Painting Notes: 16x20 on unmounted Uart 500. I used an older painting as my inspiration so there is no reference photo available.

1 comment:

BJR said...

Oh...what a beauty!! This is stunning! Wish I could take a couple of hours and sit in this patch of flowers. BTW...Congrat's on your article in the French magazine! ;)