|'Changing' 9x12 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
It came to me in a dream last night. I woke up with a vague memory of painting. I don't remember what I was painting but I did remember that I had started with a a very specific underpainting. Of course I had to try it today!
In my dream I did a combination warm and cool underpainting. I used cool colors in the shadows and warm colors in the areas lit by the sun. It is such a simple way to give your painting a head start in capturing the light. I was excited to give it a try.
|Blocking in the painting with big shapes of warm and cool colors|
I chose a photo from my favorite park. It was late afternoon and the trees were catching the last fiery rays of the setting sun. It was late autumn so there was a chill in the air. But the warmth of the trees made up for the cold.
I took out a piece of dark gray Canson Mi-Teintes paper and my box of Nupastels. I dis a simple block in with oranges for the sunlit trees and blues for the tree and grasses in the shadows. I added a pale blue-green for the sky.
|adding the trunks and branches|
I developed some of the branches with my Terry Ludwig eggplant pastel and then continued layering with soft pastels. All I had to do was follow the warm and cool block-in colors. With each layer I refined the trees and grasses. I used the sky color to further refine the trees. It was fun to work on a painting that I started in my dreams! I know I will use this underpainting technique again. How about you?
|my tiny reference photo in the top left corner|
Underpainting for pastels is a complicated subject. There are so many ways to start a pastel painting. There are so many underpainting choices with no right or wrong way to go about it. I have put together a three day workshop on underpainting so I have much more to share than I can in this one post. But a quick point....every underpainting choice you make will influence the painting. I encourage you to experiment and play so that your underpainting choices will become intuitive.