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Friday, January 13, 2017

Weekend Assignment: Working With a Mystery Underpainting

'First Snow Retreating'          5x7        pastel       ©Karen Margulis
 How are you doing on your goal to paint more in 2017? I know many of you told me that you are making the commitment to paint more often. I try to paint something everyday even if it is just a small study. The problem is coming up with ideas and things to paint. I am not lacking reference material. I have over 50,000 photos! But sometimes I just don't know how to get started. Too many choices are just as challenging as too few!

I have an idea for a daily painting exercise that gives me fuel for many paintings. I'd like to share it with you and perhaps you can give it a try. Create some Mystery Underpaintings this weekend!

A mystery Underpainting
 A Mystery Underpainting is an underpainting done without any idea of the subject. Usually when doing an underpainting we have the photo or scene in front of us. The underpainting then is designed to work with the subject. Mystery Underpaintings are opposite. They are done without a subject in mind.....A subject is then found to fit the underpainting results. The result is a more playful underpainting. It invites happy accidents!

I often do several wet underpaintings at the same time. It saves on time and clean-up. I take several pieces of paper and just play with shapes and colors and brushstrokes. It can be any type of wet underpainting from watercolor and oil to wet pastel. Anything goes! I set these underpaintings aside for a day like today when I just didn't know what to paint or how to get started.

Midway through the painting. See the underpainting peeking through?

Today's Mystery Underpainting suggested trees and grasses to me. So I found a photo that spoke to me that I felt would work with the underpainting. Since it is a mystery and done months ago I'm afraid I don't know what I used to create it. It doesn't really matter though. It provided a colorful and interesting start to my early winter landscape. (scroll up to see the underpainting)

I liked the results. I probably wouldn't have thought to put that bright blue under the trees but I like how it peeks out under the dull colors of winter!

close up. click to enlarge
How about creating some mystery underpaintings this weekend! 


Bonita Banks said...

Plan to paint this weekend even if it's as small as a tube of lipstick😀

robertsloan2art said...

I love that bright blue under the trees and see how you got it from your mystery underpainting. This sounds like a lot of fun! I don't know if I can do it this weekend (lack of space is a consideration) but I'm definitely going to try it eventually. Especially with wet pastel for the underpainting, since I now have lots of Colourfix paper to play with.