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Friday, March 10, 2017

Listening to an Underpainting

'Serenity         8x10        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
Oh the wonderful surprises I find in my studio! Actually in my studio storage room. We converted our garage into a hang out room for the kids when they were teens. Now I have taken over the space with art stuff. I'll show you a picture someday but it is a scary place!  The other day I uncovered this board with three different underpaintings. I used it for one of my early pastel classes. I think it is time I just paint on the samples!

A selection of underpainting techniques to try: wet pastel, watercolor, oil stain and a mystery

The problem is I no longer have any idea what I was trying to paint. The reference are long gone and forgotten. Not really a problem! It is actually a gift. Now I can look at the underpainting and let it speak to me. What does it suggest? What do the colors want to do? What does this underpainting want to be?

It is clear to me that this wants to be a marsh. So I took out my marsh photos and chose one with warm autumn colors. I decided to go with  autumn golden grasses with a subdued sky.  It was fun to let the underpainting guide me and I can't wait to do the next one!

Tease: I used a special pastel sent to me by a friend. I'll share more soon!

watercolor underpainting on Uart 5oo
 Try this: This weekend why not take out some paper and paint and just do underpaintings. Don't worry about painting with pastels just play with underpaintings. Put them aside for a week or so and THEN paint on them letting the underpaintings guide your choice of subject.

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