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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Get Beautiful Watercolor Underpaintings en Plein Air


'Promises'    9x12         plein air pastel             ©Karen Margulis
available $165
I like to keep my plein air supplies simple. Everything need to fit into a backpack. I even like to keep my plein air paintings simple....small field studies with no fancy underpaintings. But every once in awhile the subject and conditions allow for a more developed underpainting and that is when I have to get creative with bringing those extra supplies.

I love doing watercolor underpaintings. There are many small travel watercolor sets so it is easy to bring watercolors along. I use the water from my water bottle and a collapsible cup and I am ready to paint. I probably have 4 or 5 different travel watercolor sets but when I saw my favorite underpainting watercolor set in a small size I just had to add another set to my collection!

available at Blicks .com 
I love using Cretacolor Aqua Briques for underpainting. I have a set of large Aqua Briques and these are my go-to watercolors. I love their richness and vibrancy. It is easy to get rich dark colors in the underpainting with these briques.  They also can be used like crayons and then wet with water so they are quite versatile. Read my other post about the Aqua Briques here.

set of aqua bricks in a tin
 The mini set of Aqua Briques are perfect for plein air. They come in a tin that measures 5 inches by 4 inches and 1/4 inch thick. The lid serves as a great palette.

I used my set for one of my demos at last weekend's workshop in Texas. I worked on a piece of white Pastel Premier paper. My goal was to let the underpainting show through the pastel in as many areas as possible but especially in the background. I painted an intimate closeup of some native Texas milkweed that was just about to burst into bloom. I was drawn to the wonderful yellow green against the dark tangle of grasses.

Close up. See the watercolor wash in the background 

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