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Monday, May 15, 2017

Take Note for Better Underpaintings

'Fields of Gold'        9x12         pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $145
There really is no right or wrong. When it comes to underpainting colors every choice will give you a different result. No one result is the 'correct' choice. However we can make better choices. We can choose the underpainting colors that will better help us express our concept for the painting. 

It helps if you know what you hope to express with your painting. Ask yourself before you start....what mood do I want? What are the weather conditions? How do I want the viewer to feel?
Then choose colors that will help create the feeling you want.

some underpainitng notes

The next step is to figure out what those colors should be! You can certainly guess and take your chances. But a better way is to do small and quick color studies. I call it taking color notes.

  •  Color Notes are small and rough studies done on the same type and color paper that you will be working on. 
  • A simple way to take color notes is to draw 2-4 boxes on the paper. Begin the note taking by choosing some underpainting colors for each box. I like to do simple 4 value underpaintings or block-ins.
  • Think of color combinations that might work of your painting. Start with a warm underpainting or maybe a cool one. Try bold colors. Try colors to suggest depth. Pick random colors (more on this later)
  • Once you have filled your boxes with some underpainting color choices do a quick study on top with your final colors. In the painting above I layered the final local colors on top of the underpaintings.
  • Now select the underpainitng colors that best express your concept.
After doing this exercise I decided I like the mood created by the warm underpainting. I have already covered it up in the photo but the underpainting colors were 4 values of orange. The warm colors helped me express the warmth of the field of autumn flowers. 
That was fun! I think I'd like to try some of the other underpainting colors!

1 comment:

Tomíno Valík said...

Thank you for your nice lesson. Lately I quit colorful underpaintings and started doing just black and white ones. It helps me to strengthen the darks so i have bigger contrast in my painting.
Have a nice day