Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction and Paint Along Videos!

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

A Tip for Painting a Warm Sunny Day

'Under a Summer Sun'          8x10           pastel           ©Karen Margulis
available $145
 If you want it to feel hot then you need to start with hot! I looked at my reference photo and  I knew I wanted to capture the feeling of that hot summer day. There were plenty of warm yellow sunflowers but there was also a sea of cool green. I needed to find a way to create the warm feeling despite the green. It was the perfect opportunity for an underpainting. And I had just the right colors for the job!

my reference photo
 I decided to create an underpainting with some warm colors. I selected reds, oranges and yellow- orange Nupastels. I wanted to use an alcohol wash to fix these colors in place so that I would be able to let some of the underpainting peek through.

  • The warm colors immediately made the painting feel hot. Color has that power. (using cooler colors just would not have the same effect.)
  • Because the warm colors I used were the complements of the greens it made the greens more lively and vibrant. 
  • The warm underpainting colors would also create a subtle suggestion of many sunflowers in the field without me having to paint every flower.

An alcohol wash underpainting on Uart 400
The underpainting looks like a hot desert landscape! It was the perfect set up for the greens and the sunflowers. It was a lot of fun to paint!


Anonymous said...

I discovered you on YouTube a few months ago, and I really enjoy your style of painting. I'm glad I found your blog. Are you still doing your daily quick painting videos?

Karen said...

Thank you for discovering my blog and youtube videos! I appreciate it! I don't do daily videos but I do make weekly videos for my Patreon page. You can check it out at

jojo said...

encore un sacré bon conseil pour mettre en valeurs les couleurs chaudes, dans cette ambiance!je regrette d'avoir détruit une aquarelle dans ce genre (a l'époque je ne connaissais pas le pastel) !