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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tips for Preserving an Oil Stain Underpainting

'October is Calling'           11x14        pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $175
Have you ever done a really cool underpainting and then proceed to cover it up completely? Have you ever applied your pastel so thick that you can't even remember what type of underpainting you did?  Take heart if this has happened to you. It happens to me more than I like. I try to preserve an underpainting but it takes a huge amount of RESTRAINT. And that is something I don't always have.

Here are a few tips I have discovered that make it easier to keep some of the underpainting visible: 
  • Slow down after you have a light layer of pastel over your painting. Decide where your focus is and develop the focal areas.
  • Use a VERY LIGHT touch when applying pastel...whisper. You want to be able to see the colors and layers underneath so whisper on a thin veil of pastel. One thin layer t a time.
  • Match the colors and values of the underpainting so you don't make drastic changes too soon. Make gradual changes rather than abrupt changes. Sneak up on the painting!
  • Step back at least every 10 minute. This will help you slow down and be more deliberate about the marks you make. 

The very first pastel layers

 I have gotten better at restraint and slowing down. Both are important to preserving an underpainting. Do you want to get better at keeping an underpainting visible? I just posted a new video on Patreon that shows you how I add pastel to this painting. I will also be sharing my step by step thought process for the finish. I'm sharing some tips here on the blog but I'd love for you to check out the much expanded content on the Patreon page. It is the blog on steroids!  Just $4 a month and you can cancel at anytime.

The painting at the end of the demo video

Close up.....look at how lightly I apply my pastel layers

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