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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Why Use Purple Underpainting?

'Autumn Breeze'     12x9           pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $250
I took a long look at my reference photo. I was intrigued by the tangle of dried weedy favorite thing to paint. But the photo wasn't very interesting. The colors and values were all the same. It was flat. I would really need to push the color and value to make a more interesting painting.

Where should I begin? It made sense to begin with the underpainting. I knew I would be using a lot of yellow in the painting so perhaps using the complement of yellow would add some excitement to the painting. Complementary colors will vibrate when places next to one another but will turn gray or neutral when blended together. I would have to be careful to not allow the complements to mix.

My reference photo
That is where the underpainting comes in. I could add the complement with purple pastels and wash it with some rubbing alcohol and a brush. Not only could I create interesting drips, once dry the pastel would be fixed in place and less likely to mix physically with the yellow pastel layers.

Purple pastel alcohol wash on Wallis warm mist 12x9
At the end of the painting I did one extra thing to add interest. Scroll up and look at the finished painting. Can you tell what I added?

(answer: I reintroduced some purple to the top layers in small marks to represent dried flowers)


Jillhq said...

Love the underpainting and the final version!

Vanessa said...

I've yet to try complementary colours on an underpainting. This turned out really well Karen, beautifully done!