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

Monday, November 26, 2018

Lesson from an Unintentional Underpainting

'The Quiet Time'         8x10        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
A interesting thing happened in the studio today. I didn't plan it. But I did embrace it. And what could have been frustrating turned into something joyful. It was time for my daily painting. I didn't really have a plan other than wanting to reuse a piece of paper from my reject pile. I pulled out a nice 8x10 piece of white sanded paper. It had a few blue and gold marks from an old demo. It would be the perfect candidate for an alcohol wash.  But I didn't get the results I expected.

The unintentional underpainting
I should have brushed off the pastel marks before using the alcohol. There was more pastel on the paper than I thought and as soon as the brush with alcohol hit the pastel it turned into a gummy blob.

Note: Alcohol washes work best with thin layers of harder pastels. Soft pastels such as Terry Ludwigs may get thick and pasty. Also....pure colors give more vibrant results.

Not only was my pastel turning into a thick mess, the light pastels I had used made it even more pasty. In a bit of frustration I took the handle of the brush and started drawing into the thick pastel mess. I started to see a marsh emerge! I started to get excited and continued drawing my big shapes with the brush handle.

When the underpainitng was dry I painted the marsh I had envisioned and the texture from the thick pastel and scratch marks worked beautifully in my favor. An important lesson was revealed.

"There's nothing quite as beautiful as the unintentional."
            Lyle Carbajal

Perhaps Bob Ross would call it a Happy Accident. But the lesson was clear. Sometimes things happen that are unexpected. We can either fight it or try to change it to our original plan.....or we can embrace it and let something more beautiful emerge.

1 comment:

Holly Knott said...

"A gummy blob." Love it. Love that it turned out so well!!