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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Try An Underpainting with Vodka!

'Summer Joy'             11x14            pastel               ©Karen Margulis
There was a misunderstanding. Or so I thought. Whatever happened it inspired me to try it....a Vodka Underpainting!  I was working with one of my online mentoring students last month and the assignment was to do an alcohol wash. I was certain I clarified that I use isopropyl alcohol. But when the assignment was done she told me she had used vodka for her alcohol. hmmmmmmmm. 

I didn't see why it wouldn't work. It's a clear liquid. We just need to wet down the pastel with a liquid. Her painting was wonderful!  She explained that she had seen a Youtube video of a Vodka underpainting so decided to try it.

Well know you know me....if I haven't done it yet I need to try it myself.  So into the liquor cabinet I went for a bit of vodka. 

a little bit of vodka in my empty cup
 I didn't use the good stuff. It was actually Costco brand and at about $10 for a big bottle makes doing Vodka underpainting pretty cost effective. You really only use a tiny bit.  I really liked using the Vodka. It had no odor. I sort of made the pastels spread very smooooooth.  I had put down a layer of Nupastels in warm colors on an 11x14 piece of Uart 500.   It immediately started making interesting drips. I call them spiderwebs or root systems. Usually I get this effect with turpenoid and not as much with rubbing alcohol or water. But the vodka made cool drips.  It did take longer to dry than rubbing alcohol.. I would say nearly 30 minutes for it to be completely dry.

The vodka underpainting when dry

Working on the dried underpainting felt the same as any other wet underpainting. I saw no difference. I did manage to cover up all of the cool drips which often happens. Sometimes I am successful at leaving them show and other times I get carried away with pastel! This time I did get carried away and even added some shaved pastel flowers!

I did enjoy using the Vodka and will definitely give it another try!  Maybe a painting party is in order...cocktails and underpaintings!

close up of texture
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leslie said...

Ooooh, what are shaved pastel flowers? I'm more intrigued by that than the vodka part...and the painting is stunning, btw.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen! Thanks for the good tips. I am from London Uart ordered the paper because it is not on sale in Finland. I'm excited to look forward to the paper.