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Monday, January 07, 2019

What Can You Do When Your Underpainting Paper Buckles?

'Easy Breezy'             8x10             pastel           ©Karen Margulis
available $155
 It happens. If you are going to do a wet underpainting on unmounted paper it may very well buckle or develop waves. I work on unmounted UArt paper often. And MOST of the time when I do a wet underpainting the paper remains perfectly flat. The key is not to allow the paper to get overly saturated. A light wash with water or rubbing alcohol is usually fine and the paper stays flat.

Sometimes I get carried away with the underpainting. It is just too much fun! Take today's watercolor underpainting. I applied wet drippy washes of watercolor.  I even went back with a thinner brush to add more layers of watercolor. I went too far  and I saw my paper start to form waves as it dried. It was getting bumpy. Bumpy paper isn't good for pastels because you cannot get a good smooth uninterupted mark. Sometimes small waves will flatten out themselves as the paper dries.

But sometimes I need to take extra measures. The easiest way to flatten buckled and wavy paper is to place it under some heavy books. I have some great art books that fit the bill. Wait until the paper is dry and then place the book or books on top making sure all is flat and level. Check in an hour if you are in a hurry but I often just leave it under the books overnight. It will be flat and ready for pastel!

A heavy book comes to the rescue!

The finished underpainting 

Terry Ludwig pastels used for this painting
If you still have trouble with bumpy paper of don't want to have to wait for books to do the job, consider using mounted paper ( I like the boards from Uart and Pastel Premier) I will be sharing information on mounting your own paper soon.


leslie said...

Today's painting is stunning!

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful painting, Karen!
I am fortunate in that my framer dry mounts my pastel paper for me. She uses scrap foam core so it's very affordable. Perhaps your followers might like to check with their framers to see if that is an option for them as well.