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Friday, August 23, 2019

What If Weekend: Experimenting with a Fun Underpainting

'Meadow Dreams'            12x9             pastel            ©Karen Margulis
available $175

It's Friday and time for a weekend of painting and exploring the wonderful world of pastel. I am devoting every weekend to trying a new technique or discovery. It will give me the weekend to play with something new! Of course I invite you to join me as I make new discoveries.

This week's inspiration came from an old Pastel Journal from 2002. Artist Schelly Keefer shared her technique of using Caran d'Ache crayons for underpaintings. She took the underpainting further by choosing complementary colors. I couldn't wait to get into the studio and pull out my small set of Caran d'Ache crayons and give them a try!

Caran d'Ache Neocolors II water soluble crayons 

These Swiss made crayons are actually water soluble wax oil pastels. Here is some information from the website:

 Type: Water-soluble wax oil pastel
– Soft, velvety texture, does not crumble
– Ultra-high pigment concentration, superior covering power, luminous colours, excellent light resistance
– CE EN71 and ASTM D4236 compliant
– Techniques: Wet or dry drawing on various materials, watercolour, wash drawing, scraping or for applying to light panels.




The application of the Neocolors before doing an alcohol wash. It was a lot like using crayons.

I decided to use mostly local colors for my underpainting. I thought these colors might make the finished painting more vibrant. I did use dark blue for the dark dirt and the base of the trees .I did a quick drawing on Uart 400 grit paper and then applied the crayons. I didn't press too hard and used linear scribbles rather than solid color.

Then I wet the crayon with a bristle brush and alcohol.  I loved how intense and vibrant the colors were. They just exploded with color! I once used water and I liked like how some of the wax didn't dissolve leaving some interesting areas in the underpainting.




After brushing on rubbing alcohol I add some more Neocolors. 

 Once dry it was time for the pastels. I tried not to cover all of the interesting underpainting. The pastel went over the dried wash without a problem. I was able to get as many layers as I needed. The neocolors didn't  fill the tooth of the paper.

It was a quick and easy way to do a wet underpainting. It was also a lot of fun!  

Before adding the final grassy details. 

1 comment:

Kevin Quattlebaum said...

Water soluable oil pastels are just about my favorite underpainting technique!
A really cool effect I discovered quite by accident - leave your finished pastel painting in a hot car for a couple of days. The oil pastel will liquefy and suck up
some of the dry pastel. You may need to make some minimal adjustments, but I find it to be very interesting. I use a lot of violet, teal, orange, and magenta.