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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tips for Paper Choice ...Watercolor Underpaintings for Pastel

'Gently Through the Meadow'      8x10      pastel over watercolor       ©Karen Margulis
purchase through Daily Paintworks  $145
It's all about the tools!  Isn't that what is fun about creating art?  The chance to try different materials and see the results is one of the highlights for me.  It is through this experimentation that you discover what works and what doesn't.  I have learned some things about the paper I choose for watercolor under paintings (WU)

watercolor underpainting for above painting
What kind of paper does one use for a watercolor underpainting for a pastel?  

  • First and foremost it has to be a paper or surface that can get wet. 
  • Most sanded pastels papers except Sennelier LaCarte can take a wet wash.  Some do better for me such as Uart which tends to stay flay even when wet.  
  • Boards such as Ampersand Pastelbord are an excellent choice.  
  • You can even use watercolor paper or mat board.  Here is a little trick to give these more tooth...brush on a coat of clear gesso. (more on this later)
But paper type is only one thing to think about. You also want to consider the color of the paper. It does have an impact on the results of the watercolor. Have a look at the samples below. You can click on it to enlarge.

sample WU done on various color papers
I prefer doing a WU on a WHITE surface.  I like the way the light goes through the transparent watercolor to the white paper and just glows with light. White paper just makes the watercolors brighter, cleaner and more vibrant.

The second sample was done on a manilla color sanded paper. It was fairly light so the results are not too bad. This would be my second choice.

 Now have a look at the third sample done on Wallis Belgian Mist paper which is a medium gray. Look how dark and dull the color looks compared to the white sample.  I used the exact same colors and painted them at the same time.

To sum it all up.....have fun experimenting with papers to see your results but consider the ability of the surface to get wet and don't overlook the importance of paper color.  Now go have some fun!

Today's painting was the demo I did for my Tuesday class.  My goal was to leave much of the underpainting showing.


Unknown said...

Que colores más vivos, desprende alegria!

Un saludo.

Karen said...

Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you did all the experimenting for us. :) We have so much to learn from others. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

how hard is uart on brushes? i have a nice collection of kolinski sable and lots of 400 grit uart paper but i really don't want to sand my fancy brushes down to this even an issue? am i worrying over nothing or should i get some cheepo synthetic brushes for sanded underpainting?

Noni said...

@Unknown, Definitely do NOT use expensive brushes on sanded paper! Yikes! There are plenty of synthetics for watercolor that are good enough for an underpainting. Happy painting! :)