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Thursday, August 04, 2016

Comparing Underpainting Techniques part 2

'Summer Heat'        12 x 12          pastel           ©Karen Margulis
available $165
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words so I will let the pictures do the talking today. For my daily painting I continued my underpainting experiment. I wanted to see the difference an underpainting makes to a finished painting. You can read part one of this post here

The difference is obvious and I'll let you look at the pictures and see what you prefer. Keep in mind that I used the same paper (Uart 500) and the same pastel palette. The only thing I changed was the underpainting. Today's painting has a watercolor underpainting and yesterday's painting has an oil stain underpainting.

My conclusion after the experiment ....something that never really occurred to me. The underpainting influenced my mood and attitude towards the painting. The underpainting affected my energy level. I never realized or noticed this response to an underpainting so this discovery is very intriguing. My attitude and energy surely had an effect on how I approached the painting! Here is what I discovered:

Oil Underpainting: I felt bold, confident and full of energy and excitement. I painted fast with a lot of energy.

Watercolor Underpainting: I felt calm, serene, quiet, gentle. I wanted to preserve the softness so I found myself painting quietly and even slowly.

Inexpensive watercolors work fine

The finished watercolor underpainting

The same pastels were used for both paintings

This is the painting done with an oil stain underpainting

Both underpaintings seen side by side. What is your opinion? Do you have a preference?


Mażena said...

Super! I like it!

Rhonda said...

Thanks for this side-by-side comparison of underpaintings, Karen. I would have never even thought to do an oil staining, or know that it would give such a vibrant result! I have never used anything oil paint related. Do you have a suggestion for what supplies to look for just to try this technique out? Could I use water-soluble oils and still get this look? Any info is helpful.

Thank you for your continued generosity and teaching through this blog and your YouTube video inspire me and make me think I can paint!

Pat Dolan said...

Wow - the difference is amazing. The oil based under-painting allows for more richness of color, more depth of expression, more contrast.

I like both, and both will frame up well and go well in some decor. But my preference is the oil-based under-painted one. It suits my personality better, I suppose!


Anonymous said...

I like the oil stained one best ! Both are lovely...

Anonymous said...

Would the order change the mood or the experience? Would the watercolor be more bold if it was the first of the two? Or do you find that you react to each the same no matter which one you do first?

Karen said...

Interesting comments! Thank you. I think I react to the underpainting itself and not the order because sometimes I will do an underpainting and put it aside for awhile.

Unknown said...

In general I like more articulated work. The two paintings comparison is remarkable. Thank you!

Unknown said...

its hard to tell which one I like more. I love both of them. These are my favorite colors you used in the painting so....My question is regarding the "oil staining" you mentioned. What exactly is that process? Do you take regular oil paints and lay down the underpainting by wiping the oil paints on your surface?

I just discovered your blog and am loving it. I have a few different pastels and have not done anything much to speak of with them besides coloring in some blocks of color next to each other. I did try one picture ....I was pleased I atleast tried it but was not impressed with my efforts. I'll be back here for sure to learn much more from you. Thanks for sharing so much of your knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting "experiment" and comparison notes! Emotional influences! It is difficult for me to choose... because I like each for different reasons... but if I were going to buy one for myself, it would be the oil under painting style for sure!! They are both great!