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Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Fun with Pastels....A Fun Underpainting Technique to Try

'High Country Summer'          8x10         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available for purchase $145
It's Friday and time for a weekend of painting and exploring the wonderful world of pastel. I am devoting every Friday 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. (more on this later) 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.

Before doing a wash....looks and feels a lot like crayons

I decided to use mostly local colors for my underpainting. I thought these colors might make the finished painting more vibrant. 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 rush and water. I loved how intense and vibrant the colors were. They just exploded with color! I also like how some of the wax didn't dissolve leaving some interesting areas in the underpainting.

The wet wash left some waxy areas which I love

 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!  Have a look at the closeups below.

close up photos of the pastel over neocolor II


Unknown said...

I saw the blog and wondered the same- wax pencils before pastels? looks great, gonna have to try. I'm traveling to Europe next month and was considering a small watercolor kit for underpainting, but may take these instead, if they pan out well. Hmmmm, thanks for demo'g!

robertsloan2art said...

I love these crayons. I have a large set of them and a 15 color pocket kit, they work well wet or dry. One thing I found delightful with them is that the colors are generally opaque, which makes them very different from using transparent watercolors for underpainting or sketching. This makes it possible to block in value areas on pastel paper with light or bright colors over black, so the entire painting can really pop! Many wet underpainting techniques don't work as well on dark colors because of transparency, but these rule for it.

I liked doing paintings on black with white or light accents, high tone difference with rich blacks and darks. For underpainting the light areas with white, a white Neocolor II is perfect. They can also go on by brush just using them like a watercolor pan, same as using gouache.

Karen said...

Thanks for commenting Liz and have a great trip!

Thanks for your comment and ideas! I haven't thought of using these on dark paper! You have given me some ideas so thank you!!

Sue Corcoran said...

Thanks for this Karen, I have a handful of these crayons so will give them a try. I usually use Inktense, but am now eager to try Robert's technique of using these on black.
Enjoyed following your trip to IAPS, I would dearly love to go one year.