|'Mountain Magic' 9x12 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
You've probably heard it before. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to selecting underpainting colors. That is both comforting and scary at the same time! Imagine facing that big piece of blank paper. It is waiting for you to get started. You need to put down something....but what? You can't really make a wrong color choice.....or can you?
I have learned through a lot of trial and error that while there is no right or wrong color choice for underpaintings....the colors you choose do have an impact of the final painting. Color choice does matter. It effects how the subsequent layers appear. It can change the whole mood and tone of the painting.
After many many paintings I find that underpainting color choices have become fairly intuitive. But sometimes I just want to be sure without making a big commitment of paper.
I don't want to experiment with color choices on a good piece of paper! So I resort to a foolproof method....taking color notes.
|The plans for my poppy meadow series|
|Color notes for the paintings. Top colors are final layer choices.|
Color Notes are quick and easy to do. It is just a matter of trying out potential color choices on a small piece of scrap paper. It is so much easier to see a variety of choices together. You can then choose the color combination that best suits your goal for the painting. Here are some tips:
- Use the same type and color paper for both the color notes and the painting. The colors will look different on other papers so this is important!
- There are three parts to taking the notes....part one: choose the underpainting colors and make some small squares. Part two: choose the colors that you might use for the final layers (often the local colors) Part three: Make the underpainitng squares again and this time lightly layer the final layer color on top. Now you can see and judge how the colors work together.
- Often I like to keep things simple when choosing underpainting colors and select ONE color with FOUR values of the color. So my color notes include a dark, light, middle dark and middle light values. I used this method on all three poppy meadow paintings.
This is a foolproof way of choosing underpainting colors because you can see the results of your color choices on a small scale with little effort and expense. You can quickly try many combinations without wasting your good paper on experiments. You do your 'what ifs' on scrap paper!
|'Wandering Through the Poppies' 18x24 pastel with purple underpainting IAPS demo |
|'Poppy Walk' 15x21 pastel with yellow underpainting|
Would you like to see a video demo of today's painting? Head over to my Patreon Page where we have been studying foregrounds, grasses and flowers in a landscape. www.patreon.com/karenmargulis
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