I’ve been working lately on exploring various watercolor under paintings. In the past, I primarily used pastel as my underpainting, using an alcohol wash to fix it before beginning to paint.
My latest painting was inspired from a hike in Banning Mills, GA back in 2011.
The lighting was picture perfect.I would have painted this scene sooner but it took me this long to figure out how I was going to approach it. Since there was so much going on, the task was how to simplify and edit and maintain the feeling of the place, all while capturing that beautiful light.
Working on mounted UArt 400, I began by sketching out my composition and having fun playing with watercolor washes. I am not trying to paint a watercolor painting. I’m not a good enough watercolor artist to do that, nor is it necessary. I just want to loosely mass in the general colors and values in an interesting pattern and design. This will give me the foundation to then layer it with pastel. Knowing that I can cover up any mishaps with pastels gives me the freedom to just play with the color.
Sunlit Impression was painted the same way.
Working from the reference photo I started with my watercolor underpainting. This photo made me nervous to paint it for I wasn’t sure if I can hand all that GREEN!!
I didn’t want to have a green painting so I worked with color combinations other than green in the underpainting. This helped me deviate from the photo and have a jumping off point to explore other color possibilities with my pastels.
Here you can see my watercolor set up. I learned this technique from Richard McKinley, an expert at this approach. I’m using Holbein watercolors (tube paints that I squeezed into a pallet and let dry).
I’ve been loving this process and find that I can get such painterly effects with the combination of watercolor and pastel. As you can see, I don’t cover up the watercolor completely. I let the combination of the 2 mediums work it’s magic.