Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pastel Painting: Abstract Autumn Landscape

 Wet Underpainting

"Abstract Autumn Landscape" 17 x 17 cm original pastel painting.

Available on Etsy

I actually painted this one back in December 2016. I took the photos and everything but I had no time to write about it until now. This blog post is all about wet underpaintings. 

Underpainting is a great method to get rid of the white of the paper. I don't want the white speckles in dark areas especially. It gives a chalky appearance to the painting. So I usually do an underpainting to all of my paintings.

Initial sketch and block in with pastels.

I sketched my scene roughly on the paper and blocked it in with hard pastels. I usually use hard pastels for block in. Soft pastels leave too much pigment for a wet underpainting. If you must use soft pastels you should use a very light touch. Otherwise you will get powdery doughy mess and the amount of water you use will never be enough. So hard pastels work better for this purpose.

Block in wetted with water. 

I use water for my wet underpaintings. Some artists use rubbing alcohol as well but in my country it is not sold in pharmacies. So I use water. I really like it when it drips down and makes all kinds of interesting marks on paper. I sometimes flick water on paper with a loaded brush to intensify this effect. My intention is to leave some of the underpainting showing but sometimes I end up covering it all with pastels.

Warning: Your paper must be suitable for underpaintings. I am using Fisher 400 sanded paper here. Ask your art supplier when in doubt, not all papers take water.

Wet underpainting dried completely.

My underpainting looks like this when it dries completely. It must dry completely. The paper shouldn't even be cool to the touch. Otherwise your pastel sticks will make very intense dark marks which will be very hard to take out later on.

Then I continued with the painting as usual and stopped when I had below painting. I took a break and came back to evaluate what I had. I actually didn't do any adjustments to this one, I was pleased with the result.

"Abstract Autumn Landscape" 17 x 17 cm original pastel painting.

Available on Etsy

"Abstract Autumn Landscape" in a mock frame.

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