Thursday, June 26, 2014

Overcome the Fear - Rock the Underpainting

When I started out painting and art journaling, my greatest fear was addressing the dreaded "blank" page or canvas! How do I start??? Now that I've been painting for years, I've learned to be BOLD and just throw whatever color interests me at the moment down on the canvas or paper surface to give a running start to the creative process... This exercise is especially helpful when I have a few minutes to spare and want to do something creative, but don't want to get into a whole painting. It's also a great thing to do with left over paint! Here are some underpaintings in my studio right now:

The underpaintings above are oil paint on canvas (from a canvas pad), collage 
and NeoColor II water soluble oil pastel on canvas, and collage
 on acrylic wash (from left-over paint) on watercolor paper.

Since I'm an abstract painter, my underpaintings are just about getting color down, collage and mark making like the one below. Generally, I use the colors of an underpainting as a guide for the colors I paint or glaze over top, however, traditional underpaintings typically use one color; grey, sienna, red iron oxide, sepia, yellow ocher, and others.

NeoColor II water soluble oil pastel on watercolor paper. 
Salt was added while the pastel was wet to give the spotted effect.

There are some great resources available for free online about techniques for underpainting, such as this blog post from Jerry's Artarama HERE and a YouTube video from The World of Art HERE. A few of my favorite examples of underpainting in books are the write up about artist Juan de la Cruz Machicado in Painter's Wild Workshop by Lynn Leon Loscutoff and the "From Drawing to Painting" chapter of Bill Creevy's The Oil Painting Book. Don't worry that the references speak about oil painting, the same techniques can be used for acrylic painting and other mediums, too.

I encourage you to pick up a brush with left over paint or water soluble oil pastel crayons the next time you have a few minutes to spare and give underpainting a try! Use it to add layers and interest to your artwork. Please share your experiences trying this technique in the comments below.

Happy Arting!  Tristina :D

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