Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mondays and Underpaintings

The Journey Onward, pastel, 10x8

I just began teaching a three-week series on underpainting techniques at Spruill Center for the Arts in Atlanta, GA on Monday mornings. This week I demonstrated the method I normally use, which uses an alcohol wash brushed over a thin layer of pastel.

Sometimes I use a more monochromatic approach, but for this demonstration of "The Journey Onward" I used several vibrant, warm colors in the underpainting, which I thought would appeal to this particular group of students. This class is titled "Pastels for the Paintbrush Painter" and is geared toward artists experienced in a medium such as oil, acrylic or watercolor, which uses a paintbrush. The class is meant to make use of their current skills "paintbrush" painting skills in our underpainting stage, and then introduce the application of pastel to that initial foundation painting.

Below are some progression shots of how this one came together. Something I pointed out often during the class was how soft and vague I keep all edges in my underpainting, which I've found to be crucial to avoid an overly stiff look to the landscape. My apologies for forgetting to snap a shot of the very first stage before I wet it down.

Next week we'll address a watercolor underpainting, and an oil stain underpainting the following week.


  1. Thanks for the stages, and what a wonderful result!

  2. So beautiful! Thank you for sharing your process. It is so helpful to see the progression.