Friday, January 9, 2009

A little experiment...

Just for something different, I decided to start my next small painting with an underpainting. I used Judy Treman's "disappearing purple" -- a mix of ultramarine blue and permanent alizarin crimson -- that she demos in her book Building Brilliant Watercolors. The idea behind this approach is that all your shadows are in place and the purple will act as a neutral when you apply the local color. Anyway, this is what it looks like with the underpainting completed:

currently untitled, 6" x 6"

I also chose to work on hot press paper. (What was I thinking? I may need my head examined!!) I honestly don't know if this will survive the next step of adding color. Hot press paper is not very absorbent and much of the underpainting could drift into mud when I start painting over it. I"ll use squirrel-hair and sable brushes and a light touch, but there are no sure bets. Stay tuned!!


  1. Gosh, I'd be tempted to just leave it as is - it's gorgeous! I know you'll have a fun time seeing the colors added, though (crossing my fingers for you). A woman at WetCanvas used to do this underpainting all the time with her work and I was always amazed that she didn't get mud, just great shadow shapes. Makes me want to try it again - now see what you've started?! ha ha

  2. Just call me a troublemaker! ;-)

  3. Like any good underpainting, it's appealing in it's own right!

  4. I just hope it survives the addition of color! I'll post the result, regardless.

  5. Ahhhhh, purple! the best color ever made!! nice approach of getting the values first and then having fun without worrying about where the darks should go. I'm curious to see the finished painting!!

  6. Thanks for that hint about the hot press paper. I love this underpainting.


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