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StudioSense: Pastel & Watercolor Underpainting

Spring has finally arrived in Southeast Michigan. Touring a local nature preserve with my dog Cosmo, I came across this scene, replete with early greens:

To see what this locale looks like in mid-summer, see my plein air painting of this site below:

I started this painting with an alcohol wash of dark pastel for the deepest values:

I dried the surface of the Uart sanded paper with a desktop fan, then chose purple and green watercolors to fill up the canvas:

I'm particularly impressed with the bright greens of early spring, conveying their brilliance with some strong greens from the watercolor paint.

A little dabbing of the watercolor "puddles" and another blast of the fan followed.

I then remove the paper from its foam core backing and lay it flat on a table. This will help cure any warping (likely to be minimal) that happens as the watercolor dries to the touch. The painting is covered by a plastic sheet, then lays under the weight of two heavy art books to spend the night preparing for its first pastel application the next day.

Below is another painting started today. Here, the underpainting is all pastel, spread with an alcohol wash. You can notice the slight bow in the paper from the wet application, easily repaired by the process noted above.

Here is the reference photo. There were several patches of trillium blooming in the woods, which I look forward to capturing in pastel.

More to come on this painting and many more as Spring and Summer evolve.

For available paintings for purchase, click here for more information.

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