Friday, 22 July 2016

Dog Days of Summer,..........

Hey! Hello out there. It seems like such a long time since I wrote anything out there. In these dogs days of summer, I have just now come to a place where I can write something.

Pastel, The Painting Medium: Studies in Underpainting

This was a piece I have had in mind for quite a while. Theunderpainting is acrylic. I started out with more pure colour, purples, greens and blues in the middle, and shades of yellow around the main shape. I have a vision of what the finished palette will be. But the layering involved is a trial, observe, stand back process. Hopefully it will look very different when I am done. I was too busy teaching to work on this piece in class, but it is slowly taking shape this week. 

The first two weeks of July were very busy here. Week #1-Pastel, the painting medium: Studies in Underpainting. Every time I teach this class, I tell my students I wish we had a month. I do my best to cover not just the basics, but give as broad a base as possible to the choices you can make within Underpainting. The theory can get a little,…complicated. But like all creatives, we learn to just go with the flow.

One of my students pondering her next move. Working with an underpainting is like doing a puzzle. You put the pieces in you know, and then see what might happen next.

One of the more untraditional approaches to Underpainting, this students work in the middle of process has some pastel down, the foreground red has yet to be worked. This piece was a gradated two tone underpainting, working out perfectly in this piece.  

Many times, someone will come up to me and ask me if compliments are the way to go in an underpainting. This based on seeing this as an example in some instructional magazine or online.The truth is that colour contrasts many ways, and anything is a possibility. So this is how I try to approach it. 

I like to show pieces worked just a bit.  Enough to get an idea of the imagery, but with a lot of the underpainting still showing. The constant question is, how much do I cover up? Covering up the underpainting as the piece develops is half the fun. 

This piece is more finished. However, you can still see the red underpainting, and how it has an important function in the sky. The texture is amazing. 

In this workshop, we paint many underpaintings in the morning, and everyone pastels independently in the afternoon. By the end of the week, you have created several art pieces, but you also leave with many extra pieces for future use.  

Here's a more traditional approach to Underpainting. It's a monochromatic underpainting, laying out the plan for the whole picture plan: light, medium and dark. This piece is a good example of how a monochromatic underpainting provides a unifying quality to the whole piece, as you can see the burnt sienna in every part of the image.  

Acrylics: Thick and Creamy

Layer #1: a gradated underpainting using 2 colours, blue to orange. Tape is used as resist. Layer #2: Orange to blue, but the opposite way. 
This piece is not finished. Anything can now painted on top. 

The second week I was teaching my Intro to Acrylics workshop. I love the projects in this workshop. So much fun! And such a nice group of students!

The simple resist of masking tape. Who would have thought it would be so easy!

The way this workshop is set up is that some of the products are included in the price of the class. This is because acrylics, probably more than any other media, has so many different products associated with it. When a student who doesn’t know much about product goes to the art supply store to get their acrylic supplies, I can understand being completely overwhelmed. 
So I get students to just buy the absolute basics, things they are most likely to use again, and I provide the rest. That way, you are not spending big bucks on a  whole lot of specialty items you will never use again. Who says artists aren’t practical!

I call this project wet on wet. We paint right on a freshly gessoed and very wet surface. The paint slips and slides around. You can't control it. You must work with it. 

Acrylic is such a great medium, with much forgiveness built in to it’s make up. If you don’t like something, it’s fairly easy to paint right over top of anything.
It does take a bit of experience to know how it works, and to have some control over what I call paint quality. 
Acrylic is very transparent. Layering is necessary. We also get a lot of experience managing brushes, maximizing their use, manipulating edges, adjusting values through layering. 
Much to learn.
Thank you to my two full classes. I couldn’t have fit one more person in. 
What else have I been up to? A little plein air with my peeps, and some top secret art as well! Stay tuned,........

Happy summer everyone, Margaret

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