View Full Version : An Experiment - Watercolor Underpainting

Kathryn Wilson
02-24-2007, 12:49 PM
:wave: Hi Everybody - this is a painting I did yesterday in Open Studio. I wanted to try out the watercolor set that I bought from Mount Vision - (they come in small bottles and the colors are wonderful - thanks Karl!)

I had a skinny piece of Wallis that I thought this subject would go well on.

The first is the final version, the second the underpainting, 3rd is the photo.

C&C Welcome

02-24-2007, 12:54 PM
Bright and beautiful and very well done. Like it lots.

02-24-2007, 01:43 PM
wonderfull!! I love the coloring!

Donna T
02-24-2007, 02:00 PM
Wow! Those are some intense watercolors. Your painting is beautiful!

Donna T

02-24-2007, 02:00 PM
Wow Kat those watercolors are certainly well pigmented! It isn't often one sees red watercolors so bright. They provided a great undercolor for your final painting.

Kathryn Wilson
02-24-2007, 03:51 PM
Thanks Paul, Dorte, Donna and Peggy!

I need to try out some of the other colors in the set. Will be back.

02-24-2007, 04:25 PM
Whew...this is just beautiful! What gorgeous, vibrant colors! Did you find that using the watercolors for the darks of the piece was especially helpful? It looks like those darks are really very dark.

Very nice, Kat! :)

Kathryn Wilson
02-24-2007, 04:31 PM
Hey, Annie - when you say darks, do you mean the very saturated red and violet? The very darkest violet is at the top underneath the green pine tops - and I let some of the red show through on the water's edge/beach area.

Pat Isaac
02-24-2007, 04:41 PM
What a great underpainting, Kat. Those colors look as if they are saturated with pigment. Great final painting. Is this one going in your show?


Kathryn Wilson
02-24-2007, 04:45 PM
I am considering it - I have some other small paintings I did plein air while at this lake. But I need some LARGE paintings too.

Going to look at the space again tonight to see what the light is like at night and to define exactly how many pieces I am going to need. Groan - I last counted 20.

Pat Isaac
02-24-2007, 04:51 PM
It is always good to look at the space in different lights and also to determine the size of the space. How big are you talking? how large is this piece?


Kathryn Wilson
02-24-2007, 04:57 PM
The space is huge with very high ceilings - an industrial building converted. So I could paint 40 x 40 and I think they'd look small. So my plan is one large painting in a grouping, with smaller paintings around it. And it may take up to 3-4 groupings to fill the space. Ambitious isn't it. And expensive to frame all these pieces too.

I may have to digress and do some large acrylics and mix them in with the pastels.

Pat Isaac
02-24-2007, 05:00 PM
Wow, that is large, Kat. You can do it....:)


Kathryn Wilson
02-24-2007, 05:04 PM
Ooops, this one is 8 x 18

02-24-2007, 05:07 PM
Kat, this is just wonderful. I love the vibrant colors. I love seeing how you modified the ref. pic. and how you chose your underpainting colors. I also love the abstract underpainting. I love seeing this, thanks so much.

Pat Isaac
02-24-2007, 05:11 PM
That would be a good size framed.


Mary Brigid
02-24-2007, 05:51 PM
The colours are so vibrant Kat. Thank you for showing the underpainting
really like it.
Mary Brigid

02-24-2007, 05:56 PM

Wow - that painting is really spectacular! Love bright, bold colors and you have mastered them into a beautiful painting. - great job!

Did you use the Mt Vision WC's right out of the little jars or did you thin them down? - I've had a set for over a year but haven't done anything with them yet - after seeing your demo, I'm looking forward to giving them a try!

When's your show? Twenty paintings, especially large ones, will take a few days to complete........................:lol:.......... bluefish:cool:

02-24-2007, 06:05 PM
I wasn't aware that Mt Vision has watercolors. I had been thinking of combining pastel and watercolor, but hadn't thought of it in this way. Since seeing a WIP here (who? was that you?) I have been entranced by the idea of trying it as background. I would never have thought of using such vivid colors-- they are wonderful, and I really like how you used them in your painting.

Off to check out Mt Vision watercolors... (does it never end?)

Dayle Ann

Kathryn Day
02-24-2007, 06:47 PM
Kat, this is just beautiful! The underpainting is almost a work of art, on it's own. I hope you will take photos of your show, when it is hung. Would love to see it.

02-24-2007, 07:22 PM
Perfect underpainting for a beautiful painting!
:) Cindy

Kathryn Wilson
02-24-2007, 08:36 PM
Hi Bluefish - I actually squeezed them right out of the bottle, not diluted. I wanted bright, saturated colors for this particular painting, but I am sure they can be nicely diluted too.

Kathryn Wilson
02-24-2007, 08:39 PM
I was going to an announcement about the show, but decided against it until I got all my ducks in a row in how I was going to pull it off. We decided tonight groupings were the way to go, one large painting - then two or three smaller ones surrounding the larger one. It looks like 3 larger groupsing, then 6 smaller groups of small paintings. About 20 in all.

The show is in a fabulous coffeehouse close to two college campuses, lots of foot traffic and wonderful late hours and live entertainment on the weekend.

It is exciting to contemplate and I have until September to pull it together :o

02-24-2007, 08:41 PM
Beautiful colors! I like the underpainting showing. Stunning!! Will bookmark this to come back to when I try one again. Good luck with your show. 50 paintings, WOW!


Kathryn Wilson
02-24-2007, 08:43 PM
Oh, no, not 50 - whew, only 20.

Karen Margulis
02-24-2007, 08:56 PM
What a beautiful painting! And the I agree that the underpainting is wonderful too! Love the colors! Congratulations on your show! Sounds so exciting!


02-24-2007, 09:43 PM
Kat - I'm viewing this from my family's home in Boston (on break) and missing my pastels now even more when I see this magnificent piece. The vibrancy of the pastels you choose and the whole composition are just luminous and fabulous.

Congratulations and keep those show pieces coming.


Kathryn Wilson
02-24-2007, 10:07 PM
On the east coast, eh! Hope the weather is treating you well Barb.

The vibrancy of the colors does smack one in the face, but it is growing on me - :)

I painted this in Open Studio with some oil painters and their paintings were so soft and luminous - lost edges and all. Then I looked at my piece and snuck out of the studio. Just a different animal, those oils - :)

02-24-2007, 10:18 PM

What is the line across the ref pic.


Kathryn Wilson
02-24-2007, 11:20 PM
Hi CJ - that is a rubber barrier around the swimming area. Best to leave that out, eh?

02-25-2007, 09:43 AM
Kat.... you have just inspired me to try pastels over some watercolor paintings that have disappointed me. Thank you!!!! Wish me luck and courage, please! Donna Roth

Piper Ballou
02-25-2007, 09:54 AM
Kat.....I agree with Donna...I am really inspired too...I know that you watched and have used Bob Rohm's DVD on landscapes...at least I think it was you, did you use a lot of his techinques with this one?


02-25-2007, 10:25 AM
gorgeous and the format works really well too

I like to underpaint with watercolours - a friend uses gouache very successfully too.

02-25-2007, 10:48 AM
I'm wondering if the Dr. pH Martin's watercolors would work just as well; I have two sets of those and they are liquid watercolors, very vivid. I have to try them. So far have just used my W&N and Schmincke watercolors. Has anyone tried the Martin's liquid watercolors underneath pastel? Kat, this is so exciting about your show. Will you do all your own framing too?

Kathryn Wilson
02-25-2007, 01:57 PM
Yes, I do have Bob Rohm's DVD and attended his workshop. I really like to get an underpainting under my pastels now - I work through the problems of the composition, tonal values and where my center of interest is (darkest next to lightest). Having that established before I use my pastels has greatly helped my painting.

Piper, I am a lot looser with my underpainting than Bob is, but the overall technique is the same - establishing your big blocks/shapes, lights and darks, and tonal values is key to success.

I do think that any underpainting, whether it is with watercolor, gouache or even pastels with the water or alcohol process, is a good way to go.

So thanks for all the great comments and heavens, no, I won't be doing all the framing. When my hubby passed away, I lost my framer - :( I've found a fellow pastelist, who does framing for a business, so she understands how to frame pastels which is a big plus.

02-25-2007, 02:06 PM
LOVE this painting!!!! Bright, bold and beautiful!!! The underpainting is just too neat for words.... the saturation of color in those Mt. Visions is to die for! WOW!!!! I am also mesmerized by how you did the underpainting.... such bold strokes... There's just nothing shy about this piece.... and I also love the 8x18" size.... I think it adds intrigue to the overall presentation! Matted out and framed, this wouldn't seem all that small of a piece. Good show, Katherine!!!!

Kathryn Wilson
02-25-2007, 02:19 PM
Well, I figure in the underpainting you can go for broke. It can always be covered up by the pastels, so have fun and push the envelope!

02-25-2007, 02:54 PM
...so have fun and push the envelope!Lady, I like your style!! :D

02-26-2007, 02:44 PM
Kat, this is gorgeous! I can't imagine why you felt you had to slink out of the Open Studio, and can't imagine this any nicer than it is.

Kathryn Wilson
02-26-2007, 02:53 PM
Not slink, really - just, it looked so different than what the oil painters were doing. Almost garrish in comparison.

That's what makes the world go round - I paint one way, and others paint in their own way.

02-26-2007, 03:33 PM
Almost garrish in comparison.

That's what makes the world go round - I paint one way, and others paint in their own way.Yup, yup, yup! And I love yours.... not garrish... DRAMA! :D

02-26-2007, 04:03 PM
Lovely vibrant colours, Kat, love those. Good to see you painting again.

Mikki Petersen
02-27-2007, 12:44 PM
Wonderful use of an unusually sized support, both the subject and the composition. I like the painting a lot! Good luck filling that space with art!


02-28-2007, 05:44 PM
Wow! What fabulous color....not at all like my watercolors! Using them from the tube sounds like a good idea...I imagine the effect is probably more like gouache since they would be more opaque.
In any case, you have a wonderful, vibrant painting! I love it!


Kathryn Wilson
02-28-2007, 05:50 PM
Hi Sandy! Actually, these come in small plastic bottles with tips on them - all I did was to squeeze out some color on the paper where I wanted it to go, then used a large brush to spread it around. Rather painless and very little clean-up.

02-28-2007, 06:13 PM
Those sound like fun, Kat! One more thing to try!