View Full Version : Salt Marsh - Demo/WIP

Kathryn Wilson
03-09-2008, 03:47 PM
Trying to pull out of a painting slump, I am going a bit smaller on size - 9 x 23 on the new Uart paper 400 grit.

Observation about the paper - not as gritty as Wallis and does not take heavy underpainting as well.

Mount Vision pastels over a watercolor underpainting.

This is as far as I've gotten today, will let it rest for a bit and see if I like it any better in a day or two. :rolleyes:

Of course crits and suggestions are always welcome!

03-09-2008, 03:51 PM
Nice progression. Can't wait to see some more.

Kathryn Wilson
03-09-2008, 03:56 PM
LOL - I was just looking at your fabulous WIP and almost didn't put this one on - I loved yours :thumbsup:

03-09-2008, 04:03 PM
great demo !! ... look forward to more ....

03-09-2008, 04:05 PM
Nice beginning Kat. I look forward to seeing the continuation.

If the new UART is anything like the old Ersta, and it is supposed to be, it won't take watercolor underpainting very well no matter what the grit you use may be. I used to use pastels and an underpainting that I "melted" into the surface with an alcohol/water mix. That usually worked well. However, first I always taped the edges of the paper to a backing board all the way around much the same as one does watercolor paper.


Kathryn Wilson
03-09-2008, 04:16 PM
Thanks Violet!

Next I will use my handy, dandy Colour Shaper to pull out the darks from under the yellow to indicate individual stalks in the foremost part of the painting.

I saw a painting recently that had a lavendar sky and admired it, so thought I'd try one too.

Hey Peggy - I taped the paper to my kitchen counter as I knew it might buckle, but I made the mistake of thinking it was dry and it was not. Next time I will try wetting the back of the paper also. This grit does not take as many layers as Wallis, but I know they are offering different grits too. I started out using Ersta a long time ago, but the archival problem turned me to look for other paper.

WC Lee
03-09-2008, 04:33 PM
the painting is looking good :) I've been wanting to try the UArt sanded paper but still got too much other stuff that hasn't been used and it seems to be multiplying :eek:

Kathryn Wilson
03-09-2008, 04:36 PM
Well, I said I wasn't go to pick at it, but I did notice that the background grasses needed lightening up.

I also took a close-up of how the colour shaper can pull out darker colors to the fore.

03-09-2008, 06:17 PM
Kathryn this is mavvolusss love it and can't wait to see it finished. I will say though that the first one ? the underpainting for me stood all on its own I love the way it looked. I know, its just me, but I can't help it I love thoses kind of colors.

Kathryn Wilson
03-09-2008, 06:34 PM
pssst ... scott ... do you think I'm a closet watercolorist? ... lol

I liked them all ... each in their own way, but need to move on and finish.

I am seeing some repetitive shapes ... must deal with that next before Deborah gets here and bangs me over the head with it.

03-09-2008, 07:20 PM
This is coming along very nicely. I look forward to seeing it finished.


03-09-2008, 07:51 PM

Cool demo! I love to see all of it in a row, and I can click, click, click to see the progress. This is a great way to demo! I don't know why I never thought of this or have seen it recently except with ED's wonderful demo. You have a masterpiece in the works. I've pulled up a chair to see the final episodes!


Kathryn Wilson
03-09-2008, 07:56 PM
Thanks Binkie ... stay tuned!

You too Carol! As you may know, Kate and I are revamping the Pastel Library, and we are going to have a subforum with only WIP's and demos in it, and as we are going through the past ones, I am seeing that it is difficult to get a good comprehension of what the artist is doing unless you put it all together like this. So, your comments about that solidifies what I've been feeling all along.

Deborah Secor
03-09-2008, 08:18 PM
I am seeing some repetitive shapes ... must deal with that next before Deborah gets here and bangs me over the head with it.

Good grief! :p I was just over in another thread where Ed said something about spelling 'complementary' correctly and mentioned my name... I think I better duck!! Y'all are gonna start lobbing tomatoes at me or something....................... INCOMING!:D

Seriously, Kat, I think this is looking VERY good. I enjoy seeing the progress, too, and love the undercolors. Often I find they inspire me, almost more than they influence the end look of the pastel itself, although of course they do that too. My only thought was to ask about the color of the sky, but I figure you're well on your way to a good, strong painting here and have that under consideration already. I'm gonna keep my eye on this one. Keep going--looks like the slump is gone to me.

BTW, I just interviewed an artist who says he uses watercolor on the UART with no problems. He uses chunks of tape at the corners and sides so he can re-tighten it as he paints, keeping the paper taut. They aren't using water-based glue for the grit like the old Ersta did, so you can use water on it now.


Kathryn Wilson
03-09-2008, 08:34 PM
Hi Deborah - I knew you'd come running ... lol ... sending vibes your way. Seriously tho, I always value your comments.

ummm ... color of the sky is nowhere near what it is here. As you can see, the undercolor of the sky is that brilliant yellow, so I put a deep lavendar over it - the photo does not do it justice, but in order to get the rest of the colors right, I had to sacrifice the sky in this photo.

David Patterson
03-09-2008, 09:11 PM
Look great Kat! Can't wait to see the finished piece!


Kathryn Wilson
03-12-2008, 10:51 AM
Next installment - playing around with some things - not sure I like any of the additions tho. I wanted to break up that dark band of grass in the background, but not sure that the addition of water is doing that for me.

Added some yellow clouds and may add some more ... it did brighten up that part of the painting which is good.

Broke up one of the duplicate shapes on the right side ... may do away with that small clump of grass altogether.

Is the texture of the grass too much? The foreground grasses need some work, I am aware of that.

I lightened up the water quite a bit ... lost the drama, I think.


Donna T
03-12-2008, 11:02 AM
What a beautiful piece this is turning out to be, Kat. I love the composition, the way the water leads the eye in and around the grasses. I don't mind the texture of the grass, as long as it gets softer and less defined as it moves toward the horizon. I kind of liked your deep blue water in the last step but I guess your water color will be influenced by the final color of the sky. Is the sky finished? I wish I could see you use your colour shaper ... every time I try to use mine it just removes the pastel I'm trying to drag around. I must be doing something wrong!


Kathryn Wilson
03-12-2008, 11:14 AM
Hi Donna - thanks for the encouragement and the suggestions - I need that! Will be taking this to a critique tomorrow evening and that might help me solidify wht I am thinking.

As to the colorshaper, I use it in different ways. The two I have are chisel shaped and cove-shaped(s) ... let me attach photo.

With the chisel shape, I flick the dark color up from underneath, taking off the the light color on top. Withe the cove shape, that's the one I use to blend clouds with, softly swirling that yellow puffy cloud over the top of the lavendar sky.


03-12-2008, 11:36 AM
This process is fascinating!!! I use bright colors in my pastel box, but didn't ever try this as much in my under-painting. Wow - what strength.


Donna T
03-12-2008, 11:37 AM
Oh, now I get it. Thanks, Kat. I only have one, a pointed shape, and I will try putting a darker color underneath and then moving that color up and over the top color.


Deborah Secor
03-12-2008, 11:39 AM
I'll be interested to hear what you receive at the crit tomorrow. It's always more valuable to have people stand in front of the actual painting to critique. Digitals go only so far...

I like the additional water breaking the line, though maybe you will tweak the shapes there. The texture of the grasses looks quite good to me, too. As for the drama of the darker blue, I think you can recover some of that in a transition of reflections, but I really don't think you've lost anything!

One small thought...could you ever so slightly enlarge the height of the front 'range' of grasses on the R-H side, and perhaps merge the two into one shape on the far side of the page? Not sure, but wondering... I find 'striped' paintings so challenging that I usually reshape things--but that may just be me. :rolleyes:

Keep going! I like what I see here. :D


Kathryn Wilson
03-12-2008, 11:52 AM
Barb - thanks bunches for the encouragement! Now, where's your's ... lol

Donna, any time I can help, just hollar.

Deborah - on the right-hand side, which two shapes? The front two, or the second and third. I am seeing what you are saying about stipped paintings. So good to have another eye looking for things like that.

Deborah Secor
03-12-2008, 12:56 PM
From the bottom R-H side it goes water, grass, grass. Those two grass shapes are a teensy bit too similar in height, I think. If you increase or decrease a bit, maybe it will give a slight bit of rhythm, plus perhaps massing them into one larger shape... Easier to show than tell. Hope that's okay!


I know you'll make this idea your own, so just my usual thinking out loud...


Kathryn Wilson
03-12-2008, 01:23 PM

Kathryn Wilson
03-13-2008, 03:33 PM
I decided to see how this looks on Wet Canvas - going to take it to a critique tonight, so need to be prepared for all the slashing and burning :)

Two things: if you've ever watched someone do a watercolor demo, then you've heard the term "happy accident". Well, I had one on here (not exactly accident), but a surprise. I was not happy with the reflections I was getting, so I took a wide foam brush, wet it and took most of the water out of it, and gently "washed" those reflections down. Voila! I had exactly what I wanted to achieve, but in watercolor ...lol It gave me the inspiration and energy to finish them and I am a happy camper.

Next, I discovered "weed" holes .... lol. You've heard of sky holes, well I figured if you can do that to trees, why not weeds and grasses. Oh, I do play around so much with my paintings and discover new things every one I do.

So, anyhoo, here the next version - certainly not done, but getting close. (this is a bit more saturated in color ... new monitor :rolleyes:


03-13-2008, 03:54 PM
a beautiful and dramatic marsh scene indeed !! ... maybe do a check on the horizon line ... it appears to be slanting down a tad on each side ... but could be a monitor/photo effect and just looks that way on screen ...

Kathryn Wilson
03-13-2008, 04:04 PM
Yes, I am afraid that it does slant a bit - but I need to check it with a ruler - it might be the photo, not sure yet. Thanks for pointing that out.

Pat Isaac
03-13-2008, 05:52 PM
I am enjoying this progression, Kat. I really do like the bold color of your underpainting. I am looking to do that with oil.


Kathryn Wilson
03-13-2008, 06:00 PM
I've done it for oil pastels too, but you have to be careful not to put dark watercolor where you want your lights - they just won't cover.

Thanks for looking!

Kathryn Wilson
03-15-2008, 12:27 PM
To catch you all up on this painting, I took it to a critique on Thursday evening - two local gallery owners at a mixed medium session. I was the only one with pastels there that night.

First impressions were that it was an oil painting - when I said no, a stunned look on one critiquer's face. She asked how long I have been doing this "method." Give you a clue?

The other critiquer said that the color in the sky and the color in the water was too much the same for him ... that I should change one or the other. A more valid critique than the first one.

Then they both joked about the "dust" that pastels make - :rolleyes:

Soooo, today I take it to a Pastel Society meeting for their critique. Should be interesting. :o

nana b
03-15-2008, 01:10 PM
Kat, I'm keeping up with your wip and am enjoying it very much. This kind of thing is very good for us beginners. I haven't participated in the forum in a while but have been watching a little daily. I'm going through one of those dryer spells, lol, but am still studying and doing pastels daily. I will be continuing to stay up with this wip and see how all goes. It looks great to me!


Pat Isaac
03-15-2008, 04:07 PM
Amazing...it is always interesting to get other viewpoints. I always get nervous when the judges for a show are gallery owners, because they usually are coming from a whole different place.
I'll be interested to see what the pastel society people think. I love that tree line in the far distance.


Kathryn Wilson
03-16-2008, 02:37 PM
Thanks Nana and Pat!

Well, the Pastel Society people were quite divided on the sky question - some loved it as it is, some wanted me to lighten it. I know you all cannot see the true color here - but it is a lavander color, so I am going to take it one value lighter and see what happens.

I did discuss the gallery owners' reactions to pastels and I was advised to go to galleries out of the area by a very well known artist, as this area is very oil dominated (as I have suspected for a long time). :(

03-16-2008, 03:52 PM
Kathryn, this has been a very instructive WIP and I know I've learned heaps from reading through the thread. Love the colours and the "happy surprise" you had with the water. It's a beautiful painting. Let us know how it looks with the sky lightened one value.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Kathryn Wilson
03-22-2008, 02:45 PM
Dragging this thing back up again - I thought it was finished (is any painting ever finished), but I see I still have a problem with the horizon line. Thanks to uploading it here, I will take another look at it.

I compromised on the sky - half lavendar, half lifted up into the light!! lol

Sharp eyes, tell me if anything looks off.


WC Lee
03-22-2008, 03:12 PM
this came out really nice :)

Pat Isaac
03-22-2008, 04:41 PM
I like the way you finished the sky. Really highlights the light coming in through the left.


Kathryn Wilson
03-22-2008, 06:47 PM
Thanks Pat and W.C.! We shall now see what the judges think of it :)

03-22-2008, 08:51 PM
with the sky colour differing from left to right, wouldn't the same happen in the reflection on the water?

Kathryn Wilson
03-22-2008, 08:58 PM
Hi Violet - not sure what you mean - but are you saying that if the sky is lighter on the left, then the water should be lighter on the left? gradation from left to right?

The photo doesn't really tell the story (as usual), but the sun is coming up in that left corner and I wanted to leave the water dark as it comes forward - no light reflection yet as the sun hasn't hit it yet. If that makes sense - the sky is really darker in the painting.

03-22-2008, 10:43 PM
:thumbsup: Well bust my buttons :lol: this has turned out wonderfully :D I am impressed, The blue violet waters set against the golds of the grasses :clap: The sky is impressive. I like all the things going on in this one for sure. Nice job Kathryn :D :clap:

03-22-2008, 11:00 PM
Thanks for posting the WIP. I loved looking at and thinking about your underpainting. And I appreciated seeing the evolution of your piece. I love salt marshes, and you caught this one. I think I've been there!