View Full Version : The Spotlight - March 2010

Pages : [1] 2

Paula Ford
03-01-2010, 01:06 PM
:clap: Hello Artists and welcome to the March Spotlight!:clap:

Special Note: Because Wetcanvas may shut down for a few days
(and we don't know when that will happen), please print
out the photos so you can use them during the shutdown.

Here is a quick recap of what The Spotlight is all about!

The Spotlight is an activity thread for pastel artists of all experience levels working from photos chosen by a monthly host. Most months, the host will choose photos from only one subject, putting that subject into “the spotlight,” so to speak! For example, one month the subject will be painting water, another month will spotlight flowers, etc.

Some months, rather than spotlight a subject, the focus will be on a challenge of some sort. In those cases, we might have a wider variety of photo references, but “the spotlight” will be on the challenge itself.

Since this is a group activity, we can pool our knowledge and resources, and grow as artists in a fun, “no-pressure” atmosphere. And no critiques unless specifically asked for. The intent is to have fun, try new things, experiment, and perhaps most of all, to see what our friends and colleagues are painting from the same reference material!

Please note: The photos are all taken by me and my fellow Guide, Don (DAK723), you have our permission to use the photos as reference to create your artwork and to sell them and/or exhibit them. The actual photos, similar to the photos in the Reference image library, still retain the copyright of the photographer. So you cannot copy the photo to your blog, for example, without the permission of the photographer, or digitally alter or reproduce the photo for any purpose other than for your personal use, with the exception of crops, digital alterations and posts of these photos within "The Spotlight" thread.

The Spotlight’s challenge this month is choosing a wet underpainting. Please be sure to work on a paper that will accept a wet underpainting and remember you can not use anything wet on La Carte paper.

There are lots of ways to do underpaintings. You can use:
Oil Wash
Alcohol (just regular old rubbing alcohol) over Pastels
Turpenoid over Pastels
Water over Pastels

Here is an example:
I used an alcohol wash over pastels for this painting. The first photo shows the underpainting and the 2nd is the final painting.

So, please choose the type of underpainting from the list above and post a photo of the underpainting and the finished painting. Tell us your thoughts on the painting process you used and any challenges you faced. Also, did you like or dislike this type of underpainting and why.


#1 - Tennessee Farm
Link to high resolution file: http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=89134&size=big&cat=35


#2 - Tennessee Hay Bales in Summer
Link to high resolution file: http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=89135&size=big&cat=37


#3 - Road through the forest
Link to high resolution file: http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=89136&size=big&cat=3533


#4 - A gorgeous Autumn Tree
Link to high resolution:


#5 - Adirondack Vista
Link to high resolution:


03-01-2010, 01:42 PM
Definitely a spotlight challenge to play with. Thanks for the great reference photos, Don and Paula.

03-01-2010, 02:36 PM
Thanks for hosting, Paula, and a big a big thank you to you and Don for the fantastic photos. This is a challenge that I have some experience with, but want to expand on, so this comes at a very good time for me.

I imagine it is okay to crop the photos. I have all the photos saved, like you suggested, and I look forward to participating. I also look forward to seeing other's under paintings and final paintings.

Good luck everyone.


03-01-2010, 02:41 PM
Sounds interesting. I have never tried underpainting with pastels. Do you just put in the darks and lights and go from there? Jen

03-01-2010, 02:43 PM
Yes meant to say Great pictures and thanks for sharing them. They certainly make me want to go and start painting. I can't wait to see how this goes. I have never painted along like this. Jen

03-01-2010, 03:13 PM
Hi Paula,

Love your photos! I have never done a wet underpainting before and will definitely try one here in the Spotlight!


03-01-2010, 03:39 PM
Wow! Thanks for a great challenge and wonderful photos. I know I'm going to really enjoy this one. If I can find the bottle of rubbing alcohol I might even try your alcohol underpainting technique.

Question though -- would it count if I finally do my experiment of doing an underpainting in several different colors of Colourfix primer? I've been meaning to try that for a while, either with complementary colors to the subject or intensify it by using similar colors, painting it on foam board or watercolor paper. Please let me know if that type of underpainting counts for the challenge.

03-01-2010, 03:43 PM
Ooh this sounds fun! Do we post the underpainting and the finished piece together?

03-01-2010, 03:59 PM
Paula, thank you for hosting March. The pictures are fantastic wished I could do all, Oh maybe three at tops will see. One question: How can I post the photos side by side, when using the image uploader?, I'll appreciate it very much.

Winny Kerr
03-01-2010, 04:06 PM
Oh fantastic photo's...I will definitively do ....hmmmmm....as many as I can LOL. :D Now that I have all my tax stuff behind me I can relax and enjoy painting...I had to get that stuff of my chest :eek: . Thank you Paula, love those photo's. Oh and do you want us to do the underpainting as well?

03-01-2010, 04:10 PM
Beautiful reference photos, Paula, and a real challenge! I'll have a go if time allows. Like everyone else who's responded, I've never attempted an underpainting before, so it'll be interesting.

03-01-2010, 05:12 PM

I'm actually thinking of trying one of these photos! I've never painted with others like this, maybe it's time I did! These are nice references, and I've saved them so I can hopefully work on one even when Wet Canvas is down for a while. Thanks so much for picking out some interesting photos. Maybe I'll try the alchohol technique first....... :D Hmmm........, then watercolor,................ :eek: (good thing it will be an underpainting!)

03-01-2010, 07:28 PM
Stunning photos! I just moved into my new studio today and I'm gonna give these a try.....Thanks so much for providing the inspiration.

Paula Ford
03-01-2010, 07:29 PM
Thank you all for joining in!!

Jen, Yes. Put down the first layer in pastels and take a paint brush and liquify the pastels with either alcohol, or water. Or try one of the other underpaintings.

Robert, that is fine. Just remember to describe everything you've done for the underpainting.

Ruthie, Yes, post them both together.

Jose, I just combined them in The Gimp (like how we do our signature photos), but if you don't have it, just post them as 2 separate photos.

Winny, Yes, please do your chosen underpainting and take a photo and then take a photo of your finished piece.

Have fun!

Vivien Maloney
03-01-2010, 07:36 PM
Thanks Paula, you just answered all my questions. Will love having a go at this, and I'm downloading the photos now - just in case site goes down.

Winny Kerr
03-01-2010, 07:48 PM
One more question Paula, that underpainting you did as an example....did you use Ampersand Pastel board and did you use that blue/grey colour or an other colour? Just curious what you used. Winny

03-01-2010, 09:16 PM

Thanks for the great challenge -- I can't wait to see and learn -- this will really be fun. Great references -- good thing we have a month to figure this out.

03-01-2010, 10:06 PM
Thanks Paula, I will have a go soon.Jen

03-01-2010, 11:07 PM
Paula, it's different. done it twice so guess i can do it a third time. i hope.

Jen, welcome again and glad you found your way over here.

Paula Ford
03-01-2010, 11:29 PM
One more question Paula, that underpainting you did as an example....did you use Ampersand Pastel board and did you use that blue/grey colour or an other colour? Just curious what you used. Winny

Winny, That painting started on Wallis Belgian Mist bonded to acid-free foamboard. Have you ever seen the color of that paper?

03-02-2010, 05:49 AM
Paula, Don, thank you for the beautiful photos! Good challenge!


Winny Kerr
03-02-2010, 10:15 AM
posted by Paula; That painting started on Wallis Belgian Mist bonded to acid-free foamboard. Have you ever seen the color of that paper?
No Paula....I do not know what colour that is. I know Don Rantz uses Wallis and he uses the white, so I know what it feels like as he showed me at a recent demo that I was fortunate to watch. Thanks for your help Paula.

Paula Ford
03-02-2010, 10:26 AM
Winny, The Belgian Mist is a light/medium brownish color.

Winny Kerr
03-02-2010, 11:37 AM
Thank you Paula. So you use different under colours for different type of landscapes? Winny

Paula Ford
03-02-2010, 12:06 PM
Gee, that's kind of hard to answer. No matter what type of landscape I'm about to paint, if I'm using a light colored paper or board, I want to be sure to use a medium dark color to get rid of all the white dots. That's one of the purposes for using an underpainting or toning.

03-02-2010, 12:26 PM
Thank you all for joining in!!

Jen, Yes. Put down the first layer in pastels and take a paint brush and liquify the pastels with either alcohol, or water. Or try one of the other underpaintings.

Robert, that is fine. Just remember to describe everything you've done for the underpainting.

Ruthie, Yes, post them both together.

Jose, I just combined them in The Gimp (like how we do our signature photos), but if you don't have it, just post them as 2 separate photos.

Winny, Yes, please do your chosen underpainting and take a photo and then take a photo of your finished piece.

Have fun!
Paula, thank you for your answer, I don't have the Gimp but I do have Photoshop Elements maybe I can do it there I have to find out. I used to have the Gimp but finded it too complicated.

Merethe T
03-02-2010, 01:58 PM
Great challenge, and excellent photos! Will be fun to see what everyone come up with. Will not make any commitment to paint, done it too many times without following through,lol! ;) Even if the photos are very tempting....

Thank you Paula and Don!

03-02-2010, 03:21 PM
Thanks, Paula. I'll definitely get photos of the underpainting and describe the process, since it might turn a little bit crazy getting the surface smooth and getting it to fill the areas perfectly. Might need to go over all of it with clear afterward to get enough tooth, but I'll see what happens.

I'm very tempted to try that orange tree for it because that's got such strong big areas of color. Easy to abstract it.

03-02-2010, 05:56 PM
Autumn Fire Underpainting
4" x 6"
Sakura Koi watercolor
140lb hot press Lanaquarelle watercolor paper.

I kept muttering under my breath like a mantra "The underpainting doesn't have to be pretty, it doesn't have to look like a painting at that stage..." but there it is. It's bolder and more garish IRL because my scanner lightened it significantly. However, everything's there and I won't have white flecks under anything ubt the white clouds and surf. Need to refill the waterbrush handle from my pocket Sakura set, it was the most convenient watercolor set.

Now I'm watching the second coat of clear Colourfix primer dry on it so I can get to it with pastels and turn it into, hopefully, a pretty painting.

Paula Ford
03-02-2010, 06:03 PM
Wonderful Robert!!!

:lol: I used to say that to myself also, that the underpainting is not the painting and, therefore, should have no detail!!

Great job!!

03-02-2010, 07:35 PM
Autumn Fire
4" x 6"
Richeson hard pastels
Hot press Lanaquarelle 140lb watercolor paper with Sakura Koi watercolor underpainting and clear Colourfix sanded pastel primer.

I like how this came out, it was very tricky in some areas but the underpainting really helped. I even got some sky holes in, Paula! Here it is displayed next to its underpainting, I put this together in Gimp.


03-02-2010, 07:42 PM
Wow, Robert! That orange and blue contrast makes this just jump off the screen! Love the shape of the tree (and the sky holes)!


Paula Ford
03-02-2010, 08:34 PM
WOW! That is fabulous Robert!! I agree with Don that the shape is great and the sky holes are perfect!!

03-02-2010, 09:17 PM
Robert- Love the orange/ blue combination. The tree glows. This is a good demo to show people what an underpainting can do. Way to go.:thumbsup:


03-02-2010, 09:17 PM
Thank you both! Paula, I remembered what you said about making sky holes just a step darker than the surrounding sky and did so. That really worked!

Vivien Maloney
03-02-2010, 09:51 PM
Love your painting Robert and I seem to have selected the same photo.
Mine is underpainted in Watercolour on watercolour paper. I chose watercolour paper because I thought it might give the finished painting more texture, but I prefer Art Spectrum colourfix paper.
I underpaint a lot of my pastels with Watercolour. I like to leave some of the watercolour paint showing through in my final pastel painting.

Here is the under-painting

And here is the finished painting.

I could have gone a lot brighter and if I have time would like to try that.
C & C welcome

03-02-2010, 10:04 PM
Robert, "It's just an underpainting, it's just an underpainting, it's just an underpainting......" :lol: Just the thing I will be muttering under my breath too if and when I start this! Nice job! That orange really pops against the sky!

Vivian, Nice job also! Your painting is very peacful. It is fun to see how different people paint the same subject.

03-02-2010, 10:04 PM
Viv, yours is lovely and looks so much more serene. Mine's all wild and yours is gentle and inviting ... fantastic painting and I love seeing the different ways different artists use the same photo.

03-02-2010, 10:08 PM
Vivian and Robert, both of your treatments of the trees are noteworthy. Good job, you two.

03-02-2010, 10:14 PM
What is colorfix and where do you buy it. We have a Hobby Lobby (that's it) and I can get on line for Dick Blick. Do you have to use it if you use for all the underpainting? I'm probably not paying attention. Thanks Jen

03-02-2010, 10:28 PM
Dick Blick has both Colourfix paper, which is primed with a sanded ground over heavy 140lb 100% rag hot press watercolor paper, and the primer in pint jars. Clear really is clear, so I used 140lb hot press watercolor paper but did my watercolor underpainting before putting two thin coats of the primer on.

It's expensive paper, but you can save quite a bit by getting the jars of primer and applying it yourself. I use a one inch wide synthetic watercolor flat brush to apply it and smooth out all the bumps and blobs before it's completely dry. Some artists prefer using a foam brush to put the primer on, it works just as well and the foam brushes are so cheap that if the primer dries on them, it's no great loss. It usually takes two or three coats.

I should also mention that if you use the primer, shake the jar well for a couple of minutes before opening it and using it. The grit sometimes settles toward the bottom and needs to be shook up again for it to get the best effects.

Actually, the paper isn't too bad compared to the cost of other artist grade sanded pastel papers, it comes in two sizes and you can try all the colors in a rainbow pack of 9" x 12" pieces. It's one of my favorite sanded papers.

Oh, I forgot to mention -- the Art Spectrum Colourfix papers and boards do stand up to wet underpaintings if you buy the sanded paper and then watercolor over it. I would thin acrylics till they're like ink though, or you'll lose some of the grit with too heavy an underpainting. Alcohol underpainting and watercolor or ink over light colors or gouache over any color will work.

Paula Ford
03-02-2010, 11:01 PM
WOW! Another beauty! Vivian, your underpainting looked so good it would have stood on it's own!! Your painting is gorgeous! That foliage is just beautiful!

03-02-2010, 11:20 PM
Nice work Robert and Viv.

Mary Y
03-02-2010, 11:35 PM
Robert and Viv
These are two really lovely paintings . It is very interesting to see the underpainting first.
Thank you Paula and Dak for the lovely pictures.
I am hoping I have time to do at least one.

03-02-2010, 11:42 PM
REally enjoying seeing the underpaintings....thanks so much for sharing your lovely artwork Robert and Vivien!

03-03-2010, 12:26 AM
Vivian- I can really see how you used your underpainting as a road map for your pastels. The wc paper gives this a soft feel. I have a feeling this is going to be a popular photo.


03-03-2010, 01:50 AM
Thanks Robert. I am still not quite claer about why you put the colourfix on. Is it to put more grit on the paper after the underpainting? Sorry to be dence about this. I am using sanded paper so will the underpainting loose some of that? Jen

03-03-2010, 03:49 AM
Robert and Vivien, two completely different but equally successful outcomes!

03-03-2010, 10:16 AM
Having never done an underpainting, I was quite curious as to how it would go! I used an alcohol underpainting - alcohol brushed over a thin layer of pastel - on pastelmat paper. As you can see, my layer of pastel was a little too thin. I wasn't sure if the pastel would spread more as I applied the alcohol. But it didn't matter too much as the underpainting still did the job of creating a fairly solid tone of color to lay my pastels over.

I left the edges of the paper on my photos so you can see the paper color. Mt. Visions on Pastelmat, approx. 9" x 12"


Here is the finished painting cropped:


All in all, I think the process went well. The stage after the underpainting took only about 45 minutes! Comments welcome!


03-03-2010, 10:25 AM

Very nice painting! And as Paula mentioned, that watercolor could be a finished painting on its own! I may try a watercolor underpainting next!


Paula Ford
03-03-2010, 10:26 AM
YAY Don!! Your painting turned out GREAT!! Doesn't the underpainting make a huge difference in the painting process?? That is why I love it so much!

Vivien Maloney
03-03-2010, 12:11 PM
Thanks to everyone for all your positive comments on my painting.

It was fun photographing the underpainting and seeing the photo of it after I had applied my pastel. I've never photographed an underpainting before and now that I look at it, I see that I do indeed use the underpainting as a map to apply my pastels. Also interesting to see how other Artists use the photos and their underpaintings.

Don; great painting! I've never used an alcohol with pastel, but must try that.

03-03-2010, 02:48 PM

Nice job for your first underpainting! Looks like you know what your doing already! Do you think you'll use it more often now?

03-03-2010, 02:52 PM
Good job, Don. I like how you left most (if not all) of the underpainting showing in the mountains. It gives the painting good depth. I like the alcohol method. For my heavy hand, it works well for layering.


03-03-2010, 03:06 PM
Don, that's beautiful! So misty and distant. Despite not completely dissolving, the underpainting sure did its job and your painting is so cool.

Thanks for the tips about using alcohol underpainting, I'm going to be trying it at some point too. You might have also been running into the PastelMat surface itself -- it's incredibly grabby, it holds onto what's put on it, so it might not be letting go even under the alcohol wash. I might try it on Colourfix instead.

03-03-2010, 04:27 PM
Nice one Don. Simple but very effective. I'm itching to start on one but doubt I'll have time before I go away on Saturday <sigh> It will just have to wait until I get back.

03-03-2010, 05:58 PM
That turned out so well, Don...
Vivien, yours is lovely also...
Rob...absolutely stunning. Love the colors.

I did the tree also...the underpainting wasnt terribly inspirational, and I realize I should have included the tree itself... but hered it is, anyway..:


On black art Spectrum paper 6 1/2 x 9 inches

03-03-2010, 06:05 PM
Judi! That's great! I think your not including the tree resulted in little sky holes and really helped it. Using a complement under the grass helped too, that's gorgeous. Wonderful painting, it's got such great texture and depth.

03-03-2010, 06:56 PM
I chose the Hay Bales....this is 9 x 14 on Eggplant Colorfix sanded paper.

Pic 1 is the block in of color
PIc 2 is the "water" wash (that was scary!)
PIc 3 is today's progress....not done yet...the sky and far hills are pretty much done, tomorrow to give some form to the trees, hay bales, and foreground.

So much fun!!

03-03-2010, 08:27 PM
You are all amazing and all so different. It is such an interesting thread.
Don I love the smoky effect,
Julibelle the colour came out so well.
Chatfieldstudio this is intersting I like the free wheeling undercoat that is turning into a great painting.
I am having a go at the haystacks too. I did watercolour on sanded paper. Maybe it is not bright enough what do you think? I will put on pastel tomorrow. Jen

03-03-2010, 08:31 PM
I guess I didn't get the picture through I will try again with haybales underpainting water colour on Wallis sanded paper Jen
Well I can't seem to attach so will try later

03-03-2010, 08:36 PM
Chatfieldstudios, wow. I love your block in and water wash. I'm going to be trying that with an alcohol wash, maybe I'll do the hay bales one for that treatment. I found some alcohol today -- that's the one thing that was holding me back, not knowing where the rubbing alcohol was.

Vivien Maloney
03-03-2010, 08:41 PM
Judi; thats a great underpainting. I think it would have been easier if you had added the tree but the finished pastel came out well!

chatfieldstudios; I like your vigorous underpainting. Great pastel painting too.

It's very interesting to see how everybody s underpaintings and also the finished pastel paintings. What a great thread this is. Thanks so much Don for beginning "the Spotlight" and Paula for hosting this months' "Spotlight"

03-03-2010, 08:48 PM
Okay last try. This is haybales. Water colour on sanded wallis paper. I think it may be too light but will have a go with pastels tomorrow. Jenhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Mar-2010/216461-IMG_3162_Medium.jpg

03-03-2010, 11:56 PM
Thank you all for your comments on my painting! I definitely will be doing more underpaintings!

Lots of great work here already!!


Paula Ford
03-04-2010, 12:17 AM
Judi, Beautifully done!! I love those colors in the underpainting that compliment the tree!

Cindy, Stunning work! I love the misty, soft feel of your painting... gorgeous!

Love your underpainting Jen and am looking forward to seeing your painting develop!

03-04-2010, 12:26 AM
Jen, that's a great underpainting. I love the complements you used. It's going to be gorgeous.

Juliajane, yes, you can mix acrylic paint in the Colourfix primer to tone it, but not too much or it won't have enough grit. I tried it with gold metallic paint to get a gold metallic shimmer and that didn't work, but it took a lot to get the color and that damped down the grit so I had to add an extra layer of clear over it. What I haven't tried that might work is shaving pastel powder into it, since that's pure pigment!

I was also mixing with white rather than with clear, maybe with clear it keeps its color better and just becomes transparent. I'll have to try that.

And yep, sky holes are the glimpses of sky between leaf clumps and branches, or really between any small element that has a gap that shows sky. Paula put some gorgeous ones into parts of a roof on an old barn that had holes in it on the edge. She also showed a tip -- make the color in the sky hole one step darker and stronger than the sky color around it and it'll look better. Much more real. It's got something to do with the atmosphere.

I tried it both ways, doing sky holes with the same pastel as that band of sky or going one step darker -- it looked lots better going one step darker. Read through her "30 in 30" thread and you'll see she uses beautiful sky holes in almost every tree that makes them look so much more natural.

03-04-2010, 08:04 AM
chatfieldstudio...Love the progression you have shown. It is looking so great.
jen...looking forward to seeing yours done...
Thanks for the comments on my tree....I am now working on the haybales photo...

03-04-2010, 02:18 PM
Judi, Love your colors! Nice job.

Chattfieldstudios, Nice progress so far. Can't wait to see it finished!

Jen, Great underpainting! You can do a lot with that! Waiting patiently for more!

03-04-2010, 02:30 PM
I did three underpaintings. Here is the first one completed. The underpainting is Derwent inktense pencils on Kitty Wallis white paper. This is a first for me in using the Wallis paper, which is quite nice and the second attempt with an underpainting. I used Daniel Smith's water-soluble relief inks on WC paper in a workshop by Susan Woolgar, a couple of years ago. The painting is 8.5 x 6.5 inches with predominantly holbiens, some unisons and MVPs. The bales are a bit wonky.

03-04-2010, 03:10 PM
Wow! Terri, that came out fantastic! It reminds me a little of some of Scottyarthur's trees, it's utterly gorgeous. Love the way you handled the bales too, they're so vibrant.

03-04-2010, 03:47 PM
Here is #2. Approximately an hour, on hardboard coated with golden pastel base (maybe or the AS stuff) used Derwent inktense pencils for the underpainting. MVPs predominantly with a few unisons. #3 will have to wait until tomorrow or later in the week. 11 x 14 inches.

03-04-2010, 04:01 PM
My finished "Hay Bales"....off to the dentist so I will comment later on the other entries...looking good!!!

03-04-2010, 04:12 PM
Terri, Nice job! I especially like how you handled #2.

Chatfieldstudios, Your rendering of this landscape is nice and soft! I'm enjoying the color pallet especially!

03-04-2010, 04:19 PM
Chris, you nailed the atmospheric perspective. Nice changes of colour but so subtle in your handling of them. Great job.

03-04-2010, 06:41 PM
This is so much fun.
Terri I love both of yours. You got the misty look nicely and the haybales look great too.Thanks Paula, Robert and Chaterfields.
I think your completed haybales looks great chatterfields and you nailed the smokey look on the hills.I struggled with that.
Here are mine. I had a bit of a problem not blending with my fingers on haybales. But by the time I got to the trees I was getting it. Watercolour on Sanded wallis paper 9x12.

The big tree I did in less than an hour and just had a blast with it. I did pastels on Wallis sanded paper with a turpentine wash. It dried almost instantly and then I was really loose. Great fun! Jen

Off to prep for a Colanoscomy now so not so much fun from now on!!!! :(
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2010/216461-IMG_3176_Medium.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2010/216461-IMG_3162_Medium.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2010/216461-IMG_3178_Medium.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2010/216461-IMG_3179_Medium.jpg

03-04-2010, 09:10 PM
Jen, tonnes of life in your big tree. Great mark-making as well. Nice sense of the receding hills in the bales' painting. I can get feel how heavy those bales feel with the volume of them. Well done.

Hope nothing significant found with your procedure. My Dad has had a couple, I probably will sometime in the far future. Take care, Terri

03-05-2010, 10:48 AM
Thanks Terri I really enjoyed doing them. I love bright colours and thse underpainting really make them sing. I'm so glad Paula strted this.

I am back from the procedure and all is well thank you! Jen

Vivien Maloney
03-05-2010, 12:26 PM
Hi Jen; glad to see all is well, such a relief for you.
Like your 2 paintings, lovely and loose. I like the underpainting for your tree. I haven't used a turpentine wash but I'll have to try that.

03-05-2010, 01:54 PM
Judi- Good job. I think your tree looks great with the sky showing through. You never know how things will work out until you try it. Way to go.

Cindy- I think your painting has a very nice soft feel to it. Great job on the row of trees and the aerial perspective.

Jen- Your hay bales painting looks great. Your hills recede nicely and I like your strokes in the trees. Your tree has a impressionistic look to it. Love all the colours. It is interesting to compare the two paintings. To me, the water colour underpainting gives a softer look than the turps underpainting. Keep having fun.

Terri- Wow. You must be a mind reader. I was thinking of doing an underpainting with Inktense pencils. Great minds think alike.:D I love the colours of the underpainting in the hay bales painting. Good aerial perspective. I agree with Robert, about your trees. They look great. Your second painting doesn't have as an intense underpainting and it shows with the misty look you got in the final painting. I like the look.


03-05-2010, 02:19 PM
Jen, congratulations on not blending your hay bales! They are gorgeous without it, your self discipline made the painting shine. I love the texture overall and the beautiful depth and color. Your autumn tree looks a lot more impressionistic and has a lively gaiety to it, that sings with its high chroma, light balance and would cheer up any room it hung in. Both of them are beautiful and such different styles!

Terri, your distant hills roll away into the mist so lovely. That scene is so peaceful and relaxing, the underpainting really worked on it. Gorgeous.

Chatfieldstudios, wow! Your hay bales scene is delightful. I love the golden tones in the hay and the field, that gives it all so much warmth that I can feel the weather. It's magnificent.

I love seeing the way different equally good artists take on the same references. I've done only one so far, but I'm warming up to the next one and at least found the bottle of alcohol so that I can try Paula's technique. Of course I might combine it with Charlie's and use the alcohol wash for Stage One...

Paula Ford
03-05-2010, 02:28 PM
WOW Terri! You're on a roll!! Wonderful underpaintings and finished pieces!

Cindy, Your hay bales painting is so beautiful!

Jen, Your hay bales turned out gorgeous! I love the bold colors of the fall tree. Beautiful work!

03-05-2010, 08:01 PM
Thank you all who commented on my "Hay Bales". I appreciate it soooooo much, and I would like to thank Paula and those responsible for the Spotlight thread. I have had such fun and learned how to do a water wash underpainting which I had never tried before.

I have had such good response to my version of "Hay Bales" besides here on WC...more than any other work I've done....I think it's the underpainting that helped me finish quickly and have such a great experience!

I'm tackling the "Barn" next....so here are 3 pics...
#1 Blocking in the large shapes
#2 Water applied and dried underpainting
#3 Work in Progress so far. I'm working from back to front mostly...and am in the midground right now.

9 x 14" on Eggplant Colourfix...

03-05-2010, 11:01 PM
Here is my attempt. :lol:

Art Advantage Gouache underpainting


Pan pastel
General's Pastel Chalk Pencils
Cretacolor Hard Pastel Carre sticks
Canson 120 lb watercolor paper, hot press 9x12 inch half page

Not a surface for pastel but it's not too slippery either.


Thank you, Paula, Don, for the great references. Next time, I should use Stonehenge 90 lbs or the indestructible Strathmore Gray Scale paper. :lol:

03-05-2010, 11:24 PM
Chatfieldstudios, wow. I love how your barn is going. The underpainting looks almost like the scene is in the rain, it's so cool, then with what you're doing next it's drying out again and turning lovely. Can't wait to see the finish.

Sandra, that really worked! Great underpainting with the gouache and pasteling over it, looks like you were able to preserve enough tooth. Did you ever get the clear Colourfix primer? It helps a lot for something like that.

Another thing you can do that people have mentioned for Canson Mi-Tientes is to take fine grit sandpaper and gently sand the surface of the paper before pasteling. I don't know what that'd do to the underpainting, probably make it turn into blotter paper with soft edges, but it would help hold the pastel tooth.

Your smooth blue shaded sky is great, that looks like it was Pans, and I like how you did the tree with a combination of the linear pastel pencil strokes, the Pans painterly strokes and what looks like side of stick swashes. Great job!

03-06-2010, 01:47 AM
Looks like you will have another good one Chatfields. The underpainting certainly adds a lot to the depth of the painting. I'm looking forward to seeing your finished work. I am really enjoying this thread too it is fun. I may have a go at the barns next. Jen

Thanks everyone for your encouragement. All of you have made me want to go out and paint, paint, pain!Jen

03-06-2010, 02:25 AM
Wow, Vivienne and Robert- what a transformation the pastels have made to haur underpaintings- gorgeous work, both of you!

03-06-2010, 02:31 AM
Condy- I love your work, esp the hay bales...it is just a gorgeous picture- I love it!

03-06-2010, 02:32 AM
That should be 'Cindy'- I can spell- it's the typing I'm not good at! Sorry.

Mary Y
03-06-2010, 06:24 AM
Hi Paula, So many lovely paintings in this thread.

Dak Lovely misty trees .

Judi nice tree.I am enjoying watching your trees progress.

Terri great hay bales and lovely misty trees. I like how Dak and yourself have painted the nearest trees.

Cindy I love your hay bales .

Jen nice hay bales and lovely colours in your tree.

Sandra your tree glows against the blue sky ,very nice.

I hope I haven't forgotten anyone .

I tried the barn . My underpainting was a rather pale watercolour I should have used more pigment, on white colourfix paper.


Mary C&Cs welcome.

Mary Y
03-06-2010, 06:26 AM
the painting did not load.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Mar-2010/100777-Slight.JPG

03-06-2010, 08:43 AM
Mary, for all that the underpainting was pale, the painting turned out great. I love the detail on the old barn, you really kept the focus on the focal point. Great textures in the trees and lovely atmospheric recession on those mountains. Cool foreground texture too.

03-06-2010, 09:27 AM
Mary, what a lovely painting...the barn is really well done...I'm taking notes on how you painted it!:wink2:
the painting did not load.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Mar-2010/100777-Slight.JPG

03-06-2010, 01:03 PM
Mary you did a great job with the misty hils and the old rusty barn and I love the light sunny day you captured. Hope I can do as well.
My water colour came out pale too but it still worked. Just having some kind of underpainting seems to make a huge difference. I certainly learned something with this thread. Jen

03-06-2010, 05:22 PM
Terri...Wow...those turned out great!
Cindy...beautifully done...love your haybales...and the colors in the tree line...
Mary...that is gorgeous!
Sandra...nice vibrant tree!

finished mine today, but not real satisfied with it.

underpainting...alcohol wash on watercolor paper. Have to find the right brush for the alcohol brushwork...
and here is the finished one....


03-06-2010, 06:08 PM
Judi, I think it turned out pretty cool. You've got some nice atmospheric recession going, the linear details on the bales are good, the textures in the foreground rock... it's loose and maybe that's why you don't like it, but I like how it came out. This is excellent.

03-06-2010, 06:57 PM
Judi, nice job on the Hay Bales painting...my favorite part is how you painted the hay bales...love the line and feel of them. Nice job.

Paula Ford
03-06-2010, 08:12 PM
Mary, Your painting really turned out great! It's got that summer heat and haze look to it!

Judi, Wonderful piece! I use just a flat, square synthetic brush when doing an alcohol wash. What kind did you use?

03-06-2010, 08:12 PM
These photos are amazing! My hubby and I have been thinking on moving to Tennessee, maybe the landscape with convince him! LOL

I too have never done a wet under painting before. The work so far: Vivien, Robert and Don, and everyone else are AMAZING! :clap: :clap: :clap:

I was wondering can you use the alcohol technique on regular mi tientes, or can you use only watercolor paper for this technique. Anyone has a link handily on how to work with the alcohol? What are the best papers to use? I am really not a fan of watercolor paper.

I am really a rookie at this but would like to try. I might do only one since I am taking a class and doing a series of oil paintings.

03-06-2010, 08:43 PM
Thanks Robert

Paula Ford
03-06-2010, 08:54 PM
Hi Maria, Please join in! Tennessee is a gorgeous place with mountains everywhere.

I don't use Canson or watercolor paper, but do use Ampersand pastelbord, Uart (all grits) and Wallis paper. They are wonderful to use for wet underpaintings.

03-06-2010, 09:17 PM
Hi Maria, Please join in! Tennessee is a gorgeous place with mountains everywhere.

I don't use Canson or watercolor paper, but do use Ampersand pastelbord, Uart (all grits) and Wallis paper. They are wonderful to use for wet underpaintings.

Thank you Paula!

We live in Texas and we love our state. I never thought I would contemplate moving away, but is true the land is so flat, and we are so far from everything! So maybe for the next summer we want to buy some acreage and have a more peaceful life!!!

Thanks for the paper information :heart:

Paula Ford
03-06-2010, 09:31 PM
What a small world. We moved here from Abilene, Texas. You're right, it is so far away from everything! My husband is from Denver and I am from Upstate New York... both mountain people. Tennessee feels so much more like home. We live the simple life on top of a mountain in a log home with our kitties. Life is definately good. I wish that for you too!!!

Thank you Paula!

We live in Texas and we love our state. I never thought I would contemplate moving away, but is true the land is so flat, and we are so far from everything! So maybe for the next summer we want to buy some acreage and have a more peaceful life!!!

Thanks for the paper information :heart:

03-06-2010, 10:12 PM
Judi Your haybales look great and you kept it loose so it has a lot of life.

I tried to not blend and keep it loose but I was tight today and it didn't flow so well. I did the pastel and turpintine wash again but messed up the barn. Should have just laid down colour and then done a line drawing I think. Anyway here is mine Jen
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Mar-2010/216461-IMG_3181_Medium.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Mar-2010/216461-IMG_3182_Medium.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Mar-2010/216461-IMG_3191_Medium.jpg
I have a question would underpainting like this work with portraits?

03-06-2010, 11:15 PM
[quote=Paula Ford]What a small world. We moved here from Abilene, Texas quote]

OMG Abilene is close to where we are!

Paula Ford
03-06-2010, 11:52 PM
Jen, That doesn't look tight at all! It's a beautiful piece!!

Mary Y
03-07-2010, 01:33 AM
Robert,Cindy,Jen, Judi and Paula.
Thank you all for your kind comments.

Judi, Lovely hay bales and I like your clouds

Maria, loking forward to seeing what you paint..

Jen, Very nice barn and I like how you did the foreground it looks natural . I always get stuck
trying to copy the picture.


03-07-2010, 06:55 AM
turpentine....that turned out gorgeous!
Paula....I used an old brush with too stiff bristles, I think. I need to get a softer smoother one. Does the alcohol ruin the synthetics, I guess I'm afraid of ruining a good brush...

Thank you, all, for your kind comments on my hay bales. the watercolor paper did curl up on me....wont do that again...
But isnt it wonderful what gorgeous results come from what looks like chaos...! It never ceases to amaze me....

03-07-2010, 09:19 AM
Jen, that is so gorgeous! Nothing wrong with your underpainting, it obviously worked in a spectacular way! The foreground textures are gorgeous, it's something I want to try on a landscape the way you used broken color getting that grass to look natural. The barn's great and nothing looks too tight.

03-07-2010, 12:08 PM
Thanks Paula, Mary, Judi, Robert. I did feel I was fidling a bit on this one and didn't think I was as free with the pastel as with the other two. Robert the foreground was easy I just took short pieces of new pastel and laid them on edge horizontally and pulled up. Most of it is the red from the underpainting. It's a bit like taking fan brush with oils and pulling up to make grass.
This has been a helpful and fun experience for me I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else does. I do wonder if doing an underpainting on portraits would work like this any comments? Jen

03-07-2010, 12:44 PM
This was a scary one for me. I've never done underpainting of any sort, except maybe painting over a painting that I'd tried to scrub off.

the underpainting - watercolor on Ampersand board

painting, Girault, Schmincke and Sennelier

03-07-2010, 01:51 PM
Wow! Chuas, your underpainting worked so well! I love the simple bands you used and the way you developed them into such a lovely treatment of the barn! The golden flowers seem to float on the tall plants in the field, they look so natural, that floating look is real! The patches of them are so natural too. The building's incredible, love the shadows and the light. Great atmospheric recession too.

03-07-2010, 05:36 PM
Thanks Robert, as you know landscape strikes fear into my heart, but I'm determined to keep "workin it," as Pete said. So even if there's one successful element in each of my attempts, that's one more than I had yesterday.

The underpainting turned out to be surprisingly fun. The one I'm NOT having much fun with is watercolor on Arches 140lb and a coat of clear Colourfix primer. Paper buckled like crazy. I have it taped down, but it doesn't look like it's going to flatten out...:-(

03-07-2010, 06:01 PM
Here is my finish of the barn....9 x 14" on Colourfix (Eggplant color) with water for the underpainting.

03-07-2010, 06:09 PM
Cindy, that's a magnificent finish! I love the soft feeling in your portrayal, that sense of peaceful contemplation. The old barn is a gorgeous focal point with the trees around it and everything else fades into a gorgeous distance.

03-07-2010, 06:24 PM
Here is my attempt at the hay bales. I changed the composition a lot. This is 6 x 9 on wallis paper, Girualts, NuPastels, Terry Ludwig and some pencils. I left the mountains out bacially becasue I ran out of room. I didn't like the fence row so I left it out and attempted to do standing hay. I wanted to keep the haybales warm so I used red. I used a alcholo wash on all of it. C and C most welcomed, thanks for looking, james.

03-07-2010, 06:27 PM
Cindy, that's a magnificent finish! I love the soft feeling in your portrayal, that sense of peaceful contemplation. The old barn is a gorgeous focal point with the trees around it and everything else fades into a gorgeous distance.

Thanks so much Robert! I just love this thread and the challenge that was presented this month. I'm trying another ref from the Image Lib of red rocks...I've just loved doing the landscapes...such a nice switch from the still life paintings. Looking forward to doing some plein aire painting soon.

03-07-2010, 06:28 PM
Here is my attempt at the hay bales. I changed the composition a lot. This is 6 x 9 on wallis paper, Girualts, NuPastels, Terry Ludwig and some pencils. I left the mountains out bacially becasue I ran out of room. I didn't like the fence row so I left it out and attempted to do standing hay. I wanted to keep the haybales warm so I used red. I used a alcholo wash on all of it. C and C most welcomed, thanks for looking, james.

Very nice James...I love the warmth that you created with the bright orange underpainting!!! And you've edited the subject matter down nicely.

Kathryn Wilson
03-07-2010, 07:24 PM
I'm seeing some wonderful results here - underpainting rocks! I know that when I started to do underpaintings, my pastels really advanced onto another level.

Cindy - I am curious as to why you chose to do an underpainting on a surface that was already toned?

03-07-2010, 07:45 PM
I'm seeing some wonderful results here - underpainting rocks! I know that when I started to do underpaintings, my pastels really advanced onto another level.

Cindy - I am curious as to why you chose to do an underpainting on a surface that was already toned?

Gosh Kathryn, I hadn't even thought about that...but the thing I did notice is I like the surface of the paper much more when it has the pigment mooshed in more than a bare surface. Maybe I'm working up to working on white!!!:wave:

03-07-2010, 09:38 PM
ChausWonderful bright sunny pianting, The Barn is a sparkling centre point. Great job. Jen

03-07-2010, 09:42 PM
[Cindy I love the feeling of quiet permanence and softness you have in this painting. Wonderful job.

James Love the vibrant haybales painting it's sunny and warm. I like the changes and how you made the hay stand up. Jen

03-07-2010, 10:08 PM
ChausWonderful bright sunny pianting, The Barn is a sparkling centre point. Great job. Jen

Thank you so much Jen! Very much appreciated!

Mary Y
03-08-2010, 08:47 AM
I like the colourful bands you used in your underpainting.
Your painting is great I really love the barn and foreground.
(as well as the hill, trees and sky)

Another lovely hazy painting. I like how you do your trees .Looking forward to seeing more landscapes from you.

James, I like how you changed the photograph and made the painting your own.

03-08-2010, 08:50 AM
Everyone's work is really Great! Love the barn Cindy. thanks for the encouragements. james

03-08-2010, 12:01 PM
Chuas, Cindy, James, beautiful pieces! :clap:

Vivien Maloney
03-08-2010, 12:40 PM
Jen; love your bright underpainting

Chuas; your bands of colour in the underpainting work very well

grandad; like your crop

All the finished painting are beautiful and they all show the influence of the underpaintings. Very interesting and informative to see how the underpaintings affect the final result.

03-08-2010, 01:59 PM
Another great Spotlight challenge! Thanks for the photos, Paula :).

I was only able to get on WC and read anything yesterday, I think, due to limited access to computer/internet since last weekend. Everyone has been really busy here :thumbsup: ! Too many posts to comment individually on, but it's been really interesting to see how everyone has approached their underpainting and then the finished painting results.

I've done underpaintings a few times, mostly in black and white, using an alcohol wash. So, this was a good excuse to give a colored one a try.

I loved the old barn photo, and it also gave me some practice on both aerial/atmospheric perspective and doing buildings and more trees. Nothing like a painting that employes a lot of greens to make you realize the limitations of your existing palette, that's for sure! Next $$ I have, I'm getting a set of those Ludwig greens :D .

I recently started using the spendy Colourfix paper I bought a while back, and that's what I used for this. Not sure of the exact color; it's a medium light blue. I was also hoping the underpainting might fill up some of the really unpleasant texture of this paper [I don't like this stuff *at all*], so the paper color wasn't important since it was all being covered up.

I did a placement sketch of the elements in white Conte pastel pencil, then used colors that were probably one darker than the value scale to block in the main shapes. I used rubbing alcohol for the wash.

Pastels: sky and roof of barn: MV. Greens: Unison, Senn, and NuPastels.

Results: because of the unpleasant (to me, anyway) texture of this paper, I had to spend a lot of time blending so the pastel was forced into the paper instead of just riding on the pebbly surface. I also had to go back in and darken the areas, which wasn't that easy, either.

Overall, I guess it turned out okay, but I was fighting the paper the entire time. Despite my best efforts, I see that the vertical line on the barn isn't perfectly vertical...d'oh! This paper is the pits for trying to add fine detail (like the barn line) at the end, so it looks a bit messy, as do the tree trunks.

I put both pics on a single image to simplify things.

C&C welcome for future paintings, 'cause I ain't touchin' this baby anymore; I was baked after dealing with the paper last night :lol: !

03-08-2010, 02:32 PM
Wow, I missed the thread for a couple days and there are too many masterpieces to comment on!

I just dug out my old watercolors and hope to tackle the barn painting next. But after seeing all the great renditions of that painting so far, I am intimidated! Mary, your version is great! The background mountain color is perfect! Cindy, Jen and Sonya, your versions are wonderful, too! And Chuas - Wow! Your underpainting is very interesting and how you turned it into that excellent painting is beyond me!

Great work everyone else, too!!


03-08-2010, 04:14 PM
Thank you Mary, Maria, Vivien and Don! I'm going to try another underpainting, and maybe a bolder one :eek: .

Everyone is doing a great job with this challenge. Seems the WC Dusties rise to ANY occasion! woo hoo!!

03-08-2010, 04:37 PM
WOW, miss checking in for a couple of days and the thread explodes. Well done everyone. If I missed some paintings, I apologize. I haven't figured out how to look at different pages while still writing on the same reply.

Cindy, your paintings are so soft and lovely. Well done.

Chaus, I quite like your painting, it has a great feel to it. As for your buckled paper, try wetting it again and then taping it while it is still damp.

Judi, your painting works well with receding properly. The crop is nice. My only suggestion would have been to vary the height of the trees to give a bit more interest. Other than that little nit pick, it's a lovely painting.

MaryY, nicely done.

Jen, why not use a under painting for portraits. There is no rule that says you can't. Give it a try, I think I'll give that a go once I clear some other artistic endeavors off my plate.

James, nice warm feel to your painting. I would make the same suggestion as I gave Judi to vary your tree heights a little bit.

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

03-08-2010, 04:47 PM
You might have struggled with the paper Sonya, but the end results was Great!. Love the barn, great atmosphere. james

03-08-2010, 06:59 PM
Sonya I love your colours and the barn and trees are solidly there and could withstand time. Great atmosphere even if you did have to fight the paper to do it.Jen

03-08-2010, 07:14 PM
Sonya, for all that you don't like the Colourfix it came out wonderful! I love the finish. You might like PastelMat better, or something else with a finer grain. I love the Colourfix but everyone's got their favorites.

Paula Ford
03-08-2010, 07:57 PM
Chuas, Beautiful piece! Very unique underpainting.

Cindy, WOW!

James, I love how you created a bright sunny day! Love the hay bales.

Sonja, I absolutely love that summer glow! It looks hot and muggy, but sunny and bright. Beautiful colors!

03-09-2010, 11:07 AM
Thank you Don, James, Jen, Robert and Paula for your comments :)

Robert - I'm definitely going to try the UArt and Pastelmat for my next spendy paper purchases. The surface of the Colourfix felt fine when I ran my fingers over it in the store, and maybe it was just a bad/old batch I got. I seem to have the same issues with it that someone in another thread was complaining about with his recent purchase of Wallis, where the pastel sort of "gummed up" on the top layer. That's the best way I can describe it.

03-09-2010, 11:16 AM
Sonya...love your version of the barn. Nice cropping and a good sense of place.:thumbsup:

03-09-2010, 06:58 PM
Ok, I'm a ditz and can only use the excuse I've been away for a while..should have looked that supposed to post painting in here:rolleyes:
Watercolor underpainting in green so far and the sky and mts worked on.

03-09-2010, 07:25 PM
WOW! Looks as though some folks have been very busy. Just got back to this thread and figured I would jump in having tossed this idea around in my head for over a week now. Lots of nice works here.
Chatfield artist: your hay bale scene is what I normally see if I close my left eye! Made me feel right at home.
So here is what I did. Maybe not done proper but I thought I would not only use a watercolor backwash but try a mixed painting with watercolor/pastels. I washed the foliage with watercolor and the road and leafy areas along the road were done washing water over pastel. I used UArt #400 sanded paper mounted to foam core, 17" X 11". I applied the watercolor in layers, light to dark and allowing time in between layers to dry. When I came back with the pastel I left some of the watercolor alone allowing for gaps/sky to show through as well as a fine detail of leaves. As things progressed I envisioned a little road coming off the right hand side and added it to the painting. I am not sure if I am done with this or not. I am going to look it over tonight and see if my other vision seems fitting.

Paula Ford
03-09-2010, 09:06 PM
Wonderful Marcus!! I love how you did the leafy areas on the road. Those greens are just gorgeous too!

03-09-2010, 10:00 PM
Tressa, this is great so far. I love those mountains and the sky.

Marcus, wow! Gorgeous combination of underpainting and painting. I like the little road off to the side, reminds me of some places I've been.

03-09-2010, 11:29 PM
Wow, everyone is doing such wonderful work! I did an underpainting in pastels and then wet it with water. I used brushes but did some blotting with a paper towel and got some good texture. Here's the underpainting and finished painting. After seeing the one Marcus did, I'm reluctant to post this, but it's my 2nd landscape, so I guess I'll be brave! :D

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Mar-2010/66934-WCMarch2010ChallengeUPWeb.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Mar-2010/66934-WCMarch2010ChallengeWEB.jpg

03-10-2010, 01:04 AM
Looking good, Deb! I like your textures. The pastel and water underpainting really worked, and the loose strokes afterward make it so lively.

03-10-2010, 05:59 AM
Gorgeous work, everyone! I'm too busy putting a show together, but I might slip in at the last minute!

Jen, did anyone every reply? Yes, you can do a wet underpainting for portraits too, for anything!


Mary Brigid
03-10-2010, 01:00 PM
Super photos Paula and this is a great thread Don. Thank you. I have enjoyed looking at all the underpaintings and the final finishes of the paintings. Well done to you all.... and I will be back to see more..
Mary Brigid

03-10-2010, 02:57 PM
Marcus, yours is breathtaking. Deb9654 I love your line workand perspective!

Ok. So here is my try at this. I was weary of posting because they look awful!:o

I think I have mentioned before I hate working on watercolor paper, but I ended up doing that because I do not have any other paper where I could do an under panting, and truthfully I did not want to go and spend on it, since the only pastels I have been doing are the spotlights every month.

Having said that, I could put another coat on mine and try to fix it some if anyone here can give me some pointers? :heart: Looking at it I think that if I work at the trees and the greenery in general it could look better, but I am at a loss as to where to start. I have only been doing this for 6 months of less, so I am in the learning face. I did spray it with workable fixable, so I guess it would be ok. I also washed my hands while going through it, and I stained my work in the mountain line. :eek:

The one in the bottom is the underpainting with watercolors.

03-10-2010, 06:56 PM
I wanted to try this, I've only done one pastel before with an underpainting with alcohol, and it was a still life. I started the beautiful tree, by the sea 1-1/2 weeks ago. I didn't see that we were supposed to photograph the underpainting, sry,:o till I came on this time. so I only have the final. I did an underpainting with varous pastels on 11" x 14" velour, then use rubbing alcohol to blend, I just love this technique! Then added the layers. You all have some really great paintings, :clap: :clap: I've never tried watercolors first, really cool technique. C/C and comments welcome.
I may try the barn, with watercolors first. What paper did you all use? Would watercolors work on sanded paper or velour? I'll also be sure to photograph my underpainting.

03-10-2010, 07:44 PM
Just FYI, I started a new piece (not one of the challenge photos) and used Wallis sanded paper with a watercolor wash. The paper buckled badly, but I after the front was dry I painted clear water on the BACK of the paper and pressed it between two pieces of foam core and let it dry. It's soooooo nice and flat now.

03-10-2010, 08:01 PM
CharlieThanks for answering. I was just curious how it would work on a face. Will have to try it.
Tressa. You have made a great start. Love all those cool colours in the mountains.
]Mollerman. Like what you did with the underpainting as it made an awsome painting. I love the greens.
DebKeep it up, the trees look great.
Sunface Looks good you just need some more contrast in the trees and forground.
Tvandeb Great colours and marking.
Phew I think that is everyone! Jen

Paula Ford
03-11-2010, 10:47 AM
Deb, You achieved some great texture in your painting!

Maria, Beautiful work... both the underpainting, which looks like a finished piece, and the painting!

Tammy, I had no idea that velour would take a wet underpainting. Great piece!

03-11-2010, 11:28 AM
Maria, your barn is nice. So soft and serene, it's a sweet landscape. Like your underpainting, it's good and strong.

My main suggestion would be to add some texturing strokes to the barn, the trees right by the barn and maybe the foreground area. Especially the barn and the trees right by it since those are the focal point. It's lovely as is, but the textures still look very smooth and blended. A contrasting, fresh, scumbled texture would draw even more interest to that great barn. You really got the perspective right on it!

Tammy, that worked so well! Thanks for your daring experiment of wet effects on velour. I have some and now I'll want to try it sometime. Gorgeous version of the fiery autumn tree. I like the way you did the waves too.

Watercolors do work on some sanded paper. Museum Wallis will stand up to wet effects well and even stand up to the whole painting being hosed off so you can reuse the paper. It's expensive but can be reused up to six or seven times according to Deborah Secor. Colourfix sanded paper stands up well to washes and of course for frugality, the clear Colourfix primer rocks.

You can do the underpainting on watercolor paper, put two or three thin coats of clear Colourfix primer and still see it so well. That's what I did on mine, hot press watercolor paper, underpainting in watercolor, then Colourfix primer in clear so I could see it but still have the sanded surface. Because I've got that primer I haven't experimented much with watercolor on other sanded papers.

Do not try water washes on Sennelier La Carte, that will wash the coating right off and ruin it. Don't even sneeze on it. If you haven't read any of the threads this gets mentioned, there it is, do not use water on La Carte!

However, any other sanded papers, you might as well test it on a scrap and see what happens. I didn't know you could use watercolor on velour!

03-11-2010, 12:03 PM
Paula: Thanks. I tried using alcohol with pastel on velour after I saw you 30 in 30 series, tried it on a small swatch first, amazed it worked so well. You just have to tape the edges down so they don't curl up. Had a question though what paper do you use with the alcohol underpainting? Just wondering what other papers I can use doing this technique. Thanks.:)
Robert; I haven't tried watercolor on velour yet, may do the same thing I did when I first tried the alcohol, using a small swatch to see if it'll take it. I really like the velour, it can take layers and layers of pastel. I've heard that pastalmat does the same thing, going to have to get me some of that paper. I don't think I have any wallis, I do have Uart, and colourfix paper, and some rough watercolor paper. Where did you get the clear pastel primer at? I have only seen the colored ones around here. Thanks as always for all the useful tips on paper too. I checked out your tutorials on e-how, going to have to try some of the techniques you showed. :)

Paula Ford
03-11-2010, 12:07 PM
Deb, I usually use Ampersand Pastelbord, Uart, and Wallis.

03-11-2010, 01:04 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Mar-2010/159973-Underpainting002.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Mar-2010/159973-Hay_Bails-IMG_1084.jpg Hi everyone, great work by all, I'm impressed. I'm posting my version of the Tennessee Hay Bails ref. This is the process I followed: Using tracing paper I work on the composition and make a final pencil line drawing that I transfer to the Wallis paper on my Light Table, then I work on the underpainting using complement colors to the pallet I select for the painting, and the result: 9x12 pastel on Wallis.

03-11-2010, 02:36 PM
Paula, sorry I forgot to mention that I used odorless mineral spirits (Gansol) for the underpainting which I prefer over alcohol because spreads the color more evenly. I use this method for all my pastel paintings.

03-11-2010, 04:18 PM
Jose, that is magnificent! I love how you rearranged the bales, your composition's so dramatic. Wonderful painting. Amazingly bold underpainting too, it's so cool you used that dark under the hay bales.

03-11-2010, 04:47 PM
Here is a update. Mid and foreground, alcohol and pastel washes.
I used the purples to accent the yellow earth tones that will be applied later. Fair pic, but light is not as good now.

03-11-2010, 04:48 PM
Very nice painting, Jose. Definitely going to have to try pastels with alcohol (just because I have that already) for an underpainting.

03-11-2010, 07:30 PM
Terri, Robert, thank you for your nice comments.
Tressa, your underpainting is awesome, looking forward to see the final painting.

I have always done a wet underpainting using mineral spirits or alcohol on Wallis sanded paper dried mounted on foam board or mat board as support, I used to use photo mounting sheets applied with heat, but this system is very expensive so instead I apply a thin coat of rubber cement on each and put them together when they're dried (I learned this from Albert Handell) the paper will not curl up even if you use WC wash. I do the mounting after the final drawing has been transfered, then I apply the underpainting. Hope this help a little.

03-11-2010, 08:37 PM
Tressa, that's a gorgeous underpainting. The colors are so rich, I can't wait to see the finish. Beautiful.

03-12-2010, 10:23 AM
Very nice painting Jose. I will have to try the minerial spirit wash some day. It looks interesting as a underpainting wash. Does it dry fast?

Nice underpainting Tressa, can't wait to see the final. james

03-12-2010, 12:29 PM
Very nice painting Jose. I will have to try the minerial spirit wash some day. It looks interesting as a underpainting wash. Does it dry fast?

Nice underpainting Tressa, can't wait to see the final. james

Hi James, thanks for looking at my work. The mineral spirits dry fast but not as fast as alcohol, I would say that you have to wait one or two hours before applying pastel, but the final results are much better because the pastel adheres to the paper much better than with alcohol; I normally prepare two or three paintings at one time and let them stand overnight. If you decide to drymount the paper on a board make sure the board is at least one inch wider than the painting, then set the painting in the center and you'll have an inch border all around, a 9x12 painting requires 11x14 board. When I do work in plein air then I use alcohol or a moist towel with water in the shade. I have used watercolor before but it had been a disaster. I use the same method of underpainting when working in Oil Pastel. Hope this helps.

03-12-2010, 06:38 PM
Jose What a wonderful, vibrant painting. Love those blue mountains and the underpainting is as creative as the finished painting. Great job. Jen

Tressa- the colours are great rich and bold. Looking forward to the rest of your post. Jen

03-13-2010, 02:53 PM
Hi Everybody!

Here's my attempt at a watercolor underpainting. Thanks to Paula for the wonderful photo - and the inspiration her beautiful landscapes provide us!

Perhaps the ugliest watercolor underpainting ever done, but it did an adequate job in the end! On Pastelmat, light gray, approx. 11'x 15", Mt. Visions and Giraults.



Comments welcome!


03-13-2010, 03:26 PM
Paula, thanks for a great challenge for March --not sure I would've tried this without a push. Great references hard to decide between them.

Fantastic work for everyone -- just amazing to see how the underpainting influences the final painting. Too many for me to comment on all but I've enjoyed each one.

I created a gallery of my attempts, with underpainting below each work
Top row -- 1: no underpainting, pastel on mi-tientes, 2 & 3 w/c under painting, on w/c paper treated with golden pastel ground. 4 is inkwash
Bottom row: 1 - I started with a pastel then water wash -- it was really dark. Only used blue and orange pastels. forgot to take a pic of the underpainting -- it looked awful I thought it would never work.

Thanks for looking, c&c welcome and appreciated.


03-13-2010, 05:09 PM
Just took the time to go thru them all again -- really fun to see how everyone worked the challenge --

Robert -- the colors on the tree are wonderful and the contrast on the foliage -- great trees.

Terri - Really like the way you painted the trees

Cindy- very impressionistic, very cool

Mary - your barn looks very rustic, wonderful light overall

Turpintine - ALL of yours are great - love the bright colors peeking thru

Sonya - very peaceful, good depth

Marcus - love the light - and the finish on the trail/path

Jose - wow what a change - great color

Tressa -- great job on yours, love the light behind the mountains/clouds

Don - forest has good depth, really like the grass and trees

Paula, thanks again - great challenge

Paula Ford
03-13-2010, 05:41 PM
Jose, excellent way to do the underpainting (so bold!) and your painting turned out so beautiful and bold!

Don, WOW!! Fabulous painting! Your underpainting is certainly NOT the ugliest :lol: because you haven't seen mine yet! :D

Nancy, Thank you so much for providing all your steps for both of your paintings! Excellent!

03-13-2010, 06:34 PM
Paula, Nancy, Jen, Tressa:
Thank you for taking the time to look at my painting, it was a learning experience although intend to do some final touches, primarily in the foreground grasses.

Love your painting, great!

03-13-2010, 07:49 PM
Beginner here (obviously :rolleyes: ) and I'm embarrassed to post this after so many gorgeous works, but I really wanted to give this a try (thanks, Robert, for pointing the way). I'm at a serious disadvantage at the moment because I don't have any real pastel paper...using some odd papers I've got around. This is my second try on what I think is a piece of watercolor paper. The sky was done with mineral spirits (wouldn't even move the pastel around) and the rest with water. I wanted to give it just a hint of a more western feel, so I put in the red underpainting to warm it up and squared off the mountains just a bit. All practice is good practice!
475674 475676

Paula Ford
03-13-2010, 07:59 PM
Wonderful job Susan! I love the red underpainting you did. Your piece is lovely and you should NEVER be embarrassed to show your work here!!

03-13-2010, 09:02 PM

This is very nice! The hay bales are especially well done! Glad you posted!


03-13-2010, 10:41 PM
Don, your underpainting isn't that ugly -- for an underpainting. It gets the job done and the painting came out great!

Nancy, thank you for showing your different attempts with different underpaintings. They all came out interesting and I can see the progression through them, it's very cool. That first one isn't too bad even without an underpainting, they are all interesting.

Susan, yours is so lively and dramatic! I really like it.

Hopefully I can start my hay bales tomorrow, I got a bit ahead on the Derwent pencils things so if the weather is decent, I'm off to try alcohol underpainting.

03-14-2010, 04:18 PM
I turned out very well with the colors you selected for the underpainting. Would you please clarify your statement on using mineral spirits, what do you mean by saying " it doesn't move the pastel around" ?

03-14-2010, 05:08 PM
Hello everyone:
Here is another that I think is finished or maybe not what do you think? I made few changes to the composition and it came out looking like a Dairy Farm. It is a 9x12 on Wallis. C&C most welcome.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2010/159973-Underpainting001.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2010/159973-Dairy_Farm.jpg

03-14-2010, 05:25 PM
Jose, I love this! Combining two of the references and adding the cows really worked. The dairy farm painting is a smash. I really like the variety of their poses and the sense that everything is real, everything's integrated into the landscape. Looks like the hay may not last very long though!

I got started on the painting! About the same size, I marked off 8" x 10" and tried the Richeson sanded paper that Kathryn Wilson sent me. I like it. I really like the harsh fierce tooth of this paper, it's like Wallis a bit. Much more jagged on the fingers, but it does pull the pastel in deep. I have no doubts about how much I can layer on it to finish.

It also stood up well to the alcohol wash for the underpainting. So here's my underpainting, first the dry sketch and then with alcohol on it.

"Hay There" underpainting dry, Color Conte on Richeson sanded paper.

Same underpainting with 91% rubbing alcohol washed over it. Wow! I really didn't have to put nearly as much pastel as I would've if I were going to just smudge it in dry, the alcohol spread it out well.

I used stage one of Charlie's method for my color choices for the underpainting. I figure it's all pastels anyway and I can do stage two dry, then keep going with ever softer pastels on it. I'll probably use color Conte or Richeson pastels on the next layer, then switch to Art Spectrum or Mount Visions.

It's also a bit of a double challenge. Deborah Secor dared me to try to do a painting with all my greens done by scumbling non-greens over each other, so I'm going to try it with this one. I hope it works. This painting is almost all greens so if it works it'll rock.

If not, I'll add some greens and try again on something a little less crazy in the underpainting to do the "no green sticks" thing. I will save it if it needs true greens to save it, not going to just wreck something like this. But it should work. It worked for Deborah, right? I just don't know if it can be combined with also doing Charlie's method.

Suggestions, Charlie?

Oh wow.

Why do I get so surprised when something Deb and Charlie do works for me? This is my stage two, just modified the colors in my underpainting without doing variations in the masses yet. I softened some edges on the foliage though on purpose, knowing I'll fiddle even more with them in stage three.


I got some pretty good greens, even ones with orange in them. It's loose because from here I'll be doing variations within the masses and getting everything a lot more fine-tuned in terms of color. But these colors at least represent good chunks of area in the masses and I got it in just a layer or two of mixing. I'm happily surprised.

I did have to use a couple of browns where I needed dark yellow though, darker than yellow ochre.

03-14-2010, 06:10 PM
Susan, Great job on this, I relate on the paper issue -- I've been using wc paper with a pastel ground brushed on but I know a better pastel paper would help.

Jose -- I am just amazed by the beautiful colors you get, especially your sky -- your underpaintings are so bold but the finish is great. Nice editing on the pic, the cows are a great addition.

Robert - really looking forward to seeing this finish. Amazing how little pastel you need with a wash -- it really fills in the paper.


03-14-2010, 10:09 PM
A lot of beautiful entries. Here are two more attempts from me.

I put Golden Acrylic Ground on the small cereal boxes and put Art Advantage gouache all over it and then I put in Pan Pastels on the first one and a mix of Pan Pastels and SMi pastels on the second one.





03-14-2010, 11:21 PM
Sandra, both of these are great. I love the strong intense saturated colors in the first one. You have a hue recession going on with everything bluer in the distance and brighter, warmer in the foreground. The second one is a fiery autumn path with such lively intense colors. I like the curve to the road. Good contrasting textures between the underpaintings and the final versions.

Also a cool idea turning cereal boxes into practice paper with pastel ground! I guess I could cut up some of the boxes that supplies come in, though we don't eat cereal so it's been a long time since we had any cereal boxes.

Paula Ford
03-15-2010, 01:38 PM
Jose, Your bold underpaintings are just fabulous! They really make a difference in the final painting. Great!

Wow Robert! I just love how you explain everything. It is so interesting to hear (read) your thoughts. Excellent underpaintings and your use of bold colors.

Sandra, What a great idea about the cereal box! Now that is what I call artistic license! Great bold colors!

03-15-2010, 09:13 PM
Susan, love the bright colors that you've used -- especially the first one!

I just couldn't pass up that tree -- so here it is. about 8-10 in, wc paper treated with pastel ground. Pastel -- blended with water.

C&C welcome and appreciated.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Mar-2010/141858-DSC01174.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Mar-2010/141858-DSC01168.jpg

03-15-2010, 09:24 PM
Thank you, Robert, Paula, for your comments. I feel definitely a lot freer when I use materials that are not too expensive and draw with abandon. I have a lot of cereal boxes at home I could tap on with 3 kids around.

03-15-2010, 10:02 PM
Jose: Really like the bright underpaintings, and the final finish is stunning.
Don: The barn painting looks so realistic, I feel like I could just walk into it.
Nancy: I like the gallery and progress of your painting, very nice finish.
susan: I really like the details in the hay bales and light background that brings out the front of the painting.
Robert, really like the brightness in your underpaintings.
Sandra: Both are fantasic.
Nansketch: really like the softness of the final, really nice.

Here"s my underpainting with the barn with watercolor. Experimenting on some different paper, stonehenge rough side, hopefully it'll work out. Will work on it some more tomorrow, with the pastels next. :)

03-15-2010, 10:19 PM
Tammy, great underpainting! I think it's going to come out lovely.

Nancy, the underpainting is very subtle and the finish is gorgeous. I love the blue and orange complementary harmony, it's almost like you used those colors in everything in it. Wonderful version of the fiery autumn tree!

03-15-2010, 10:47 PM
Okay, so I finally tried a challenge! I'm not sure what I think about the final piece. I applied pasel over my sketch, washed it with alchohol, then used Mount Visions, Giraults, and Terry Ludwig Eggplant for the very darks. I'm not sure if my darks are too harsh - I was trying something new, and that Ludwig Eggplant is a new color that I hadn't used yet. I was looking for drama, but maybe I overdid it?:eek:

Thanks for looking and commenting.



03-16-2010, 03:13 AM
Dak I think your underpainting is fine and got the job done. Love the sunny field and soft hills.

NancyInteresting studies. It's good to see all the progress together.

SusanGreat job, The bright underpainting made a vibrant painting. Nothing to be embarassed about.

Jose Love your bright and brilliant interpretations.

RobertLove what you are doing the final has to be a master peice!

SandraInteresting moody painting. Great job.

NanLovely painting. Soft and calm

TammyGreat underpainting. Looking forward to the final.

ChrisLove how yours turned out. The colours and field are great. Jen

03-16-2010, 07:30 AM
My head is dizzy from all the nice paintings posted here! I've looked at each and every one, and I have enjoyed seeing how diverse they all are. Everyone has a different approach, which we can all learn from!

Jen, thanks for looking and commenting. I'm not sure I like my painting, but I did enjoy the process, and I learned a lot. I think I have a hard time painting landscapes from someone elses photos - even if the photos are really good, like these are. I'm going to keep on trying, though. Maybe a light bulb will go on!

I would like to thank everyone for sharing their process!

03-16-2010, 11:50 AM
Robert, Nancy, Paula, Tammy, Jen:

Thank you very much for your nice review this is very encouraging and keeps my enthusiasm for painting everyday.

Sandra: Your underpainting alone is a very good abstract expressionist work, mainly the second one.

Jan: Very good.

Chris: Yours is great!

03-16-2010, 12:39 PM
Oh WOW! I've just looked right through and there's some fabulous work on here. Too many for me to comment individually though.

I did an underpainting of the tree today which took me 5 minutes. I hope to do the rest tomorrow and will post both together.

03-16-2010, 02:32 PM
Update on my hay bales. Tressa

03-16-2010, 03:11 PM

Very nice so far! I can't wait to see those hay bales once you've started painting over the orange. They are going to sing! Nice sky too!

Paula Ford
03-16-2010, 06:58 PM
Beautiful tree Nan! I love the blue of the sky against the orange.

Chris, beautiful piece! I love the contrasts, so no, I don't think the darks are too dark!

Very bold piece Tres!

03-16-2010, 07:20 PM
Wow, so many beautiful paintings! I apologize for not having the time to comment on each one! These underpainting techniques are proving to be popular and successful!!


03-16-2010, 08:48 PM
Chris, your barn scene is beautiful -- soft, nice mood.

Tressa -- I love the colors!

Robert -- you are right -- on the tree- after the underpainting I only used blues and oranges. I started with a small set of the blick soft pastels, used a few darks and brights from my other sets -- but only blue or orange.

Paula, thanks for looking - great challenge -- seems like everyone learned something.


03-16-2010, 10:08 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments.

Jose, I almost didn't want to put soft pastels on my second underpainting because it looked almost like a painting on its own. It's alright. It's good practice. Your underpaintings surprises me when compared to the lovely end results.

03-16-2010, 10:38 PM
Jose, Thank You! I think you put more time into your underpainting than I did! Nice job!

Nancy, Thank You! You've got a nice tree study there!

03-17-2010, 01:23 AM
Chris, I love your barn painting. That came out so well. Your underpainting was very effective. I'm tempted to try that one too seeing yours.

Tressa, lovely update! Your hay bales are so searingly bright it's almost pop art at this stage. Are you going to keep them that bright or knock them down as you continue?

03-17-2010, 06:48 AM
Thanks for the comments everyone.
Robert, I will be toning just a bit, and tweaking, but did want a high color.
So, we shall see. A bit of a different slant.

03-17-2010, 02:02 PM
Well at last I can join you :clap: and I started with the Autumn tree as many of you did. Sorry I'm a bit behind.
This is on pastelmat with a pastel and water underpainting. I finished it off at my art group today.


03-17-2010, 02:09 PM

Very nice! The orange in the tree seems to glow! You've captured the sunlight!


Thank you! I hope you will try it. The photo is lovely, and a pleasure to work from. Often times I have difficulty painting from other people's photos, but I was able to work something out with this one. I'm looking forward to seeing your version!

03-17-2010, 04:43 PM
Chris, thanks!

Ruthie, wow! I love your version of the fiery autumn tree. Gorgeous foliage with such well modeled shadows and beautiful texture. I like what you did with the brush and the surf too. Beautiful painting.

I love seeing everyone's interpretations of these. I need to get back to my hay bales today, now that I've gotten my daily Derwents review done.

03-17-2010, 05:30 PM
Thank you Chris and Robert! Now which one shall I do next........

Paula Ford
03-17-2010, 05:51 PM
Gorgeous tree Ruthie!!

03-18-2010, 04:14 PM
Hi all....My name is Suzanne and this is my first post on WC, I live in Victoria BC and I've been painting with Pastels for about a year now and was so inspired by everyone's work in this month's Spotlight that I thought I'd finally give it a go and post something instead of just lurking and looking! I've been through a rather "non-productive spell" for the past 2 months & just seeing all your inspiring work got me all fired up but I've been going bonkers for most of the morning attempting to post images,learning curve is a bit steep I'm afraid but i'll keep trying!!!

03-18-2010, 04:28 PM
Hi Islandgurl. Do keep trying. Can't wait to see your contribution! Oh, make sure your photos aren't too big. The ideal size is no more than 800px either way. The uploader just won't work (in my experience) with big photos.

03-18-2010, 04:40 PM
Thanks, I've reduced my file sizes now I'm getting a message that I need 2 posts before I can post any images or URLs ...maybe the 3rd time will be the charm!

Paula Ford
03-18-2010, 04:45 PM
Hi Suzanne, Welcome! Can't wait to see your painting. Go post a couple of relies in some threads so you can upload your piece.

03-18-2010, 04:48 PM
Good grief it finally worked:clap:
Here's my underpainting (Alcohol Wash) This is the first time I've used an underpainting and I must say it saves time & pastels!!!


I worked on this for about 2hrs...I never know when to stop????
C&C Welcome!


03-18-2010, 05:09 PM
So glad you got it worked out! This is great. The underpainting is a work of art on it's own. The finished piece is lovely!

03-18-2010, 06:10 PM
Glad you were able to post finally, this was definitely worth waiting for, it's lovely. What pastels/paper did you use?

03-18-2010, 06:37 PM
Ruthie Thanks for your kind words, that underpainting caused a bit of a "value nightmare" at first ....went a wee bit dark in the midground!!I just threw on the color with wild abandon hoping for the best.

CarolThanks, I make my own surface by coating masonite boards with Fine Tooth Colorfix Primer,it's just seems easier than having to mount paper (cheaper too!) used a combo of Great Americans,Unison & Ludwig sticks on a 16X20 board.

03-18-2010, 08:20 PM

Welcome aboard! Nice underpainting, and nice pastel! Good job here! I look forward to seeing more of your work!

03-18-2010, 09:15 PM

Welcome to the group -- great job on this - the underpaintings have really been fun.


03-18-2010, 10:02 PM
Glad you got everything working it is a bit overwhelming at first. You have done great work, love all the colours in the hills so glad you had a problem! It all looks wonderful. Jen

03-18-2010, 10:03 PM
Suzanne, Welcome! What a beautiful painting! It looks like you stopped at exactly the right moment!


03-19-2010, 01:22 PM
Thanks for all the warm welcomes!
Thought I'd give the haybales pic a go, here's another of my gaudy underpaintings!...hopefully I'll get the time to work on it today!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Mar-2010/191938-P1050905.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Mar-2010/191938-P1050912.jpg

03-19-2010, 04:27 PM
Hi Suzanne, nice to meet you! Hope you'll stick around for more challenges, your paintings are both awesome.

I love the barn. Your underpainting is strong and vibrant, the finish is so gorgeous. It goes a lot faster with an underpainting and I really like the alcohol wash technique too.

Looking forward to seeing your hay bales when you do the pasteling. Your gaudy underpainting is a great start!

03-19-2010, 05:56 PM
Robert...thanks, here's what I've done so far....I think I'm spent for the day time to clean up, looks like a tornado hit around here! I feel like there's something amiss with this perhaps it's the values between the trees & mtns???
Oh well I'll leave it for a while,I think I've lost my objectivity.C&C Welcome:wave:


03-19-2010, 09:22 PM
This is going great, Suzanne! I love what you have so far, it just looks a little unfinished.

I like the strong intense colors especially in the foreground, it's got intense saturation that makes me smile. Wonderful bales.

The problem you're seeing with the trees isn't their value. Carlson's Landscape Guide opened my eyes on that -- vertical trees are likely to be the darkest value in a landscape, mountains are slanted medium values darker than flat land medium light, sky is lightest. By that formula your values are spot on perfect.

What I see is a hue problem with the atmospheric recession. The blued mountains are fine for both hue and value, no problem there. Very blued and more muted than the middle ground or foreground -- with the foreground that punchy and warm, they do not need graying!

The highlights you used on the trees are a very yellow-leaning green, a strong olive. So they're warm green. In the middle distance they'd be more of a mid green or cool blue-green. I think you could get away with the olive highlights if you introduced some turquoise and mid-green darks and medium values between the olive highlights and deep violet shadows.

Right now the juxtaposed olive and violet is too much of a contrast in hue for something that far distant. So a few turquoise and mid-green strokes and maybe even some light cool green strokes into the foliage along with the olive could just leave the foliage looking varied, sun-drenched and middle distance true all at once.

I hope this helps! You may have intended something completely different, but even if my suggestion doesn't sound good it may help you sort out what you want to do with that area.

03-20-2010, 12:09 PM
Suzanne: Welcome, I like the beautiful brilliant colors of your palette but do agree with Robert's comments so keep that in mind for your next landscape but they are beautiful as they are for now. I also have Carlson's book and use it as my guide to painting landscapes I suggest you look at it.

03-20-2010, 04:00 PM
Suzanne, Very nice painting! I think I'm going to disagree a bit with Robert - because I like the mid-ground trees and find their colors very well done! To my eye, that first range of mountains is either a little too dark or a little too intensely blue. I think a slightly less intense - maybe just a touch more greenish gray added to the blue - might help create a better separation between each distance. Of course, you can completely ignore my critique!

Very nicely done!


03-20-2010, 04:21 PM
Thanks Paula for hosting this edition of the Spotlight and inspiring me to try underpaintings for the first time! Here is my 3rd entry for this month - which is pretty remarkable as I did only 3 paintings all of last year!

I used pastel for the underpainting - and used water for the wash! I used a reddish brown for the ground because the ground is brown under the grass. I didn't underpaint the tree since I wanted to paint the tree in pastel over the blue sky underpainting. So, rather than use sky holes, I wanted to just leave holes as I painted the tree. This is the technique I would use when oil painting - I would paint the sky, let it dry, then paint the tree in front. I can use the same technique here because I'm using an underpainting!

On Uart 500 grit, using Mt. Vision and Sennelier pastels. Approx. 8.5" x 11"



The upper part of the sky is unaltered underpainting, as is the beach.

C & C welcome!


03-20-2010, 04:23 PM
And for what it's worth I agree with Don. When I squint it's hard to distinguish the trees and mountains (apart from the darkest darks in the trees) and I think the fore range of mountains needs to be a little lighter and maybe more violet than blue as they appear on my monitor.
It's coming on pretty well though. Wonder if I'll get time to try that one.......

03-20-2010, 04:26 PM
We posted at the same time Don. That's great! And a great idea re painting the tree on top of the blue. I considered that but rejected it because I thought putting that foliage on top of it's complementary may dumb it down a little. However, dried underpaintings don't have the same influence on later applications as a dry layer of pastel would do they. Something else for me to try......

03-20-2010, 05:02 PM
And a great idea re painting the tree on top of the blue. I considered that but rejected it because I thought putting that foliage on top of it's complementary may dumb it down a little. However, dried underpaintings don't have the same influence on later applications as a dry layer of pastel would do they. Something else for me to try......
Hi Ruth,

Yes, the fact that the underpainting is dry allows one to put complementary colors next to each other without them blending at all - and graying the colors (or creating a greenish sky, in this case, as I would be mixing orange and blue). It would be hard to do if both colors were still dusty! I'm lousy at doing sky holes, so this method works for me! And it allows me to feather and soften some of the leaves on the edges of the tree, again without blending with the sky.


03-20-2010, 05:22 PM
I wasn't going to post these and I do not like doing landscapes...maybe with practice but not now....

The Underpainting

The Painting...Hay Bales

03-20-2010, 06:18 PM
Linn, this is NOT ugly! I like it. and it's a very effective use of underpainting. You did well!

And I agree, not all landscapes are green. Browse through the Image Library. You'll see some wonderful photos that will give you all sorts of ideas.

I owe the photographers a big debt of gratitude, mostly using their creativity as a springboard for my own. You might find the same!

03-20-2010, 06:58 PM
Linn, you've got some new definition of "ugly" that includes immersive, colorful, warm, beautiful and relaxing, right? Your hay bales painting rocks! Everything from the sky to the fields and bales came out great. Don't run down your art, you're doing fantastic.

Sorry if you didn't achieve a specific effect you wanted. Sometimes that happens, a painting can go its own way and turn into something other than your intent. But not knowing your intent, this painting is great. Try it again and maybe you'll manage to do the one that's in your head that this isn't. It's probably good too.

Don, I like the way you kept some of the sky and beach pure underpainting. That worked so well, the sky is very strong and pushes the tree forward. Beautiful colors on the tree, very natural while still being that vivid. Love the foliage chiaroscuro. Excellent brush, grass treatment and waves too. This painting is an all around stunner.

Paula Ford
03-20-2010, 07:34 PM
Suzanne, your paintings (both!!) turned out beautifully!!

Don, gorgeous! I am so amazed and so proud of you!! Your work is so beautiful and yet you hardly have painted. I'm so glad you're doing the underpaintings. I LOVE your tree!

Linn, what a wonderful piece! I love the bright colors!!

03-20-2010, 07:41 PM
Linn- You did a great job on this. The more you do underpaintings, the more you will enjoy doing landscapes, but they work just as well on still lifes. They are like a map, you just have to plan your trip ahead. Your hay bales are glowing and the mountains give the painting a good sense of depth. Well done. I hope you try another one.

Don- I love your tree. The complementary underpainting make the tree and grass pop. The tree has very good depth. I really like all the blues in your sky. I can see more underpaintings in your future.

Suzanne- Welcome to WC. It is nice to have a fellow BCer here. You will find this place addictive, if you haven't already. Your paintings are beautiful. I love your barn painting. You have a very good sense of light in it. I think you are correct about underpaintings saving on pastels. I have been thinking of trying masonite board with the AS Colourfix primer as well. Maybe my next Dakota or Blick order. Welcome again. I look forward to seeing more of your work


03-20-2010, 10:21 PM
Linn, Very nice landscape! You should be happy with this!

Robert, Thanks for your comments on my "Tree"! I'm happy with it - not sure if it quite reaches the "stunner" category!

Paula, Doug - Thank you both for your comments! I, too, see more underpaintings in my future!


03-20-2010, 10:24 PM
allydoodle: Wonderful Finish!
Tressa: lovely color variations in your painting.
Ruthie-Very nice bright colors on the autumn tree-Nice!
Suzanne: Really nice details in the barn painting, Nice finish on the hay bales.
Don- Beautiful finish on the autmn tree!
Linn: Very nice soft bright colors in the hale bales, Nice!
Hope I didn't forget anybody, really good work going on in here.:clap:

I finally was able to finish the barn today, been battling a cold and had not felt like doing much of anything.
Experimented on a different paper, used stonehenge the rough side; won't do it again though, it like working on mi tentes paper or charcoal paper, a bit messy, Think I'll stick to my sanded paper or velour. Done with various pastels on a 5 x 7 scrap of stonehenge cream, underpainting with watercolor, first time using a watercolor underpainting. I do have to say, I do like doing the alcohol underpainting better though.

03-21-2010, 12:19 AM
Tammy, your barn came out cool. I like the forest and mountain receding behind the barn, the foliage on the trees near the barn and those bushes. The barn looks cool too. Way to go! Sanded papers are a lot easier. I've never tried pastels on Stonehenge but I think if I did I would probably be using pastel pencils or hard pastels and going lightly rather than a layered approach.

Don, you did good, I stand by my opinion. That tree was excellent and all the textures in the painting made it a stunner.

03-21-2010, 07:10 PM
I'm amazed at all of the good paintings! This is very interesting to see the underpaintings and the finished pastel paintings.
I tried the barn but not sure I want anyone to see it.:o

Paula Ford
03-21-2010, 07:27 PM
Very nice Tammy!

03-21-2010, 08:47 PM
Suzanne, Nice Job!

Don, I like your tree! Your underpainting worked well!

Linn, Nice hay bales! Great underpainting!

tvandeb, Thank you!

03-22-2010, 12:37 PM
I didn't have the right supplies for this and I thought I would try cold press watercolor paper. I used Fabriano acquarello Watercolor Studio paper that comes in a tablet with the top gummed.
The paper is white, 90 lb. Most of my pastels are soft Rembrandt.
The first picture shows that I toned the white paper with light wash of blue and burnt sienna.
The 2nd shows the pastels applied and then water applied to parts of it.
The last picture shows the finish.
I felt like I could just keep on tweeking it till the cows come home, and then put a farmer in it too but I quit for now.:wink2:





I know the clouds need to be softened with a magic finger... C&C welcome.
I intend to practice this underpainting way of using pastels. Its fun.

03-22-2010, 12:55 PM
Carolene: This is just gorgeous! I'm quite liking it just the way it is, I really like the impressionistic look of the clouds! Very fresh & spontaneous:clap:

03-22-2010, 01:41 PM
I think I'll call this one "Hay Bales from hell:.....a study in Acid Greens" I've managed to fill the tooth to impasto proportions!(pastels too soft & I'm too heavy handed???).... I'll be avoiding green for a while!!!
Ruth,Don,Robert,Chris,Paula,Doug thanks for the tips & comments and if I've forgotten anyone please forgive me, just getting the hang of this...really enjoying it!!


03-22-2010, 02:48 PM
Tammy, Nice job - on a tough surface! I think the sanded papers definitely work best for landscapes!

Carolene, This is a gorgeous painting! I've tried watercolor paper in the past and couldn't do anything with it! I wouldn't even worry about softening the clouds - it looks great just the way it is!

Islandgurl - The changes are excellent! The progression of distance is right on!


Paula Ford
03-22-2010, 05:42 PM
Carolene, Suzanne, both of you have done a superb job on your paintings! Excellent work!!

03-22-2010, 09:03 PM
Carolene, yours came out so cool. Especially just working on unsanded cold press watercolor paper, the finish is beautiful. Good decision not to overwork it, I like the freshness of your strokes in the finale. Great version of the barn!

Suzanne, wow! I like your acid greens. I love the overwhelming sense of summer green in your hay bales painting, and the bright warmth of the bales makes that green wash together into a feeling of hazy warmth and droning honeybees and being outdoors off school or work having a good time. It's a fantastic painting. Be proud, be very proud, mat this one archival and frame it for posterity or sell it for a good chunk of money to someone who will.

03-22-2010, 09:47 PM
Suzanne, your hay bales are really good!!! I'm beginning to love the look of pastels!
Thank you for the coments on my barn picture, Don, Robert, Suzanne, and Paula.
(Thanks Paula, for helping me figure out how to get the photos uploaded. ):thumbsup:

03-23-2010, 08:17 AM

Nice Job! You really worked that one out, tough surface to do an underpainting on.


Nice Job! I like how you added a road into the painting!


Nice finish!

03-23-2010, 12:48 PM
Linn, love your bales, very colourful.

Tammy, great result on not the best paper for pastels (or WC underpainting)

Islandgurl, This is lovely! I can imagine myself there.

Carolene, great interpretation. I like the little touches like the path worn through the grass to the barn. And your trees by the barn really stand out. I have had SUCH difficulty with that as you will see.

I've been getting in a bit of a muddle commeting on the paintings whichg have gone before! Sorry if I missed anyone.

03-23-2010, 12:56 PM
Today I thought I'd try a watercolour underpainting for the barn one. Should've sketched it out first but dived right in and made the barn way too big. I just cannot handle a brush and think about composition at the same time!

So while that was drying I did another, this time with a pastel and water underpainting.

Here's the WC one, (the photo is blurry for some reason but it was pretty nondescript anyway)

And here's the finished piece.


03-23-2010, 12:59 PM
Then there's the pastel one




Conclusion. I need to seriously study values and saturation when putting foreground trees in front of BG ones!

03-23-2010, 01:32 PM
Ruthie, I love both versions of your barn! The first one's very colorful and lively, it draws me right in. The second is bigger, more ambitious, there's more in the painting and its details seem to be more refined. Both of them really work!

Here's stage three of "Hay There" and I need a little help with it, not sure how to manage the finish. I am so tempted to reach for real greens to come back to that overwhelming sense of summer green that I got in the sketch. I'm not getting some of the hues of dark green that I really liked.

Or should I call it done at this point? Please comment and give advice! I am so not sure of this!

Hay There Stage 3
8" x 10"
Art Spectrum pastels on Richeson sanded paper

03-23-2010, 01:43 PM
Robert...i really like it. the hay bale stands out beautifully, and the fore-and back-grounds are very vanGogh-ish. Looks good to me!

03-23-2010, 01:46 PM
Thanks! So your vote is for "call it done"?

03-23-2010, 04:21 PM
Dont know that I could suggest doing anything more to it, Robert. Looks 'done' to me....I love the vanGogh look....