I frequently receive questions from students and other aspiring artists regarding what underpainting techniques I use. It’s a great question, and I only wish it were a simple one to answer. An underpainting wash is a very exciting method when using sanded surfaces that can support aqueous materials. Be sure to use prepared surfaces like UART, Wallis, PastelMat, Canson Touch, or other primed surfaces which can withstand the use of washes. There are a variety of ways to under paint and achieve exciting results. Here are just a few:
- Watercolor Wash Using a small watercolor set and a flat or round watercolor brush, paint with watercolor materials on the blank sanded paper to achieve your desired effect. Then work over the wash with dry pastel.
- Alcohol Wash Use denatured alcohol or 90-percent isopropyl alcohol and a flat watercolor brush to wash over dry pastel pigment, which will dissolve and stain the color into the paper. This method dries very quickly and creates beautiful effects.
- Mineral Spirit Wash This works in much the same way as an alcohol wash but takes a little longer to dry.
To learn more about using underpainting techniques in pastel, and see me put them to work in step-by-step instructional paintings, look for my upcoming book, Mastering Pastel, available for purchase in the STORE this May.