UART Tip #42: “Feel the Heat with an Earthy Tonal Under Painting” with Nancy Nowak

Beneath the Palms” was an experimental painting using Art Graph Tailor Shaped Pigments for my underpainting. Art Graph mimics the look of tailor’s chalk and is a water-soluble block of pressed pigment that richly tones your surface.

My cropped reference photo

First, I lightly skimmed three different color blocks across my pre-mounted 400 UART paper in a random pattern with a very light touch. It has a very rich pigment so a little goes a long way.

Then, with a large paint brush and water, I randomly toned the paper. I wanted a translucent look, so I used plenty of water. This gave me a rich warm base in which to paint.

Step 1

After a quick value study, I drew my out- line of shapes using a light orange color pastel pencil so it easily blended into the background.

Step 2

With a Blue Spruce Nupastel, I loosely filled in the dark shapes and massed in my dark value.

Tip: Linking the darks makes a stronger structural pattern.

Step 3

I used alcohol to fix and set the dark pastel to the surface. Using a good stiff brush, I carefully blotted isopropyl alco- hol onto the surface.

Tip: Carefully blot the alcohol to avoid losing the drawing. Use a paper towel to blot your brush to control the flow and quantity of the alcohol.

Step 4

I filled in the light values. I use a light touch, so the warmth of the toned underpainting shows through.

Step 5

I then filled in my mid tones, working the entire surface. Notice that a 3 value (light, medium, dark) pattern begins to emerge. I am keeping my val- ues limited to just 3-4 which makes a more cohesive and harmonious painting, especially in a busy scene.

Tip: Keep the values separated. Only light colors layered on top of lights, mid tones on top of mid tones and dark values on top of darks. They shouldn’t mix.

Beneath the Palms”, 9 x 12, soft pastel on UART 400 sanded paper

In ‘Beneath the Palms’, I kept a colorful palette to enhance the tropical feeling of the scene. By changing the color of the umbrella to orange, it linked naturally with the warm tones of the people, the warm tones of the orangish palm frond and then traveled up through the sweeping palm and back down to the warm toned street sign.

I love experimenting with different under paintings. UART paper provides such a forgiving versatile and strong surface which allows me to be creative.

Nancy Nowak IAPS-EP, PSA, AIS

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