Friday, June 15, 2012

Work in Progress: High Summer Dreams II (Finishing the Underpainting)

The background underpainting of leaves and shaded grounds is finished at this stage -- oh boy, did it take more time than I had initially planned! It probably contained way more information than what would show through in the final painting -- the details, the local color temperature and value relationships, the structural information... I am still trying to find out how much is enough as far as underpainting is concerned -- I can always put more in and later paint them away with thicker paints of the overpainting in dark areas, so I tend to put much more than what I think would be necessary. When I just started painting in watercolor, I read in instructional books that with each subsequent glaze, you put in more and more information and add more and more details. It's funny that my current method is exact reverse of that -- I put in lots of details at the beginning and paint them away in the wet-in-wet final underpaintings.

I am not entirely happy with the underpainting of this one, however. Time aside, the value structure is not shown very clearly in the underpainting, which might create some confusion when the paper is soaking wet, and I'm counting seconds to drop in dense, juicy colors in the wet-in-wet process. Underpainting to me should be all about clarity of structure, but in this one I got carried away trying to replicate good soft blending of colors, and create nice surface effects. As a result, the colors on the surface are probably too dense, which means some would lift when being rewet in the overpainting stage. Also, the edges are kept too soft, which may make them hard to see when several layers of dense pigments are dropped in on top of them, which is no good -- I need to see them for the overpainting, and any confusion would cause hesitation, resulting the lost of precious time while the paper is drying a bit more with every passing second. Next time, I will try to keep the edges on underpainting shapes a bit harder to make them loud and clear, and focus on big color passages and clear value structures. We'll see how this one turns out in the end...

High Summer Dreams II, Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 10"h x 14"w, WIP 4


  1. Hello Arena:) This is so beautiful. I'll keep follow this till it's done:)


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