Thursday, October 21, 2010

Poetic energy of underpainting

In pastel, my comfort in painting leans toward what I would term "ultra-realism" . I typically work spatially completing section by section, piecing together lines and shapes, that when completed, works as a whole.

Challenging myself for a looser interpretation (as I often see a landscape), I wanted, instead, to respond to the poetry of the underpainting, the poetry of shapes and mingled color. I began on white (which I almost never do) ampersand pastelbord that can handle alot of water, pigment, and pastel. Considering the harmony color, temperature, and with the goal of creating luminous contrasts of blue and gold, I began to add worries about mess, details or representation, simply looking for a response to the energy of the landscape.

The watercolor "underpainting"

As a watercolorist, I found myself tempted to approach this underpainting as I would a finished watercolor, working light to dark, wet-into-wet, glazing layers...but then this will be a pastel, on pastelbord. The underpainting will only serve to create a base (mostly covered with pastel) of warmth and value and give direction to the pastel that will come later... hopefully a loosely interpreted poetic landscape.

The "later"... untitled
Pastel on Ampersand Pastelbord


Elizabeth Seaver said...

Well, you are right, there is lots of energy, both in the underpainting and in the finished piece. I always love to see the process of your work.

Your new studio is just lovely!

Melanie Statnick said...

I have yet to try these boards. I own both and your inspiring me to work with them..

ariel freeman said...

Great Melanie! I just love them, the versatility and durability of the surfaces is amazing...not to mention you don't have to cut mats. I find that once the pastel paintings are in a frame and behind nonglare conservation glass, they present very much like oil paintings as opposed to a work on paper. Enjoy!