Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Underpainting for Jour de Noel, Strasbourg 
I am preparing for another Experimenting with Watercolor & Pastel class as well as a Show and Tell gathering of Stoner Creek Arts. And there is a project I've had on my mind since our trip to France, where we spent Christmas. It rained almost every day we were in France, but on Christmas Day in the afternoon, the sun shone. It was the lemon-y cool winter sun of Northern Europe. Very beautiful. David and Mary and I were walking around Strasbourg, where we spent a week, and I wanted to return to my favorite tree in that city. By the time we reached Petite France, the sun was beginning its downward slide and the cool golden sky back lit the massive limbs. It was a sight! I knew I wanted to make a painting of this luminescent scene.

       That is what I am working on.  To start a painting using watercolor and pastel, I begin with an underpainting.  The underpainting provides a rich and deep base for the pastel.  I add layers to the watercolor, letting the layers dry in-between so I can see how much darker and richer I need to go. From experience, I know what I am going to want to riff off of the pastel. So the painting above is not even half-way finished.  My goal is to leave the painting open for maximum flexibility.  Yet, at every stage, I want the ultimate feeling of the scene to shine forth (here it is the illuminated sky with the back lit and utterly substantial tree.)

      Would you like to try this yourself? I will be teaching Experimenting with Watercolor & Pastel at the Lexington Art Academy. A 4-session class will be held on Thursdays, 7 - 9 pm from February 2 - February 23, 2012. For more information and registration, please go to: lexingtonartacademy.com.
I will post an update of the painting when it is complete.

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