Colorful spring flowers were today’s topic, but enthusiasm got sidetracked. I’m really excited about “underpaintings” or “pre-paintings.” Not equal to real flowers, but colorful, organic, and beautiful like flowers. And a satisfying triumph for those of us who are intimidated by blank white surfaces or the “how shall I paint the background” dilemma.
Underpaintings work for watercolors, acrylics, and probably can be adapted for oils and other media. Exciting underpainting techniques I’ve tried thus far include: tissue pours, wax paper and plastic wrap pours, batik, charcoal powder washes, and mono-prints. And I hear that my favorite painting instructor, Susan Cowan, has more up her sleeves. I will convey any you are interested in.
Pre-paintings, or underpaintings, can set the mood for imagery to come, or can become finished abstract paintings themselves. And since the painting may not yet be in mind, pre-painting is pure play with colors!
Six Steps to do “a tissue paper pour” pre-painting:
- Gather a few sheet of facial tissue — use 1-ply (or take 2-ply and hand separate it to 1-ply). Old dress-pattern tissue can be used, or gift tissue, feel free to be creative.
- Tear each tissue sheet into a few irregular shaped pieces and crinkle them.
- Mix up three to five of your favorite colors of paint (acrylics, watercolors, or maybe oils) in little paper cups or smallcontainers — thin them to the consistency of cream.
- Pour the colors here and there onto your paper or canvas.
- Lay the crinkled tissue, strewn here and there over the poured paint colors. Then allow it to ALMOST dry. This takes some time… Less patient people use a hairdryer, but I prefer sun if I can find any here in the Pacific NW. Peek under a tissue corner to see if it is still wet. The paint should be dry enough to hold it’s shape, but very slightly damp in order to pull the tissue off — if it is too dry the tissue will not come off (which adds interesting texture, but not what we’re going after here).
- When the paint is nearly dry, gently pull off the tissue, to discover amazing crinkle patterns and colors!