Wednesday, March 21, 2012

#21 in progress

For my project, "mediocre paintings reworked into excellence" (20 to go after this one), once the little color study is complete I start on the larger work.

1. I unframed the painting and hosed off the mediocre work (on Wallis paper so it can take water). I pat it dry with a cloth towel.
2. I squeezed out white and raw umber oil paint onto my glass palette. With a 1" wide brush and odorless mineral spirits, I applied an oil wash foundation (see photo below).
 3. I let it dry overnight. This morning, with the little color study beside me, I applied white, warm dk gray and dk blue NuPastels. Any other color you see is the "ghost" from the mediocre work I washed off.


  1. Barbara, I'm just beginning to experiment with oils for underpaintings. Do you use white to cover darker areas of your washed-off painting? I have many boards ready to be re-used but hesitate because they are so dark and I don't do well starting out that way. Your underpainting looks very nice!

  2. Donna, my intention in doing an oil wash is to indicate the composition of the new painting over the old one. The white oil wash doesn't totally obliterate what's underneath, especially if it is really dark in that area. To do that it would take several glazes of the wash. But remember, you'll also be adding light pastel so the foundation doesn't have to be as light as you expect the finished painting to be. Turn your board upside down if necessary to best utilize the old painting's lights and darks. Have fun!

  3. Beautiful, Barbara, and thank you again for the sequential photos. I wanted to ask if you ever have any problem with the Wallis buckling, or is it mounted on another surface. Seems like my Wallis - which isn't mounted - will usually get slightly wavy. Really appreciate all the descriptions/visuals of your process!

  4. Carol, if the Wallis gets wavy after hosing the previous painting off, I dampen the back with a spray bottle and place the sheet of Wallis face down on paper towels, put more paper towels (or a cloth towel) on the back, put a piece of glass on top of that and some weight (books, gallons of house paint, etc.) After a few hours it will be nice and flat!