Portage Island Cliff 6x6 Series, Number 4 - Pastel Painting by Nancy Ging - Copyright © 2016

Portage Island Cliff 6×6 Series, Number 4 – Pastel Painting by Nancy Ging – Copyright © 2016

In this painting I started experimenting with the underpainting. Since most of this painting is in shades of green, I used the complementary color–red. I chose four shades of a bluish pink and created this value study as an underpainting:


The goal of using a complementary underpainting is to liven up the painting colors, since a little of the underpainting will show through the colors applied on top of it.

I used a small piece of pipe insulation to rub in the color to cover the paper and to blend the edges of colors together. When using pastel as the underpainting (instead of watercolor, oils, etc.), it’s important to rub the color in well so any excess falls off as dust. Covering the paper so there are no gaps will make it easier to keep the final painting loose and unblended, producing nice textural effects. However, I also want to make sure the underpainting doesn’t fill the “tooth” of the sanded paper any more than necessary. I’ll need room to add more layers of color for the final painting.

Click here to see all pastel paintings in the Portage Island Cliff 6×6 Series.