Linda DuPuis-Rosen
Wildlife in Watercolor

Art Lessons


Lesson 2
Learning about underpaintings

- Try to find a good photograph of a pet with a simple background so you may focus on your main subject

- Again, you may wish to draw the picture upside down or trace it so that you have the proportions right.

- Then spend some time drawing details for the eyes, mouth and nose. I then masked a few highlight areas and white areas.

- Next, I work on the underpainting. A light wash helps define your subject, background and your color and value relationships. At this point I can decide if the painting will be pleasing in my color choices and I can make changes if I want to in the next layer. I mixed quin. burnt orange and yellow ochre for the fur, wet the area then put in the paint sparingly. I waited a few minutes then applied some salt then left it alone

- The fur seems a little too orange at this point but I will add more yellow ochre in the layers ahead and the darker background will lighten the dog. The only other time I used salt was for the nose. Wet the eye area before you drop in the color. The eyes are painted with quin. gold with a touch of quin. burnt orange around the edges.

- At this point I developed the eyes, nose and tongue.

- Try to find links into your background so that you subject does not look pasted on. I found links under the tongue, side of the nose and parts of the ears as you will see in the next step.

- At this final step I applied another layer of yellow ochre to the fur and then darkened the background. I mixed perm. alizarin crimson, prussian blue and quin. burnt orange and layered it on about 4 times with each subsequent layer with more paint and less water.

- Notice how the colors seem to become lighter once I put in the darker background. Scruffy is now done!