I have been doing a lot of painting in my head recently (too bad I have not been painting in my studio!). Recently both the Artist’s magazine and Watercolor magazine had articles about Judi Betts and her approach to bringing life to mid-value paintings. I took a workshop from Judi several years ago and was familiar with her approach to underpainting. She starts with color blocks in complementary values and then, using the same complementary hues, builds up her paintings. I decided to try a small painting and started with an underpainting of red/green and blue/orange to do a painting called The Elder. I couldn’t work my way through this approach to a finished painting but I did continue to work in a more traditional and realistic way. The painting was very tight and lifeless until I started painting fast and loose. That was my learning.
The result was this painting inspired by a photograph in Smithsonian magazine: