How Can I Make Small Snippets of Bright Color Peek Out Throughout My Painting?

Just Off The Beaten Path - 18x24 - Jed Dorsey

If you want to have bright colors shining through in the end, the first step is to have an underpainting that's bright - like quinacridone magenta or quinacridone gold. The second step is just simply to not paint over everything––but to allow there to be little cracks around what you've painted, where you can see little bits of that underpainting color peeking through.

There have been times when I've painted and covered up more than I intended and didn't allow the underpainting to show through. In that case, you can go back and paint in more of the brighter color and add some of the brightness back. But, it's usually not quite the same. The best method is to apply a bright underpainting and then remember to not paint over all of it.

Here is another example of a painting where the underpainting was quite bright and showed through a lot on the bottom portion, although I wanted to make the top recede into the distance and covered up more.

High Tide Painting

Jed Dorsey - High Tide

The bright pink adds some extra "punch" to the foreground and the background is a softer, more subtle counterpart. I think often we need to find the right balance between vibrant colors and neutral colors, so sometimes if I have a bright underpainting, I intentionally use more neutral colors over top.

Painting is fun, and color is fun. So, when you are learning, always remember to experiment. Try new colors on your underpainting. Bright colors are great. But I've also really enjoyed painting on more neutral toned canvases and even black. Each time you make decisions on how much of the underpainting to leave showing through, and how much to cover up. The great thing is there is freedom. 

So, go for it! Have fun and try something new - it's just paint :-)

To your painting success,

Jed

 

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