So where am I up to with current artworks?
After completing the last of the artworks in the Mythic Journey series, I took a short break while I was considering where to go next in terms of the work.

This however did not mean that I stopped painting. When unsure of what to paint it is often best to just keep painting. Well how does one do that? One way is to work totally intuitively. How does one begin that?

One way is to simply draw some lines on the canvas – like this.



And then begin throwing some colour at it. This drawing was the starting point for what turned out to be three different works, each of the subsequent works being based on the previous one. In the image below, I am working up a base using Acrylic paints.

Enchanted Dreams,abstracts,kadira Jennings

Enchanted Dreams – progress 1


More paint is added to the underpainting, still using Acrylics

Enchanted Dreams,Kadira Jennings

Enchanted Dreams – progress 2


Then I took out the oil paints and proceeded to work back into the painting, developing what I could see there already. You may have to look hard to see some of the changes as they are subtle.


Enchanted Dreams - progress 3

Enchanted Dreams – progress 3


And here is the finished work….

Enchanted Dreams

Enchanted Dreams Oil and Acrylic on canvas 24″x 22″ $900


Some quite big changes can now be seen.

This Weeks Question: What works do you have in progress at the moment?  Are you exploring any new techniques?? 

Look For Next Monday’s Post: More on ‘The Biz of Art”

Hot off the Easel this week is the triptych I have been working on for the last few weeks. A triptych is always a bit of a tricky thing to tackle, because you really want each panel to work separately in its own right, while at the same time working in nicely with all the other ones. 

Two weeks ago I shared with you the underpainting I was doing on this work. Here are some updates on that process….

Hot Off the Easel

Underpainting of the middle painting


Hot Off The Easel,Painting process

Much of a first layer of the middle panel is painted



















And below is the finished painting. It measures 24″x66″.  If you would like to see more about this painting visit my Artist Website.




Dancing With The wind -Triptych,Hot off the easel

Dancing With The wind triptych


This Weeks Question: How are you travelling with your own creativity?

Look For Next Thursday’s Post: 10 Things every artist Must Have!

Understanding Underpainting – How important is it?

There are different styles of painting and not all of them need underpainting. However the style of work that I do requires it, and the final results cannot be achieved without it.

This is a continuing conversation.  I am revisiting this topic, because I consider that understanding  underpainting provides you with a wonderful tool. Underpainting can be found from the works of the classical masters to the modern ones. Even many contemporary abstract artists make use of underpainting. Often several layers of paint will contribute to the look of the finished painting. If you are just learning to paint and trying to copy someone elses work, understanding underpainting , may help you to figure out what they have done.  Look for subtle colour changes beneath the top layer of paint, and try to determine what colour they might have used.

The painting below by J.W. Waterhouse, well known Pre-Raphaelite painter,  is in two contrasting colors which separates the figure from the background but underpinned with a base of Raw Umber.

understanding underpainting in 2 colours, Waterhouse

Tonal underpainting in 3 colours

We see here that the background is underpainted with Raw Umber  and then Waterhouse has overpainted and further developed the image with Sap Green on top. He has painted the dress with a very thinned down Cadmium Red. This work is done in oils and the paint thinned considerably with a medium.

Look For Thursday’s Post: My latest artwork finished 

Next Monday’s Post: Adobe and Moleskin Team Up

Posted By: Kadira Jennings


Underpainting and abstracts

This post looks at the further use of underpainting and how it can influence our work in quite dramatic ways. The paintings you see here are underpaintings done in preparation for a colour blocking technique. The finished version of this appears later in the post.

Working drawing charcoal for Underpainting

Working drawing charcoal


  • A simple place to start is to get the real estate pages out of the paper and go through the houses for sale.  Look at the images until you find one that has shapes that appeal to you.
  • Then do some preliminary drawings until you find an arrangement of shapes that you like as in the above drawing.
  • Then you paint an under painting of your working drawing – this is version I
Magenta House underpainting

Magenta House underpainting

  • You might experiment with different colours on top of your underpainting.
  • Or take the same composition and give it a totally different colour palette.  You can see what a different effect you can get by doing this .
  • See how by placing different tones and colours in the same position, you take the viewer’s eye to a different place.
  • For extra emphasis separate the colour blocks with thick or thin or uneven black or coloured lines

And then you have the finished painting

Magenta house  - finished

Magenta house – finished

To see the same subject handled differently – check out next weeks post……

Next Thursday’s Post: Developing an abstract painting continued

Next Monday’s Post: Childhood causes for creative blocks

Posted By: Kadira Jennings

Underpainting – what value does it have? If you have been  following my blog for a while, you will have noticed my shift to underpainting most of my works now.  Why do it? Well the main advantage is that it can give great depth to your work if it is covered by several thin layers of paint over the top.

Underpainting is not only a rapid and economical way to envision and develop compositions, it also aids the artist in creating a number of optical effects that cannot be achieved by direct painting with color.

Traditionally underpaintings were usually executed in warm earth tones on neutral gray or warm brown grounds. Raw umber, at times mixed with black, were frequently used for this purpose. Another great mix is Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine Blue. This mix can give you very neutral grey tones (with the addition of a little white) or the underpainting can be made either warm or cool depending on whether it leans towards the Burnt Sienna or the Ultramarine Blue.

Cool gray underpaintings were also often employed.  In the work below you can see Andrea del Sarto’s half-finished portrait and notice how the flesh has only been worked up on one side  and the underpainting is revealed on the rest of it.

underpainting Andrea del Sarto - unfinished portrait

Andrea del Sarto – unfinished portrait

‘In it’s simplest terms, an underpainting is a monochromatic version of the final painting intended to initially fix the composition, give volume and substance to the forms, and distribute darks and lights in order to create the effect of illumination.’ (1)

If you are going to experiment with underpainting only apply color over the underpainting  when it is thoroughly dry.

Not many painters use the underpainting technique today as most of them are after the immediacy of direct painting i.e.  coloured paint straight onto a white ground.  The problem with this approach is that many opportunities for subtlety are missed as underpainting is often the only way to achieve great depth and luminosity in a work.

Next Thursday’s Post: Songs Of The Sea

Next Monday’s Post: Colour Theory  – Mixing Blues

Posted By: Kadira Jennings

(1) Essential Vermeer 2.0

Pix Credit: Essential Vermeer 2.0


Underpainting – how it impacts your work

Underpainting has been the focus of my work for the last few weeks. I’m experimenting with some new things, beginning with the underpainting of the landscapes you see below.

The first is a rework of a previously painted picture of Mt Taranaki on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

Underpainting - Mt Taranaki II

Mt Taranaki II

This work has a burnt Sienna acrylic ground painted and dried underneath the worked up image that you see here. Next Thursday, I will compare this work with the original one  – I think the comparison will be interesting.

The second painting is underpainted using the same technique and shares a little slice of Southland in the deep south of New Zealand’s South Island.

Underpainting - Southland


Come back next Thursdy to see how they turned out!

Next Thursday’s Post: New Zealand – the finished paintings

Next Monday’s Post: Enhancing Your Creativity

Posted By: Kadira Jennings


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