Underpainting a paper for a pastel painting is always an adventure unto itself - you never know what the dried underpainting will look like until it's dry. The underpainting for "Alison" was more concerned about light and dark than color, so the dried paper looked as I had hoped. Ugly, but accurate. Visitors to the studio who see a work at this stage are usually at a loss for words! I usually assure them that it's just an awkward stage.
Then it's time to apply pastel and bring out the image in full color! One of the most exciting parts of painting a portrait for me is watching the person emerge from the flat surface of the paper. The image gradually comes into focus, and suddenly there's someone there!