Friday, September 25, 2020
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Monday, September 21, 2020
One of the things that helps me grow as an artist is to study the work of those with more experience and whose work inspired me. There is no better way to see what is happening in the world of pastel then to see the annual Pastel Society of America's exhibition. Usually held in New York City, this year it is all online. I am thrilled to share that one of my paintings was accepted into the exhibition and received and award! (more on this below) Please follow the links so that you can enjoy this wonderful exhibition in the comfort of your home!
Pastel Society of America 2020: Enduring Brilliance at The Butler Institute Online
This exhibition, drawn from The Pastel Society of America’s annual fall exhibition, features works by some of the nation’s premier pastel painters. The Pastel Society of America (PSA) is the oldest organization of its kind in the nation. A primary mandate of the PSA is to provide a forum for the exhibition of works by the most accomplished pastel artists in the United States and abroad. Since 1972, the PSA Annual Exhibition: Enduring Brilliance!, held at the National Arts Club in New York City, has been the premier event for pastel artists worldwide.
To see the entire exhibition click here:
To see all of the accepted paintings in the Butler Institute follow this link:
To see a slide show of the award winning paintings click on the following link. I enjoyed 'flipping' through this virtual catalog!
Here is a closer look at my accepted painting. 'Morning at the Pond'. It is 9x12.
Friday, September 18, 2020
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Before I started painting my hobby was photography. While my kids were small it was an easy way to get in touch with my creative side. Back then we learned on a manual camera with slide film. It was not very forgiving. You didn't want to just keep taking photos in hopes of getting a good one like we can now with digital. You had to plan. You had to anticipate. You also had to be lucky sometimes. I am glad for this lesson in patience. It was also a lesson in learning how to see. I learned how to see the light. These lessons served me well as I transitioned into painting. I was reminded by an important lesson this weekend.
We were on our maiden camping trip with our new camper Joy. (More on this soon) It was a quick weekend trip to test the camper's systems. It was a mostly overcast weekend so when sunset time rolled around we weren't very hopeful. We decided to take a walk....just in case. We were rewarded for our efforts.....almost. We could see a glimmer of fiery light through the trees but we couldn't get close enough. We decided to hop in the car and drive around the bend. We were on a lake with many fingers of land so it was hard to know which way to go.
We drove a few miles and it just got darker. No sunset. Then we rounded the bend and there it was....a fiery sunset up close and personal. We stopped and I took lots of photos and then I remembered the lesson I learned in my photography days and later reinforced by Stan Sperlak in his wonderful workshops.....ALWAYS LOOK BEHIND YOU. Don't forget to turn around and see what is happening behind you. It is often just as spectacular or interesting then what is in front of you. In this case it was. The formally 'brown' tree trunks were glowing orange from the setting sun. It was mesmerizing and it inspired my first painting from our camping adventures.
Monday, September 14, 2020
- The paper accepted both hard and soft pastel equally well. And as I said before, it feels good....the pastels just glide on.
- I found I had more success when I made bold and direct strokes. The paper does take several layers but I found that the marks want to stay in place rather than be blended. (this is a good thing if you tend to over blend)
- I was able to use fixative with success. I decided midway through the painting to change color scheme so after a little fixative I could add more pastel. However some spots got too slick from fixative and I could get pastel on top.
- I didn't use a wet underpainting today but I do remember that while the paper takes a wet underpainting, the cellulose fibers seem to suck in the wet. You tend not to get the drips and blooms like you get with other papers.
Here are two links to other posts I wrote about Pastelmat paper:
We are exploring the still life over on my Patreon group. You can see this apple painting as a step by step demo! Just $4 for the monthly pledge. www.patreon.com/karenmargulis
Tuesday, September 08, 2020
Wow! It has been almost a week since I painted and posted on my blog! It has been a crazy busy week. I had set aside the week to work with my online workshop students. That kept me busy. It was great fun and a success. Look for another opportunity to join another group soon! Not only was I busy with the workshop, My daughter and son-in-law moved into their new home. We spent lots of time packing....moving and unpacking with help from family! If that wasn't enough we found our dream camper and needed to pick it up and figure out where to park it while the driveway was being prepared. (the camper story is long and I will write about it soon) Whew!
I finally have a breather today and got back to the easel. I am working on a hydrangea painting on top of a failed still life. This week is Sunflower Week on Patreon so I painted some sunflowers before things got so busy including this 12x12 painting. You can see a video demo of this painting on my Patreon Page. It was a lot of fun to interpret a reference photo of a pitcher of flowers. My pitcher turned into a vase!
Below you can see the palette of pastels I used for the painting. It was the same palette that I used for my last pear post with a few additions of yellows and oranges. I will be using the same palette for a few more paintings this month!
I hoepen to get back into a regular posting schedule and I will be sharing the news of the new camper soon!
Wednesday, September 02, 2020
'In the Kitchen' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis available $155
- We learned that painting a still life wasn't all that dreadful. In fact I would say that some of us really enjoyed the still life and might even be inspired to paint more of them.
- We learned that we all have our own unique viewpoint and painting style. This was even more obvious when we painted the same things. Have a look at the bottom photo to see what I mean!
- We learned that painting a still life can help strengthen our skills of observation. Especially when we had to paint from our sketches and notes. (we had 10 minutes to sketch and 20 minutes to paint...and so on)
- We brainstormed and decided that painting a still life can help us with important painting skills such as composition, value, seeing color, drawing skills....it is a great way to paint from life in the comfort of the studio.
Monday, August 31, 2020
- Avoid painting individual blades of grass. Think instead of the big underlying shapes or blocks of grass. Pull out and paint a few blades. Allow the viewer to participate and fill in the rest. A few well placed blades will read as grass.
- Using the long edge of a soft square pastel use the press and lift method to leave a print of a piece of grass. Do a few but be careful not too have them spaced too evenly or all marching in the same direction.
- Use the top edge of a harder round pastel and roll it leaving a broken line of grass.
- Lay down a block of color and then draw some lines of grass with a thin hard pastel. Draw a SENSITIVE line. Have a light responsive touch so the line isn't to thick or regular. Practice sensitive lines.
- Paint on a heavily textured surface. Glide the pastel over the texture and it will look like grasses without putting in a blade!
- Underpainting! I like to use an alcohol, turpenoid or oil stain and allow the drips to create the grasses.
I used a small quick response study along with a reference photo to inspire my painting.
Thursday, August 27, 2020
|Tools of the trade|
- Paint: a few tubes of oil paint. I only use alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue and cadmium yellow medium and mix the colors I need. I don't use white since I want my colors to be rich and transparent. I don't use black either but mix red and blue for a nice rich dark.
- Brush: I use a cheap bristle brush because I like to scrub the paint and the sanded papers are hard on a brush!
- OMS: which stands for odorless mineral spirits. You can use your preferred brand. I use Gamsol or Turpenoid. Do not use the Turpenoid in the green can. In my experience it doesn't dry as well especially if you use it to do a wash with pastels. You will also need a can or jar for the OMS.
- Paper: You need a pastel paper or board that can get wet. I prefer Uart paper. Ampersand Pastelbords are an excellent choice as well. For today's painting I used Pastelmat which wasn't my favorite choice. I didn't get the drips I usually get with Uart paper.
|closeup of the oils stain|
I love the vibrancy of the oil paint. It makes a rich and colorful underpainting. The trick is getting the paint the right consistency. I call it an Oil Stain because you want to get the paint the consistency of wood stain. I use the OMS liberally when mixing my paint and make a puddle of color the consistency of stain or tea. If it is too thick the painting will fill the tooth of the paper and you won't be able to layer much pastel. If it is too wet it will just run and it won't stain the paper.
TIP: If you can see brush marks in the paint then it is too thick....thin it with more OMS. Practice, practice and more practice will allow you to know just how much OMS is enough.
As the paint dries the magic begins. The best underpaintings will result in interesting drips that look like root systems. The Pastelmat absorbed the paint so quickly that it didn't drip. It was a bit disappointing but I still loved the vibrancy of the oil paint and it gave me something colorful to respond to.
Friday, August 21, 2020
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
- paint more
- paint faster
- paint looser
- paint with more passion and expression
- paint what you love without guilt
- add more miles of paper or practice without spending a lot of time
- overcome fear
- build confidence
- break out of a block
- break free of a rut
- explore without fear of wasting good paper
- explore color
- explore mark making
- discover new approaches
- discover new compositions for familiar subjects
JOIN ME ON PATREON TO JUMP START YOUR PAINTING PRACTICE! www.patreon.com/karenmargulis
Monday, August 17, 2020
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Here is the painting at the almost finished stage. I needed to supplement the set with a few middle value greens and yellows.
I will be sharing more about this set in the coming days as I explore it even more! Have you tried this set? How do you like them?
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Paint and learn online with a great group! Join me on Patreon for lessons demos, videos, challenges and more! This month we are working on painting small studies. It is the perfect time to jump in and join us!