Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Best Art Advice I Ever Got

'Marsh Variation I' 5x7 pastel ©Karen Margulis
purchase painting on Paypal $45
If you want to paint better, let me share the best advice I ever got. The advice was to paint more often. The more you paint the more you will accumulate the miles of canvas necessary to paint with confidence and ease. I was also given a challenge to paint 50 small pastels...small and quick. So I did and I couldn't stop at 50! I have been painting daily for 6 years now and I truly believe it has been invaluable in my development as a painter. Two years ago I read an article in the Pastel Journal about Marla Baggetta who painted the same landscape 100 times. What an inspiration that was! I decided to do it myself and it was the best learning experience for me. I experimented with color and materials and technique. It was fun! See my results on my blog 'Miles of Canvas'. I am going to do the challenge again with a different landscape. I will post my progress weekly but I am not giving myself a strict time limit...it may take several months but I know I will be learning with each new painting!
I chose a marsh scene so I can play with water. I did a small thumbnail value study. I will be changing color schemes so I want to see the black and white version first. I don't want to be too influenced by the local colors in the reference photo. All of the paintings will be 5x7. The first painting is posted above. It is on Canson Touch with no underpainting. Would you like to shorten your learning curve? Consider taking the landscape variation challenge. I promise you won't regret it!

10 comments:

Dorothy said...

Excellent advice, Karen. I admire your work very much and it is good for me to remember that you have put in your time to become as beautifully fluent as you are. I'm very much a beginner pastelist/artist and get frustrated because the work I do isn't "right". I'm taking your advice and will put in the miles necessary (on 5x5 sheets of Canson) and watch the progress. Thanks!

shelleymhouse said...

What great advice, Karen! I'm excited to do a lot more art this year.

Mariela said...

Hello, it sounds very interesting Karen.... I'll think about it!!
Wish a vey creative year!

Karen said...

Dorothy,
I am excited that you will try the challenge! It is really a wonderful exercise and fun too. Keep me posted on your progress!

Karen said...

Thanks Shelley! It is one way that keep me focused on something so I am excited to do this challenge again.

Karen said...

Thank you Mariela! I hope you try it!

Sarah Bachhuber Peroutka said...

I understand the logic behind your advice to paint every day and/or to paint multiples or themes. Where I get hung up, though, is on "stopping." When I go to paint, which I look forward to, I then freeze up when I anticipate my pattern of not knowing when to stop! I would love to paint every day if I could have a painting to show for each day instead of a pile of ones that never quite seem to be done or have turned to mud. "Dear Abby Karen" can you help me?

Karen said...

Sarah,
Very good question! It is challenging to know if you are really finished. Many times we are actually a lot closer to being finished with a painting than we think. One of the things I do when I think I am close but just not sure is a put it in a frame or mat and step back. I can then evaluate the painting better. I then decide where my focal area is and if I have made that clear. I will allow myself 3 or 4 more strokes and then I'll call it done. I think doing this challenge where you work with the same subject for each painting will help you because you have solved most of the problems with composition and value....now you get to play and with that play you will get more confidence in knowing when you are done!

David Patterson said...

Beautiful, Karen! And yes, very good advice!!

Karen said...

Thanks David! :)