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Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Make your Poppies Pop...A Quick Demo

'Poppy Love' 5x7 pastel ©Karen Margulis

Painting red flowers can be tricky. How do you make them rich and colorful? How do you make them have depth? How can you paint them so they pop off the paper. I want you to feel like you can pick my flowers. It helps to have the right colors especially with pastels. While you can layer and create new colors with pastels, to make really vibrant flowers, you need to have the right vibrant pastels. Terry Ludwig makes the most luscious rich vibrant reds. I like to use his pastels and some others from Great American. They make up my 'go to' reds. Use the darkest coolest reds first and layer your reds getting warmer in the 'sunlit' areas. You want to use warmer reds.....not lighter reds (pinks). Also you can surround the red flowers with cooler greens and blues which will help intensify the reds.
  1. I started this painting on grey Canson MT Touch paper with a watercolor underpainting. (I prefer white for more vibrant watercolor but Grey is all I had)
  2. I chose my palette. I like to pick out the pastels I might use before painting. It helps me keep a more harmonious limited palette.
  3. I began with my soft pastels blocking in the darkest cooler brick reds and the dark blue-purples in the centers of the flowers.
  4. Decide where the light touches the petals and layer progressively warmer reds. Pale reds (pinks) will make your flowers washed out rather than lit by the sun.
  5. I didn't want to completely cover my watercolor in the background so I lightly layered some greens and blues. Very lightly!
  6. I finished the painting by adding details to the poppy centers and added some stems and seed pods. I use some line work with the edge of the pastels for this step.

If you'd like to see more mini demos let me know what you would like to see! I'd love for you to sign up for updates or join me on Facebook and Twitter!

Miniature pastel paintings of poppies available by auction this week Click HERE

poppy aceo's


Anonymous said...

I really like your new way of sending out your newsletter/blog posts- even though I am not a pastel artist reading how you do what you do is really interesting. I love your poppies btw!

Karen said...

Thank you! I appreciate your feedback. I have so much to share about art and a lot of it is pastel related some will be just general art information. I'm glad you like my new posting and hope you will continue to read along!Thanks!

Liene said...

Thank You for the nice blog! Your blog and paintings are my inspiration to learn pastel painting. Every day, the look in and gives me new ideas. Small lesson about pastel painting tips ang trics are very nice. It would be nice to see more Quick Demos :)) THANK YOU

Antipolo commuter said...

I love your pastel paintings. I don't often see such beautiful paintings using pastel. I'm not a painter myself, but I appreciate the way you explain your craft. :-)

Karen said...

Thank you Antipolo! I appreciate you visiting my blog and I am glad you enjoyed my pastels. I hope you will return often!