'Poppy Love' 5x7 pastel ©Karen Margulis
soldPainting 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- I began with my soft pastels blocking in the darkest cooler brick reds and the dark blue-purples in the centers of the flowers.
- 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.
- I didn't want to completely cover my watercolor in the background so I lightly layered some greens and blues. Very lightly!
- 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.
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