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Friday, February 17, 2012

The Remaking of a Painting ...Marsh Demo

'It's a Beautiful Day' 18 x 24 pastel ©Karen Margulis

Some paintings take awhile to be born. This one has been waiting for a couple of years! It started out as a commission. The client wanted a large marsh painting with several very specific details. There was to be a jon boat and a tree with fishing nets in the foreground. The sky had to be a particular shade of blue. I got as far as blocking it in and doing the sky when the commission was cancelled due to family circumstances of the client. So I filed the painting away in a stack of foamcore pieces and forgot all about it. I discovered it a few weeks ago and not wanting to waste a big piece of paper (18x24) I starting thinking about how I could remake this painting. See the demo below for my remake.

Step by Step Remaking of a Marsh Painting
  1. (from top left) The initial block in for the commission. The empty places were for the boat and tree with nets. This painting is on Wallis Belgian Mist with no underpainting.
  2. I began by redoing the sky. I liked the intense blue but I toned it down a bit and I changed the cloud type from wispy to fluffy. I added warmth to the lower clouds and near the horizon.
  3. I no longer had the original reference photo so I used these photos and this little marsh painting that I did for a recent class for inspiration. I like the bright greens in the marshes.
  4. Next I tackled the distant island. I softened the trees and added some lighter,cooler greens. I worked in some more sky holes. I felt that the trees were too dark and sharp in the original. This is a close-up photo of the island.
  5. In my next step I covered up the empty spaces in the foreground with some dark burgundy Terry Ludwig pastels. I cover up some of the water because I will eventually change the course of the water.
  6. I want the foreground to be dark so I spray the whole marsh area with workable fixative. I use Blair which does darken the pastel but I want that here. I actually do this process a few times in the build up of the marsh colors. I like the texture I get from the fixative.
  7. Next I use a few different peach / orange / golden pastels on the marsh grass area. I keep my strokes horizontal in the distance. This isn't the final color of the grass but I want to make the greens more interesting. I am holding back from putting in the bright greens until the end. Patience!!
  8. Now I add the water in big bold strokes....lighter in the distance and darker in the foreground. I also start to add the green in the grasses. I use lighter cooler greens in the distance at first. I do go in with some bright greens at the end. Warmer darker greens in the foreground...some cool dark greens in the shadows.
  9. I add the finishing touches with a few...just a few pieces of grass and some sparkle on the water. I have now remade a marsh to something more my liking!
It was fun to revisit this painting and with fresh eyes and more experience decide how to resolve it. Do you have any unfinished paintings that could use some love?


Sharon Orlando-Evans said...

Hi Karen, beautiful! I love it when you show all the steps...thank you. As a newer artist I find many of my paintings could and can be reworked. Great information !Sharon

Karen said...

Thank you Sharon! I appreciate your comments. I'm glad you like the step by step photos. It is easy to make the collage which makes it easy to post. The hard part is to remember to stop and take pictures when I am painting!

Jo Castillo said...

Beautiful, thank you for sharing your work in progress. Always fun to see how others work.

Cmichaudart said...

So glad the boat and nets never made it! Yes, I have several that need to be reworked but I usually toss them in disgust, the ones I find are greatly improved by some time on their own and a fresh eye...thanks for reminding me of this!

PAT MEYER -- said...

Really enjoyed seeing the process an read your thoughts about each area. How giving you are to do that. The painting turned out so wonderful. Again, thank you for posting.

Karen said...

Thank you Jo! It's my pleasure to share!

Karen said...

Thank you Cindy! Yes I am actually glad the commission was cancelled so I could let this painting be what it wanted to be!

Karen said...

Thank you Pat! I appreciate you visiting my blog and hope you will come back. I try to post at least one mini demo each week!

Dorcas said...

OMGoodness this piece is so gorgeous I can't take my eyes off it. Thank you so much for the inspiration. I love your blog!!