Sunday, April 29, 2012

Simple Techniques for Painting Grass

'Stormy Weather Ahead'           8x10     oil stain on paper         ©Karen Margulis  $75
 It is so easy to paint stiff grass.  You know the kind I am talking about. Grassy areas that look too manicured. Grasses that look rigid and unnatural. The difficulty comes about because we tend to paint grasses the way we think they are ...the symbol in our brains for grass often resemble a green grassy fence.(think of how a child draws grass)  We don't always look as carefully as we should.  So my first bit of advice is to be observant and pay attention to the colors and movement of the grasses.  Here are someother tips to help you paint more 'painterly' grasses.

My chart of ideas for painting grasses
  •  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.
Painting on a heavily textured surface makes easy grass with out painting a single blade!

'Autumn Prelude'           8x10        pastel

6 comments:

Maggie Latham said...

I really enjoyed this post. Thank you.

Karen said...

Thanks Maggie, my students enjoyed painting the marsh grasses at the workshop yesterday. I find it is one of the things we often struggle with in landscapes!

robertsloan2art said...

Great article. The painting with the drips is fascinating. I've never tried using drips deliberately, fought them anytime I used a liquid medium. Might have to try sometime.

Karen said...

Hi Robert! Don't fight the drips!! They can be so much fun. Of course they work better for some subjects than others but when they work they are so much fun!

rsbamberg said...

Hi Karen, just wanted to say that had a great time Saturday and Sunday..learned a lot!...now need to apply it before it slips away ;) Actually, I have finished 2 paintings from the workshop and will post a pic soon for your comments/feedback. On my drive home, I noticed a low area close to a lake and just had a split second to catch a glimpse of some nesting egrets!! Already have a sketch done and an UP designed; will start with painting when I get my new Great American and Terry Ludwig pastels tomorrow! I am soo excited, tonight I aloe sketched out 2 other scenes and started an alcohol wash on a third! Appreciate all your advice and sharing....taje care more later!

Karen said...

Hi Rhonda, it was such a pleasure having you come to my workshops and getting to know you better. I am so impressed with what you are doing and I know that if you keep it up you will be well on your way! I'll look forward to seeing your paintings and let me know how you like your new pastels!!