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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Painting Queen Annes Lace in Oil...Mini Demo

'A Sea of Lace'            16x20   oil on canvas   ©Karen Margulis   available here $320
I always wonder how an artist works out a painting. How did they start? What steps did they go through? What colors did they use?  I love to watch an artist do a demo and I try to do a demo painting in all of my classes. I always learned the most from watching my teachers paint. Today I am sharing a photo collage of the painting I just finished.  I am working on some wildflower studies for a large commission (30x40) I want to be sure my client and I agree on the colors and composition. This painting incorporates the flowers and colors she would like. I have a few more ideas to work on before I present them to her.

mini demo of an oil painting on canvas (16x20)
If you have been following my blog you know I have been working with oils this month. I have been working with a limited palette of white,black, cad yellow med, alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue. I am developing a painting much in the same way that I paint with pastels.
  1. (from top left)   The first thing I do is mix some red and yellow and make it soupy with some gamsol. I establish the basic shapes of the flower heads with some reds, oranges and purples. Then I make a very wet light orange for the sky and let it drip into the flowers. I let this dry so that the drips and spiderwebs appear. (it was dry in about an hour) 
  2. Using loose paint but not as drippy as my underpainting, I start to build up the flowers with salmon and yellows.
  3. I mix up some purples and blues to establish shadows and distant flowers. I also put in the sky with a pale pink-purple. I work the sky down into the flowers.
  4. Now it is time to put in some greens. I start with the darkest greens. For the lighter greens I use thin paint and let it drip. I don't want to completely cover the cool spiderwebs of the underpainting so I am keeping the paint thin.
  5. Next I am ready to put in thicker paint on the flowers. I am using  peaches, salmons,purples and blues ans well as thicker greens.
  6. It is now just a matter of building up the flowers with thicker paint. I use a palette knife to get some sharp edges and petals. I also splattered some greens in the foliage for texture. 
My reference for this painting was one of my pastel paintings. It was great because it kept me loose and not to worried about copying the details in a photo.  So much fun!

2 comments:

robertsloan2art said...

Wow! Thank you! This is gorgeous. Your process fascinated me and wasn't anything like what I imagined - because I'm still doing it all with pastels. Thank you so much for doing an oils demo.

It really is very different and I'm going to have to try this sometime. Maybe once I've got my schedule more sorted out and get some days of rest after going out to medical appointments so I get some high energy days without obligations - or get to go plein air painting again and dare try the oils out on plein air. There's always that!

Karen said...

Thank you Robert! I hope you do get a chance to try the oils. I actually found it easier to manage the oils plein air than the pastels. It was less stuff to cary and I could make so many colors with just a few tubes of paint. I can't wait to try my new bag and take the oils outside again!