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Thursday, July 05, 2012

10 Minutes to More Painterly Paintings

'Distant Memories'         5x7         pastel       ©Karen Margulis   $45 buy here
Do you want to create more painterly paintings?  Would you like to become a more confident painter?   Do you have 10 minutes a day to spare?  When I was working full time I was lucky if I could find any time to paint but I could always manage 10 minutes. What good can 10 minutes of painting do? The paintings in today's post are all 10 minute studies. Read on to see how they can help.

'Sea Days'        5x7         pastel
"Simplification is about finding large forms or planes, not minutia."  Ann Templeton

I believe the key to painterly work is to learn how to simplify the subject. If we can distill the subject into a collection of simple shapes and start with a good abstraction, we can then decide just how much detail we need to put in.  If we get caught up in the details we tend to tighten up and we can easily lose the freshness. How can we learn to simplify....that's where the 10 minutes comes in.

'Trees on a Hill'       5x7         pastel
 I find that the more time I spend on a painting the more details I add and the 'tighter' my painting becomes.  If I want a fresh and loose painting I will stop before I think I am done and then I evaluate how much more I need. At this point I only allow myself one mark at a time. I want to quickly determine the big simple shapes and design of the painting and block them in.  Simplifying things quickly isn't magic it just takes practice...lots of it.  If you can devote 10 minutes a day to doing a quick study....your ability to simplify and paint with a quick and sure hand will improve. Here is a suggested exercise to try:
  • Set up a small area with precut paper size 5x7 or smaller. You should have quick and easy access to your supplies.
  • Have a stack of references photos...you don't want to spend your 10 minutes looking for  photo to paint.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes. Don't draw your scene with a pencil....block in your big shapes with a pastel or paint brush for oils/acrylics.  You will tend to fill in the lines if your drawing is to precise.
  • Don't worry so much about color for your 10 minute studies....go with you intuition and play with color. The idea is to simplify in these studies not match the color in your references.
  • At the end of 10 minutes STOP. Now look at your study and decide what you would add or take away.  Learn from each study!  Save them and use them for future paintings.

'Indian Summer Marsh'        5x7       pastel
I love doing these quick 10 minute studies and I know that I learn so much from doing them.  The more you do the easier it will be to simplify and to avoid getting bogged down with minutia!

I am offering these studies and more for my studio sale this month. You can see them all on my Studio Sale Pinterest Board HERE


DMannion said...

Very good post, Karen! Useful and inspiring. Love the beach scene. Promise to try this tomorrow!

Karen said...

Thanks! I did this today with a student and it was a lot of fun and productive too!

Cindy Michaud said...

excellent post and great work...I will renew my vow of discipline!

Julie Ford Oliver said...

You are brilliant, Karen. Great lesson.These are really, really good. They would take me hours.

Sharon Whitley said...

very inspiring post - I keep meaning to try this but haven't as yet!

Karen said...

Thank you Cindy, Julie and Sharon! I hope you do the 10 minute studies! They are so much fun!

Shinhuey Ho said...

Karen, I love those 10-minute paintings you did. Fresh and interesting! I am inspired!

Karen said...

Thank you Shinhuey! I appreciate your comment!

Christa Forrest Fine Art said...

Thanks - currently I give myself an hour to 2 every morning starting at 4am - but I will have to try the 10 minutes - Thanks for the inspiration.

Karen said...

Thanks Christa! You could do the 10 minute studies as a warm up!! Thanks for reading my blog!