Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pastel Demo...Landscape on Homemade Surface

'Meadow Walk'                8x10          pastel                 ©Karen Margulis
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I love texture!  A great way to introduce texture to a pastel painting is to use a textured surface. Most commercial  pastel papers have a smooth and even surface. Even the roughest sanded paper tends to have an even surface. That is why I love using my own prepared surfaces. I can make them as rough and irregular as I want.  I don't use my own surfaces that often because I don't take the time to make them. It isn't hard to do so I really need to make them more often. I love painting on them!

Today I'd like to share a step by step demo of 'Meadow Walk'


  1. (from top left)  I am using my own homemade support which is a pumice and gesso brushed onto a piece of Gator foam. I tinted my pumice mixture with Golden liquid acrylic before I applied it to the board.
  2. I lightly sketched my main shapes with a purple Nupastel.  My first step is to block in the dark shapes. Anything that is dark is blocked in with a dark purple, dark blue and dark green. I am using all soft pastels (see below)
  3. In this step you can see I have extended the dark down into the meadow to add a subtle leading line into the painting. It will be covered by the grasses but I need to put it in early.  I have also put in some mauve in the distant field, This will give added interest to the greens. I have also started to block in the mountain colors.
  4. In this step I continue to add some blues and purples to the mountain. I am starting to carve into the tree shapes with the mountain color to make the shapes more interesting. I block in the sky with a dew colors....pale blues and peach.
  5. In this step I am introducing some green. I have developed the trees further and added some light cool green in the distant field.
  6. Now I work on the meadow. I added some pinks and peaches and I actually like the warmth that these colors add. I probably could have stopped at this point but I kept going and added some greens. I ended up overworking this part of the painting. So I rubbed it in and sprayed the bottom with workable fixative. 
  7. See the darkness from the fixative? When it was dry I reworked the meadow adding more greens.  The warm colors I had put in now help make the green more exciting. I added a nice bright green in the distance and to help explain this bright spot I added a heavy layer of pale peach to the sky in the form of light peeking out through an overcast sky.
  8. Now for the finishing touches. I refined the trees and scumbled some lighter greens on the trees. A few marks for wildflowers place to lead viewers into the painting and I am done. I signed with a pastel pencil.
My palette of soft pastels used for 'Meadow Walk'
 If you would like to try your own homemade surface, there are several recipes and products you can use. I wrote about it in this post about loosening up your painting style HERE

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4 comments:

Adriana Guidi said...

Thank you so much Karen for this info on creating your own pastel surface! You've made it easy to follow!

Karen said...

Thank you Adriana! I appreciate you letting me know. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Anonymous said...

Karen...this demo was very interesting and helpful. Hope to see you demo in person some day!
Carol

Vanessa said...

Karen, thanks for posting the step by step process. It's so helpful to see and hear how you worked through each phase and what you were aiming to achieve. The textured surface really adds to the landscape and makes it pretty vivid. I like this idea! Will have to give it a try.