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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why it is Good to Paint in the Dark

'Royalty'        2.5x3.5     pastel          ©Karen Margulis  BID HERE

'Kitten Love'              2.5x3.5         Pastel          BID HERE
Paint in the Dark! How can that be a good thing? I'm not talking about painting nocturnes either. Let me set the scene for you.  I don't watch much TV but I do enjoy the Olympics so my plan was to set up my pastels in front of the TV this week and work on minis while I watch the Olympics each evening.  I enjoy sitting at a table to paint these small 2.5x3.5 pastels so it would be a perfect combination. Paint and watch TV!  Only it didn't work out the way I planned.
The lighting in our den is great in the daylight. We have lots of big windows (it would make a great studio) But at night, the lighting is terrible. I didn't count on it being so dark!  I should have set up some lights but instead I was impatient and painted anyway in the poor light. I could hardly see my pastels. But I painted away and finished 10 cat minis.  It was a great lesson though....Here's why.....

My Olympic Cats painted by the light of the Television!
  • Have you ever heard the saying the Value does all the work but Color gets the glory? That means that if you have the correct value you can get away with unexpected colors and make it work. Purple and green in cat fur? If the value is right then it will look like a cat.  In the bad light I couldn't really make out the colors of my pastels but I could tell how dark or light they were. I painted more by choosing the correct value rather than a specific color. Not seeing the color was actually a good thing!
  • How about detail and precision? I couldn't see well enough to get very detailed and fussy. I made sure to get the general shapes in the right place....big shapes with a hint of detail. Easier to do in the dim light! It's a great way to loosen up.
  • Surprises! I admit that I was feeling a bit frustrated because I was having trouble seeing the colors but after awhile I embraced the fun of just laying down the pastel and making marks. Bringing the paintings into the light and seeing some of the color choices I ended up with was a lot of fun!
 I don't recommend that you go into your studio and dim the lights. But it ended up being a very good exercise for me. I have a pair of glasses with red lenses that might do a similar thing....I'll try them and report back!

I will be listing my Olympic Cat Series on Daily Paintwork's Auctions this week in case you'd like to add one to your collection! Click Here to see my auctions. Opening bids begin at $12


mary maxam said...

These cats are fabulous and thanks for reminding me about that perfect truism about value and color. Great post- love your work!

Marian Fortunati said...

What a great exercise!! And the results were wonderful as well!

Karen said...

Thank you Mary! I always try to keep that in mind when I paint! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Karen said...

Thanks Marian! Now I need to figure out a way to try it with my students!

Karin Goeppert said...

When I saw the cats I was looking for the "like" button! LOL
Actually I love them. The exercise sounds like fun.

Karen said...

Thanks Karin! I do that too! lol Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it!