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Monday, August 06, 2012

Pastel Demo ...Hollyhocks in New Mexico

'Happiness is a Hollyhock'      6x12        pastel sold

It's Monday and Demo Day on the blog.  I am going to try to make every Monday Demo Day. Today I have done a pastel demo with a watercolor underpainting.   I am on a Hollyhock kick so this week my posts will feature the new paintings in my Hollyhock series. Yesterday it was an acrylic and today I actually painted two pastels. Look for the second demo in a future post.

The first question I ask myself before starting a painting is What do I want to say and how can I best say it. For this painting I wanted a more intimate view of the flowers and I wanted to showcase the delicateness of the blooms. I thought that using a long narrow format with a loose watercolor underpainting will set up the painting nicely.



  1. (from top left)  I am using white Wallis museum which takes watercolor beautifully. I sketched the flowers with a pencil and started with the watercolors. I want to put in the darkest colors first so I put in some red and dark pinks.
  2. I continue with watercolor putting in the darkest greens. I also put in some darker yellow. I don't wat the watercolor to be too wet and drippy at this point.
  3. I step aside for a few minutes to allow the paint to dry slightly. I want to put in some light blue-greens in the background but I know if I let the rest of the paint dry, I can wash in the background color. This keeps the color as vibrant as possible.
  4. This photo shows the first layers of pastel. I want to let the watercolor peek through so I am using a light touch. I begin by reinforcing all of the dark areas....the leaves and the darker shadows on the petals. I start to add some light warmer greens to the leaves. I also put in some color in the background. I decided to go with a pale blue-green to set off the flowers. I haven't worked much on the flowers. I am saving them for last!
  5. Now it is time to develop the flowers. I have a selection of reds and pinks and layer them from darlest to lightest.I work on the greens and yellows in the centers.
  6. For the final stage I add some sharper edges on the flower with the edge of a Mt Vision pastel. I also put in the pale yellow centers. I decide that I need a few more leaves to cover up the stem that I felt was to obvious and straight. Finished! 
I used my cheapo watercolors because I love these bright colors

The pastels I used for this painting...limited!
 If you would like to read more about watercolor underpaintings see my post here

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2 comments:

PAT MEYER -- said...

Loved seeing how you developed this painting. The outcome is flowing with color and freedom of the flowers. Try artist share their ablities and think outside the box both which you did. So a Big Thank You!!

Karen said...

Thank you very much Pat! I appreciate your comments and your thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed my demo post!! I hope to do one each Monday.