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Monday, October 22, 2012

Demo Monday... Full Key vs. High Key Painting

'Paradise'     8x10   pastel    ©Karen Margulis
available $95 through Daily Paintworks
My Virgin Island Beach Painting series continues this week with a new demo.  Last week I shared my first painting of Sapphire Beach. My goal is to paint a series of at least 5 paintings focused on the beaches of St. Thomas USVI.  Sometimes it is challenging to take the same subject or reference photo and make it different. After a few versions they can start to look too similar.

I decided I would give myself a new challenge for each painting in the series. For this painting I challenged myself to change the color key of the painting and do a Full key and High key version of the same scene.

The Key refers to the overall value of a painting. When the overall values of a painting are light or pale it is known as a High Key painting. Full key paintings utilize the full range of values from the darkest dark to the lightest light. High key paintings only utilize middle to light values with no real darks.  This demo shows my Full Key painting. I will discuss how to paint a High Key painting in another post.
Enjoy today's demo!

 I am working on Uart paper and starting with soft pastels with no underpainting. I begin by blocking in the darks with some dark red and greens. Notice the very light sketch...just the big shapes and no details. I also block in some shadows so I know where they will be.

 Next I block in the light beginning with the sky. I use several shades of blue starting with darker blues with light blues on top. I also put down some of the darker blu into the water area.

 I complete the sky. I allow the layers of blue to blend themselves. I don't blend with my fingers. I also now add some of those yummy Terry Ludwig Turquoise pastels to the water. I try to leave some of my strokes visible.

 Next I block in the distant mountain shape. I am using cool grayed down blues and greens layered with some mauves. I want the cooler muted mountain to look like it is in the distance.  As you can see my palm trees have disappeared! Not to worry!

 I resurrect the palm trees next by putting down some dark greens. I am very loose with them. I don't want them to look to precise. I like the windblown look for my palm trees. Next I reinforce the darks and the shadows and lay in a darker yellow/gold for the sand. I want a darker sand color underneath to contrast with the lighter sand I will add later.

Now I add some brighter warmer greens to the palms and the shrubs. I try to pay attention to the direction of the light source.  To finish the painting I add light on the tree trunks and a very pale peach almost white layer of pastel to the sand. (see top photo for the finished Full Key painting) Below is the High Key version. For this painting I removed all of the darks and worked with only middle to light values.

'Paradise II'     8x10    pastel 

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