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Thursday, October 25, 2012

How To Paint a Dragonfly with Pastels

'Dragonfly Magic'           5x7        pastel       ©Karen Margulis
available in my Etsy Shop  $75 click here
 I am fascinated by the dragonfly. When they hold still long enough to watch I can really appreciate their delicate beauty.  My friend Jayne has taken some wonderful macro shots of dragonflies and these photos really have allowed me to study these beautiful creatures.  Over the last few years I have experimented with techniques to capture the dragonfly with my pastels. I'd like to share one of my methods.

Step One Using Workable Fixative

  • For this painting I am using Uart paper 500 grit. It is 5x7.  I start by blocking in the background colors and the dragonfly with hard pastels. I use dark blue and black on the wings. 
  • My goal is to have the wings appear lacy and transparent and it seems odd to paint them black but stay with me!
  • Next I spray the dragonfly with Blair Workable Fixative. It dripped some but that's OK
  • When the fixative is dry I use my softer pastels to add another layer. I begin with the background.
  • Next I work on the dragonfly and add color to the body and some yellow gold to the wings. Making the wings lacy is the last step.
  • I use an iridescent pale silver/green pastel and lightly add a layer on top of the dark wings.
  • Next I take a pushpin and draw lines into the pastel (see photo) This is like scratch art!  I look at my photos to see how to draw the lines to look like the lacy wings. I also use a sharp black pastel pencil to add some dark touches.  Finished!

The Secret to Dragonfly Wings
I am working on more dragonflies and will be adding them to my Etsy shop. Have a look at my work in my shop! Click here.


Peggy said...

What a neat idea Karen! Thanks for sharing that. I am going to have to try it :)

Karen said...

Thanks Peggy! It's a fun little trick that you can use for many things!

Debbie Shirley said...

Just beautiful! It does look magical.

Is that an iridescent gold on the green background, too?
Love it!

Melissa Adams said...

Wow, that is genius! I never would have thought to scratch off the pastel with a tack! I wonder if that will work with acrylic paintings too... I am definitely going to have to try this out. Thanks for the tip! =)