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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Pastel Demo with NO Underpainting

'The Grand Finale'          11x14       pastel     ©Karen Margulis
available through Daily Paintworks  $165
I love underpaintings. I probably use some kind of underpainting for 95% of my pastel paintings.  I love the head start of an underpainting. Sometimes it even feels like I am cheating.  I love the surprises from a wet underpainting.  But sometimes I don't bother with an underpainting.

Sometimes I just want to get in there with some of my softest, juiciest pastels and just paint. I don't bother with a slow build-up of pastel layers. I just start by quickly blocking in the big shapes of light and dark. I try to be bold and sure of my strokes.  Since the pastels are so soft, they fill the tooth of the paper quickly. I also try to stop painting before I overwork it and create muddy colors. Read on for a step by step demo of this painting.


step by step demo

  • (from left to right)  I am using Uart paper. It has a nice manilla color that isn't distracting if it peeks through in spots. I lightly sketch in the big shapes with a Nupastel. I am working from a small photo of a marsh sunset but I made quite a few changes.
  • Next I choose a few dark pastels and block in the dark shapes.  I am using Terry Ludwig darks.
  • I begin to model the trees and block in the distant land mass with some blue-purples.
  • Now it is time to block in the sky. In my photo the sunset sky was just orange. I decided to add some clouds and used another photo for inspiration. I blocked the clouds in quickly using several pink and peach pastels. The lower cloud bank had more purples.  I filled in the space with a pale blue sky. I didn't blend the clouds or sky at all. I put down a stroke and left it alone (hard to do but I made myself stop)
  • The finishing touches: I put some of the pinks down into the water and dragged some of the land color down into the water to create reflections.  I also added some darker orange to the tree tops to give them some of the sunset glow. 

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

I just love when you show your work in steps! Are you still considering the online classes/email lessons?