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Friday, October 19, 2012

Simplify the Clutter with Smaller Paintings

'Hope Valley'      2.5 x 3.5     pastel    ©Karen Margulis
available at Daily Paintworks $20 click here
Mother Nature can be so overwhelming.  So many landscapes are packed with beauty it is hard to know how to fit it all into a painting.  I remind myself that I don't really need to fit it all into a single painting. I can pick and choose what I want to say in a painting and save some of the good stuff for another painting!

It is easier said than done. Even once you have narrowed down your subject or focus, the scene can still include an overwhelming amount of details.

Take this scene from Hope Valley California near Lake Tahoe.  I had a wonderful visit to this beautiful part of the country for a Richard McKinley workshop 2 years ago.  I wanted to paint the scene in my photo. I liked the river winding back to the fir trees. But the photo had so many trees and bushes. If I put all of them in I might end up with a spotty mess!

My reference photo along with my mini pastel study
Earlier this week I shared one of my methods for simplifying a complicated scene.  I use a photo program to blur the reference photo which makes all of the details fuzzy. It is easy to see the big simple shapes this way.  Another method I like to use is to do a small color study. I work very small....2.5 x 3.5 inches.  I also use by big pastel pieces....never pastel pencils. I want to paint with 'big brushes' so that I can only put down the big shapes. I don't want to put in the details. Now I can use this little study to help me remember to keep it simple even when I use a larger piece of paper!

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