'Beach Walk' 9x12 pastel ©Karen Margulis $160 purchase here
It's Day #3 of Beach Week on the blog. It has been awhile since I painted the beach so it has been fun for me to take out my big stack of beach photos and paint! When I asked my students to write down two questions about painting the beach the most popular questions were these:
How do you paint sand that looks granular? How do you know what colors to use in the sand?
There is actually a simple answer to this question. With pastels we usually work dark to light and it is no exceptions for painting sand which tends to be a light value.
- The problem we often have is that we start painting the sand with a color that is close to what we want or the local color. Then we end up with a big area of very light value sand color and it looks flat and boring. Remember....dark to light!
- So I like to start painting my sandy areas with a darker and more intense color than I plan on ending up with. I layer the colors getting gradually lighter ad brighter. I also sometimes do an underpainting in a brighter bolder color.
- Then when layering the pastels I use a very light touch so that the darker layers show through. These darker bits are what gives the granular look to the sand. LIGHT TOUCH is the KEY!
My Cheat Sheet for Painting Sand
How about choosing sand colors? Remember that the colors of the sand will vary greatly from beach to beach depending on the make-up of the sand. Coral based sands can be pink or white, shell based sands can be golden or bleached white. There are grey sands, peach sands even black sand beaches.
Once I decide the color of the sand I choose several values of the color so that I can build up my layers making the rich texture I discussed above.