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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

It's Only Paper! Paint without Fear

'Fire and Ice'         12x24        pastel       ©Karen Margulis
I got the nicest compliment at my demo last night. The artist said to me "You paint with so much confidence. It's like you aren't afraid!"  And she was right. I'm not afraid ...usually. Because I know it is only a piece of paper.  But sometimes I have to remind myself. Sometimes I have to convince myself to try something because I have nothing to lose but a little of my time and a piece of paper.

Take today's painting of Bryce Canyon in the snow. My husband and I took a Winter trip to the Southwest  several years ago before I started painting. We had snow the entire adventure. We even got snowed in at the Grand Canyon!  But the snow turned the landscape into a a magical wonderland. The red rocks covered in snow was a sight to see.  I took photos. But I haven't had the nerve to paint them. How could I possible capture the beauty I experienced?

close up of'  Fire and Ice'

The other day I was flipping through my winter photos and the one of Bryce in the snow caught my eye. Should I try to paint this? Dare I give it a go?  I had been avoiding it for years never feeling capable enough (sound familiar?) But This time it was different.

I had given up my fear of failure. What did it matter if the painting didn't turn out? Who would even know besides the dog? And who would care. Not the dog.  It is only paper and if I din't like it I could brush it out, spray it or do any number of things to play with it.  The most important thing is that I tried and that I had fun doing it.

So I put on some Native American flute music to get me in the mood. I cut a long narrow piece of paper. (the scale of it doesn't read well on the blog) I chose to do an oil stain underpainting. I let it dry and kept on painting. At some point I realized I had finished. I was so involved that I had lost track of time. Sure, there were things that needed fixing but I felt a sense of accomplishment that I didn't let fear stop me from painting.

'Bryce Canyon Snow'      5x7    pastel
available in my Etsy shop  $75 buy here
Sometimes you have to trick yourself into believing that you are confident.....that you CAN paint. Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and just do it..... after all it is only paper!


Paula Campbell said...

Karen, could you do a post on brushing out a painting? I've brushed out small areas, but I've read about artists' brushing out entire paintings. What kind of brush, how do you get rid of the pastel dust, etc? And do you then spray before starting another painting?

Julie Ford Oliver said...

This has really captured the amazing colors of the rock formations. I have been there in the snow and think you need to be congratulated on doing such a wonderful painting.

Calvin Tromp said...

Hi Karen, great paintings!
I am setting up a spare room as a studio. I noticed you mentioned you use fluorescent lights in an old post, a mix of warm and cool. Does this replicate natural light? (Most globes these days come in either warm or cool).
Thanks, love the blog.

Karen said...

Paula, that is a great post idea. I will address in in the next few days! I'll answer all your questions but the short answer is Yes you can brush out the whole painting and spray or not. It is actually a fun technique!

Karen said...

Thank you Julie!! I really appreciate your feedback!

Karen said...

Thank you Calvin! I'm not sure if it replicates natural light but I do know it makes the light much more pleasing....not to yellow or too green or too blue!

Carol Flatt said...

Beautifully written, Karen, and so true! I've had one or more paintings that I, too, would have liked to tackle, and I came up with several excuses not to. Your description of hesitation pushes me to take another look at the photo. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I thought I was brave earlier this week when I broke my first pastel. I'd been working with half-sticks, and needed something smaller, that's when the realization kicked in, that it's ok to break them. You're painting turned out nicely!

Karen said...

Thank you Carol! I really appreciate your feedback! Good luck with your painting!

Karen said...

Glad to hear it Patti! It really can make a big difference in painting!!