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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Pastel Demo ...Winter Landscape with a Value Underpainting

'Winter Delight'            8x10           pastel       ©Karen Margulis   Purchase here $145
I love painting the winter landscape.  In my pastel classes we will be working on snow and winter for the next two weeks. The underpainting or colors you choose for your paper have an impact on the mood of the painting so we will be trying several options to see the results.  For our first painting we will do a value underpainting using Nupastel and rubbing alcohol.

I love this method of starting a painting for any subject that has strong contrasts such as snow and sand. Here is what you need if you'd like to give it a try:

  • sanded paper. I am using Uart
  • dark blue/purple Nupastel. Any dark will work but I like the rich blue-purple #
  • rubbing alcohol and a cheap stiff bristle brush.

Step 1  After doing a thumbnail/value study (not shown) Block in the darks shapes with the side of the Nupastel. Squint to see the big shapes. Avoid putting down spots of dark. Connect the dark shapes when possible. You don't want a 'spotty' painting!

Next, dip your brush in the alcohol and brush it onto the Nupastel. Take time and care with this step and try to have your brush strokes describe what you are painting. Let dry.

 Step 2   I begin by reinforcing the dark with a couple of layers of softer pastels. I used a dark blue and dark burgundy.After all the darks are in place I work on the sky. I used a few blues in the sky getting lighter and warmer closest to the horizon.  I put in sky holes to break up the tree trunks and branches.

Next I introduce some color to the distant treeline and the scrubby brush with some reds and greens. Now it is time to put in the shadows in the snow.  I make the shadows in the foreground warmer blues (turquoises) getting more lavender then pale blue as they go back into space.
I also draw in a few branches with the sharp edge of the Nupastel.

Time to warm up the tree trunks with a dark peach. I also warm up the scrubby brush with some warm greens and oranges and reds.  Finally....my favorite part...putting in the Light snow!
 Up until this  point I have avoided the light snow. I want everything else to be in place so I can go boldly in with my strokes of light pastel. The key is to go bold and fearless !  I use the a pale yellow for the foreground snow progressing to a dull rosy pinkish grey for the distant snow.

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Time for the finishing touches!  Using the same pale values I used in the snow, I highlight the white bark on the trees. I then go in ad add some darker 'scar' areas on the trunks. I put in a few more branches and sky holes and call it finished!


Mario Vukelic said...

Karen, Beautiful painting and a great demo!

Karen said...

Thank you Mario!

Anonymous said...

Another great snow scene!