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Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Pastel Demo on Canson

'Spirit Meadow'        8x10         pastel     ©Karen Margulis
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 I wish I could follow my own advice.  In a recent post I wrote about making time to practice things learned in a workshop.  I don't have much free time this week since my new pastel classes start tomorrow.  So I have today.  I decided to reread my notes and try a painting with the method Doug Dawson used in his demo.

It wasn't too unfamiliar because I tend to work in a similar way. But there are some things Doug did that I will be using more often.  He didn't do a wet underpainting but rather did a block in with four colors.  Follow along with my demo for more.

The 4 pastels I chose for my block in.
 The first step is to do a black and white thumbnail. I will share more about that in another post this week.  Sometimes Doug will do a few color studies before starting the painting, but if not he does test the colors he chooses for his first layer.  There are several ways he chooses the four colors but for this one I decided to go with 4 different values.

While looking at my black & white thumbnail I block in the big simple shapes with the four colors. I don't look at the reference photo for this step. I am using a piece of burgundy Canson Mi-Teintes paper. After blocking in the 4 colors I rub in the lights so the dark paper won't be distracting.

At this point I evaluate the design of the painting and it is just a matter of adding more color and details and refining the shapes.  I put aside the thumbnail and work from my photo.

I add some dark greens to the trees.  Add some yellows to the sky.  I add some cooler colors to the distant tree line. I am using a light touch and glazing over the first layer of pastel.

I continue to refine shapes. I make more skyholes in the trees.  I add the bright yellow green in the distant meadow.  At this point I have to decide where I want to soften some edges and where I want to have the most clarity and sharper edges. Can you tell where I used hard edges?  Soft?

More refining. I add some pale yellow to the sky and glaze some yellow green onto the purple grasses.  I thought I was done at this point until I took a break and came back to the painting. I decided the painting needed some punctuation marks.....some little pops of color. I add them. You can see them in the top photo. Can you see where they are?

If you would like to read my day by day report of my workshop with Doug Dawson click here 

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