|'Mellow' 4x4" pastel ©Karen Margulis sold|
I demonstrated two techniques I use to help me simplify the grasses in a marsh landscape. One was using an oil stain underpainting to suggest details. (see my post yesterday to learn more) The second involves the use of fixative.
|Enlarge to see the effects of the fixative|
I find that by fixing the early layers, the layers that go on top tend to skip and let the bottom layers show through. This gives a look of texture and the feeling of grass and ground. It creates a very simple arrangement of color and value so that it isn't necessary to spell out every blade of grass. Here is the process:
- I use Blair Very Low Odor workable fixative (still smells)
- I work on a toned sanded surface. I like to use Wallis Belgian Mist.
- I use only my softest pastels such as Terry Ludwig pastels. I don't do an underpainting or build layers with harder pastels first. I go right in with the soft! This is why I prefer a toned surface so that if I don't cover all the paper it will still work with the painting.
- I block in the ground first with a few layers of rich dark colors. This is my 'dirt'
- Now I block off the sky area with a piece of paper and spray only the dark ground with the fixative. I try to keep it light. I don't want it to be too wet or drippy.
- Once the fixative dries I finish the sky before moving onto the ground.
- Next I paint the grasses by using narrow horizontal strokes that get wider as I move closer to the foreground. I make sure I choose colors that help support the illusion of aerial perspective.
- If I choose to add more detail I can put in a few blades of grass. I try to remember restraint and not put in too many blades of grass.....remember SUGGEST details and leave a bit of mystery in your painting.