|'Summer Green' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
It's been raining in Georgia just about everyday this summer. So everything is very lush and green. My weeds are out of control. But it's raining so I spent the day inside painting instead of pulling weeds. I decided to paint a summer landscape from a tiny photo I took of a roadside mountain stream. I took some progress photos so follow along and see how I tried to make a very green landscape interesting.
I started the painting on a piece of Uart 600 grit paper with a loose charcoal drawing. I then underpaint the shapes with some orange and red NuPastels. I blend in the Nupastel with a piece of pipe insulation foam. I chose the reds and orange because I knew I would be adding a lot of green. So in using the compliment of the greens I would make the greens more exciting.
I started blocking in the dark shapes. I am now using soft pastels. This painting was done only using Terry Ludwig pastels. Next I put in the bright yellows in the sunlit areas of the grass. One of the things I liked about this scene was the strong light and shadow patterns so I wanted to be sure to get them in place early on.
I am using a variety of greens from Terry Ludwig's green set. I have some dark cool greens in the distance and shaded areas. I then put in the sky using a very pale blue green. I also use the same colors in the water. I try to break up the shape of the trees with sky color.
I now introduce some purple in the tree trunks and along the banks. One of my favorite quotes from Richard McKinley is about the secret of green. He says the secret of green is orange and violet is the friend. I like to keep this thought in mind when I am dealing with a lot of green in the landscape. In this painting the orange is the underpainting and the violet is the little touches I put in as I finish the painting.
I continue building up the layers of green. I am using bold strokes. I want to let some of the orange peek through and the bold stokes keep me from overblending the green and orange which could make the greens look muddy. I add the final punctuation marks such as the orange in the tree trunks and little purple marks in the grass.