Monday, July 29, 2013

My Thoughts on Exploring a New Artistic Direction


'Wandering West'           6x12       pastel      ©Karen Margulis
purchase painting with Paypal $95

Something strange happened this summer.  One of my students told me they noticed that my pastels no longer whisper. I don't know if that is a bad thing or not. But she is right. It seems now that when I have a pastel in my hand I want to put down big bold marks. I don't seem to want to build up layer upon layer of pastel. I seem to want to choose a color, make a mark and leave it alone.  What happened to the whispering light touch that I advise my students to use?  Will it come back?

I remember exactly the day it went away. I was on my Southwest trip. We were in Springdale Utah. I was sitting on a bench outside of the coffee shop doing my daily painting. It was a view of the cliffs of Zion National Park. The light was perfect and the colors on the hillside were exciting.

I picked up a piece of 305 Nupastel and did a quick drawing. I wanted to capture the light and colors so I worked very quickly using big chunky marks and pressed down hard. Some of the dark lines were left in place.  After that day the rest of my daily paintings went in a similar direction.

The strange  thing was...I wasn't trying to do anything different. It was just happening. And I was excited about it. I wanted to do more to see what would happen.


drawing with compressed charcoal


dry underpainting with Nupastels

When I returned home from the trip. I got right to work painting from my photos.  I didn't really think about how I would paint but I noticed that I was painting differently....more like my last daily paintings. As my student noted...I wasn't whispering.  And now a month later I realize that I am really enjoying this new way of working.  But I have concerns.

Is this a natural progression in my journey as an artist or just a summer exploration?  Should I go back and try to paint like I did a month ago or should I just enjoy what I am doing?

I'd love to discuss this with other artists who have experienced this. But for now I believe that things happen for a reason. I stopped whispering for a reason and though it may not yet be clear to me. I need to keep exploring and see how it all fits. I think we learn something from everything we try. And maybe the things I am trying this summer will something that will help me grow. I will just enjoy the journey for now!

18 comments:

Brie Dodson said...

I enjoyed reading about your summer transition to bolder painting. I think the thing to do is just keep painting, however you are moved to paint each day, and the rest will work itself out.

Karen said...

Thank you Brie! Good advice for all of us to follow!

james said...

Hi Karen. James here. I don't know that I have any advice, but I just want to say that I am enjoying your paintings more than ever, and that's saying a lot because I loved them so much before. I wouldn't try to over think things too much, just enjoy what you're doing.

Karen said...

Thank you James! I appreciate your thoughts! And you're right I don't want to overthink it and just keep having fun!

Anna Vreman said...

Karen, I noticed the change in your style when you posted your early and late trip works at the same time. My thought was that you had gone from recording the scene to interpreting the scene. Very exciting! I love the boldness and freshness of your recent paintings.
Anna Vreman

Karen said...

Thank you Anna. I'm happy to hear your comments. I am excited but my mom just informed me that she doesn't like my new paintings! She isn't an artist but she has her opinions!!

Lindy Stankov said...

I enjoy all of your paintings. I have gone through similar transitions with my oil painting. I agree with others that say not to over think it. Some will like it, some may not. Stay true to yourself! All your work is fantastic. Thanks for your posts. Lindy

Debra Fox said...

Karen, I find your current work very fresh and exciting. I loved all your previous work, and you have been a tremendous influence on me as I develop my own style of painting. Your recent interpretations of color and form are extraordinary and vibrant! Enjoy the journey.

Karen said...

Thank you Lindy and Debra! It's great to hear that others have gone through this and to hear your advice! I really appreciate your following my blog and your kind words!

Joan Carroll said...

Hi Karen, let me start by saying that your blog is so enlightening, you're a natural teacher. I think you're progressing and am eager to see where you end up. Change is always scary but don't let that stop you. I'm thinking of Tony Allain when I see your direction.

Karen said...

Thank you Joan for such wonderful insight and comments! I truly appreciate it. And I love the work of Tony Allain!

Ellen said...

Karen, I LOVE your interpretive bold style! I work with energy and I suggest that your energy shifted from "whispering" to "bold." Both are perfect; they are different expressions of the uniqueness of you! The Yin and Yang of Karen. There are most probably many other perspectives you are yet to explore. Van Gogh's paintings shifted dramatically during his career. You are finding YOUR way...it's a flow and there are twists and turns in the river of creativity. Ride the wave!

Karen said...

Ellen, Thank you!! I think you are right! I had an energy shift. Maybe it was the vortex in Sedona! I appreciate your insight and I will continue to enjoy this journey! Thank you for taking the time to comment!

Ellen said...

Karen, Sedona makes sense! It occurs to me that a bold energy pattern is grounded and organized. Food for thought. I also thought of your mothers comment that she prefers the whispering style. When you shift it is sometimes a challenge for those closest to us to accept a change. Maybe you two could visit Sedona? LOL!

Karen said...

Thanks Ellen, that makes perfect sense about being grounded and organized. And I do think my mom would benefit from a trip to Sedona. Thanks for the suggestion!

Gary said...

Hi Karen, I don't have time right now to read all the other comments (I have a sculpture project I have to finish and shouldn't even be on the computer...) But I want to say I always enjoy your insights and I love the new direction. That's not to say that I didn't like your whispers - those are great too. Out here in the west the sky is so clear that we seldom have much atmospheric perspective. Perhaps that's why the change happened?

Now I better get back to my own work. From a sculptor who wishins I had time to paint.

Gary

Nuno said...

Karen, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Looking forward more of your artwork and explorations.

pattisjarrett said...

I noticed the difference in your paintings, too. Your bolder style is growing on me. When I first found your blog, you were doing fields of wildflowers, a subject I loved. Maybe I need to see Sedona, too. :)