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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Putting Drama in Your Landscapes

'Evening Drama'          8x10          pastel        ©Karen Margulis
Bill Creevy was right. I started this painting in his workshop at the recent IAPS convention. And it didn't have much going for it. It was blah.  In fact Bill told me I should stick to painting birds. (he liked my raven painting)  The funny thing is that years ago Albert Handell told me I should stay away from birds and stick to landscapes! (he didn't care for my pelicans)  But I am not one to give up on a painting or a subject. So I took this painting out today to see what I could do to improve it.

I wish I had taken a 'before' photo but one of the problems the painting had was that it was all middle value. The sky was the same value as the rocks and the two just kind of melted into one another. The other thing was that it wasn't a very interesting composition.

I decided it needed some DRAMA. And fortunately the surface I was using could take everything I could give it. It is Multimedia Art Board and I LOVE it.  I'll be reviewing it more thoroughly soon but i'll sum it up by saying it is practically indestructible.

close up detail
I can't tell you how many layers of pastel, water and fixative I have used. You can see in the close up detail how much texture I was able to get.

  • To get more drama in the painting I needed to increase the contrast. I darkened the sky and lightened the rocks. I also added some pops of pure color to the rocks.  I think I could push the contrast even more.
  • I also darkened the foreground I wanted the focus to be on the rocks so I wanted it dark and uninteresting. 
  • I also changed the direction of the clouds to point to the cliffs.
The next time I have a landscape that is Blah.......I will think about how I can add a bit of drama!

By the way the workshop was about pastel and water and we did a lot of interesting techniques that I will be sharing with my classes in August and then to by blog readers. It was a lot of fun!

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