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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jumpstart your Painting with this Color Idea

'Magic Happens at the Day's End'              11x14          ©Karen Margulis
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Sometimes it is the color that inspires me.  I'm often asked how I come up with my painting ideas every day. I don't always feel particularly inspired and I might go through piles of photos and nothing speaks to me. But color can get the creative juices flowing and jumpstart a painting.

Yesterday I came across a fabric swatch I liked online. I can't find it now but I liked the colors so I made a little color notes of similar colors with my pastels on a scrap of paper.

I still didn't have a subject in mind! And I wasn't sure what I was in the mood to paint. I went through several more piles of photos and nothing was clicking. Finally I came across the photo below and I knew it would be a good subject to use with my color swatch.  The color swatch did it!

Now I had a scene I could get excited about and I had color palette to inspire my color choices.  I was ready to paint!

reference photo, color swatch and underpainting
 I decided I would put some of the colors in the swatch in an underpainting. I used some red, orange and purple  Nupastels rubbed into Canson Mi Tientes paper.  I then blocked in the darkest shapes with my soft pastels. I used all Terry Ludwig pastels.  Below is a shot of the underpainting and the dark block in.

I had my camera out but neglected to take any more progress shots. Sometimes you just get into a painting and forget to stop for photos!  But I finished the tree lines next and then finished the sky. The lower dead marsh grasses and water came next. The distant marsh grasses were put in last.

How did the color swatch influence me? I would say it inspired me and got me started.  I didn't use exact values of the swatch but variations instead. I didn't use the pale blue and I added a bit of green.
The most important thing it did for me was inspire me to do a painting. The colors excited me enough to get up from the computer and paint!  And anything that can whet your appetite for painting is a good thing indeed!

The next time you are at a loss for something to paint or aren't feeling motivated....start with the color first!


BJR said...

I love this!...especially after you added the frame. The gold in it picks up the gold from the painting...ahh! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge. I need to get motivated!

angela j simpson said...

I agree the painting looks fab in the gold frame - I first thought it was an oil painting, beautiful colours