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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to Paint More Expressive Paintings part one

'Marsh Walk'           6x6         pastel       ©Karen Margulis    sold

 It's the number one question I am asked.  "How can I loosen up?"  or " I am too tight, get too detailed and then end up overworking the painting. What can I do to keep my paintings fresh and loose?"

So I have given the question much thought and read what others have to say about it. (Jackie Simmonds has an excellent blog post about painting loose here) I have come up with five things we can do to help us achieve looseness. I will be sharing them in my classes and workshops but I thought it would be fun to give my blog readers a peek into my weekly pastel class and see how we will apply these 5 things.

First I would rather use the word 'expressive' rather than use the term loose. I think expressive is a better way to describe what I try to do and that is express my feelings about the subject, suggesting a lot of the detail and interpreting my subject rather than copying it.  Loose can be interpreted as being sloppy, all soft and painted fast which isn't always the case.

Here is what we are doing in class this week. Feel free to follow along and comment below on your experiences!

My demos of 7 minute paintings

We began class with a discussion about the importance of study and painting practice. We talked about Robert Genn's term for artists who are blocked or frustrated with their work because they have a lot of knowledge about painting but not enough time at the easel for this knowledge to become intuitive. It is called 'Educosis' Read more about it here.  Don't you love it?

How can we make time to paint more often in our busy lives? One way is to do smaller timed paintings. We started class by doing 10 minute paintings. We then did a 7 minute painting. We did 3 of them.  It is amazing what everyone did with just 7 minutes to paint. There is no chance to get bogged down with copying details in this short time. The paintings were fresh and spontaneous. 

It was also an excellent way for us to warm of after a class-free summer!  I am encouraging my students to fit in more of these timed paintings in between classes. (more on my incentive plan in a later post)

students painting fast and furiously!

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