|'Ready for Fall' 16x20 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
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|My awesome pumpkins|
The tree was fine as a green tree. But I am over green! So I went through my photo files and found a picture of a red tree and another of some fields in Fall colors. (this is a benefit of taking thousands of photos!) See the photo below for the original tree and photo along with the new reference photos.
|The original demo featuring a Summer landscape with a green tree|
Here is a summary of my process for changing the season of this painting:
- The first thing I did was test the red pastels on my tree to see if I liked what was happening. I decided that it was a go. There would be no turning back....after all it is only paper. By the way I am using a sienna color piece of Canson.
- Since I am using Canson I am limited to the number of layers I will be able to put down so I give the tree and the field a light spray of workable fixative. I liked the sky as it is so I didn't spray it. Now it will be easier to add more layers of pastel. I also like the texture the fixative gives.
- I work on the big tree first. I want to be sure to keep the light in the painting consistent. So I basically follow the light and shadows already in the tree. I used a cool dark brick red for the tree shadows. I use a warmer red in a middle value for the rest of the foliage. Where the light is hitting some of the leaves I use a warmer orange red. (go warm instead of light to get the illusion of sunlight)
- I like the peeks of green from the original tree color. It makes the red more intense as well as making it look like the tree is actually changing color.
- Next I need to work on the field. It is much too green for the red of the trees. So I use some ochres and yellows to tone it down and give the grasses more of an autumn feel.
- I decide to tone down the path and make it a bit more subtle.
- Now that the path is merely a suggestion AND the tree so intense the painting feels unbalanced. There is nothing on the right side to balance the weight of the big red tree. So I added a smaller bush on the right.
- Now I had to break up the field in the mid to foreground. I didn't want it to be a big flat area. I made some directional strokes sloping down towards the path. I also took some of the pale yellow ochre in the distant field and put some behind the tree and bush to add another layer.
- I went back to the big tree and added some branches and refined the skyholes.
- Finishing touches: I decided to add some of the whitish-yellow wildflowers that I have been seeing everywhere this Fall. I tried not to overdo them and just merely suggest them.
That was fun! I think I'll paint another Autumn tree! It sure is fun to put on my 'what if' hat!