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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Simplification Part Two...a Simple Trick

'September Fair'           8x10         pastel          ©Karen Margulis    sold
 It was a scary reference photo. One of those scenes that you love but are afraid to tackle. I took the photo 7 years ago. I was new to painting so I was sure I didn't have the skill to paint such a busy scene. So I put the photo away.

There was so much stuff in this scene...water, trees, fall foliage, water lilies, dead trees.  Too much!  This must be what Robert Henri was referring to when he said we see too much...scatteringly.  I needed to see the scene simply.  But how?

I came across the photo this week and thought it would be a perfect demo for my class. We are working on doing simple block ins starting with 4 value thumbnails. This photo would be the perfect candidate for simplification.  But how??

Glassine Paper to the Rescue!

Black and white thumbnail for the painting

It is challenging to see the big simple shapes when there is so much information. Squinting helps to eliminate the clutter. I need to remember to squint more often!  But here is another way to eliminate the clutter. Tape a piece of glassine or tracing paper over your reference photo. This allows you to see the big shapes of light and dark. Now outline these shapes with your marker. You can fill in your values right on the glassine or use the outline in your sketchbook.

I used the thumbnail to block in my painting. I was able to gradually build the painting on top of these big shapes adding the detail I wanted. If I had started trying to paint from the photo I would have been lost!  I would have seen too much.


Christine Troyer said...

Great blog on simplifying. You have a different frame on this one. Looks great! May I ask where you found it?

robertsloan2art said...

That helps a lot! Thank you. I sort of do that mentally but the glassine trick looks so easy!

Diane said...

Beautiful painting Karen, enhanced by a beautiful frame. Where is the frame from? Do you typically frame your pastels without mats? I assume you must have to use spacers for this frame?

Karen said...

Thanks Christine, I have had this frame in my studio for awhile so I can't be sure but I think it was from Hobby Lobby!

Karen said...

Thanks RoberT! Yes I do like using the glassine!

Karen said...

Thanks Diane, Yes I don't use mats and I will use spacers. I don't frame too many paintings though since I sell mostly unframed!