|'In Comes the Tide' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
I love it when inspiration happens. I am doing some serious studio cleaning in preparation for The Art Mob Open Studio Tour (Nov 15,15,17) I am finding some unfinished work still taped to foamcore. I never throw anything away but I don't always know what to do with them. I found this painting yesterday and it was immediately clear what it needed. I was inspired!
This painting needed some water. I can visualize a winding creek through this landscape. I found a reference photo to spark some ideas and got to work. Enjoy this mini demo!
Here is the original unfinished demo. It has a lot of empty space. Boring! I need to make this space more interesting. That's where the water will come in.
The first thing I did was to take a stiff bristle brush and remove some of the thicker soft pastel. I 'painted 'in the water by removing the pastel down to the underpainting. Now I have an idea where the water will flow.
Next I use a nice rich dark to define the banks of the creek. I use some workable fixative to spray the banks and foreground area. I wanted to darken it and fix the pastel in place so it will be easier to add more layers. This will also allow me to add a suggestion of grasses over the edge of the banks.
My next step is to put in the water. Before I can do this I have to decide what colors will be in my sky. The water reflects the sky. I decide I want an overcast moody sky. I choose some violets and blues and paint the sky first. Next I paint the water using horizontal strokes. I use my reference photo for a suggestion of how the water might flow through this marsh. I like how the dark bank makes the water settle into the land.
I also work on the distant trees. I used the sky color to break up the distant tree lines.
The next step is to work my way from the distant trees up to the foreground. I start by refining the two banks of trees. I add cooler greens to the far treeline. I create more airholes in the front trees and pull out some more foliage. I start to add some of the greens in the marsh using horizontal strokes. I like the original bright yellow green so I let some of it stay.
At this point I add some more greens using vertical strokes in the foreground. I decide to break up all the green with some blue-purple grasses. I saw these suggested in the reference photo. I make a decision to not put any blades of grass in this painting. I feel like the water provides enough interest and too many 'blades' would be too busy. I leave the foreground in an unfinished state for the same reason.
I think that this is a much more interesting painting! It is fun to take something unfinished and make it work! If you have enjoyed this mini demo and would like to see a more detailed demo, consider my Digital Downloadable Demos available in my Etsy shop. I have both a marsh and a green landscape demo available!