Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Simple Way to Add Drama to Your Cloud Paintings


'Traveling Clouds'      11x14        pastel          ©Karen Margulis
available for purchase $165 click here
I needed some drama.  My clouds were too boring. The painting began as a demo on painting clouds. My goal was to share ideas for painting a fair weather day....blue skies and happy puffy white clouds. My demos are usually designed to teach something not to make a great painting. So as demos go, my clouds were just fine.  But as paintings go....the clouds needed to be energized.

Before....boring clouds
When my class was over I got  to work. How could I give some life and drama into my soft looking clouds?  I began by taking a paint brush and softening everything in the sky. I didn't brush it all out but just removed some of the pastel.
 
Next I worked on the land. I usually finish the sky and then work my way down but this time I wanted to have the sky work with the lighting and colors on the ground.

Now on to the sky.  I used some of the same ground colors in the sky. I used some peaches and yellows. It was better but still not enough punch. I needed something else..... I looked around the studio and spied the box of Schminke pastels I left out from earlier in the week. Super soft and buttery yellows! That is what I needed!

After....closeup of interesting clouds
 What a simple solution!  Using these soft and rich pastels allowed me to put down some juicy bits of color to my clouds. These textured marks were a nice contrast to the smoother parts of the sky.  In addition to the pastels being so buttery, I made bolder marks. I painted the clouds with the energy I wanted to portray.

The next time you are looking for drama.....try some super soft pastels and don't be afraid to make some bold marks!

reference photo


If you would like more information on mark making with pastels and creating bold 'shouting' marks you might like to see my You Tube video on mark making.  Click here to view.


2 comments:

Diane said...

Karen, great post! How did you get your yellow to sit on top of the blue without making green? Your yellow looks so pure!

Karen said...

Thanks Diane, It is partly the softness of the schminke pastel....it is so soft it doesnt dig into the other layers. Also most of the yellow went on top of existing light clouds. I do get the green problem sometimes so if I know I'll be using yellow I don't put in the blue.