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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Three Tips for Painting the Green Stuff


'Wanderings'           12 x 19              pastel            ©Karen Margulis
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 The Green Stuff is coming!   It can't come soon enough for some of us who have been buried all winter in the white stuff!  So in honor of Spring and St. Patrick's Day (I am half Irish) I thought I would share my top three tips for painting a landscape that has lots of green stuff.

I call anything that grows 'Green Stuff' even if it isn't always green.  Just to keep it simple and to remind myself that the tips don't just apply to painting trees. It includes trees, groups of trees, bushes, scrub and grasses. Landscapes often include many of these elements and I go about painting them in the same way. Here are the tips that I shared with my classes last week and I will summarize them below:

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'California Meadows'           8x10        pastel
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These are some of the top things I think about when I paint the Green Stuff:
  • The further back you go in the landscape the less strokes you need.(tweet this) This reminds me to utilize the principles of aerial perspective...less detail, contrast, cooler and lighter.
  • Start with a lump of clay and carve your tree or bush using the background color. Add 'clay' to build volume by layering pastel to depict believable light (rather than lots of random leaves)
  • Orange is the Secret of Green and Violet is the Friend....my favorite tip for painting green from Richard McKinley. Make your greens more interesting with this tip.

'The Turning Point'           13 x 19        pastel
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The painting in this post are the demos I did for my classes on painting the Green Stuff. They are all on Canson Mi-Teintes paper with mostly Terry Ludwig pastels.

Want to save some Green?  I am offering a selection of paintings that will be available for 20% savings for my annual Spring Studio Sale. All paintings in my Etsy shop are included. Use coupon code SPRING20 at checkout.   Visit my Etsy Gallery here.

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

Good lesson and some beautiful paintings. I love the way all of these turned out - and it's been a long time since I've seen that much green.

I'm constantly looking at greens trying to see them and see what I need to do with them to paint them. There's some greens and some foliage that I love that I have yet to paint effectively. The city's full of green, all year round but especially now it's starting to come up again. There was a lot of dried brown around during winter because this year's winter was pretty hard, but now plants are coming up again and trees are blooming.

Of course I often see an orange or magenta mass of bush or tree juxtaposed with a green one, but that's San Francisco for you! As the days get longer the light's warmer too. Thanks for emphasizing "believable light" because that affects everything.