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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An Aha Moment about Simplification

'Join the Garden Party'         6x12            pastel            ©Karen Margulis
 Sometimes you just need to say it all. For me the ultimate goal of the painting is to simplify the subject. I want to leave a little mystery....something for the viewer's imagination.  It isn't always easy to do. It is easy to say Simplify...break it down into a few shapes...choose what's important. But how do we go about doing that?

I had a simplification challenge today. A student brought in a panoramic photo of her beautiful garden on the edge of a dark forest. It was filled with poppies and foxgloves and all kinds of foliage. It was a very busy scene. I thought it might be fun to do a watercolor underpainting to get us started. (we were doing a paint-along) Despite my efforts I ended up putting everything in the one painting! I considered brushing it all out and starting over but then it hit me.

I needed to say it all. I needed to capture the mass of busyness and color. I needed to get it out of my system before I could settle down and simplify. 

I was drawn to the scene because of the jumble of colors and textures. I knew it might be too much for one painting but I wanted to capture the busyness of the summer garden. So I left the painting alone and started another one. This time I chose to zoom in and focus on a small section of the garden. Now I was relaxed and it flowed. I had gotten the initial excitement out of my system!

'The Garden Party'             10x20       pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available for purchase on Etsy $150
This was the first painting which showed the panorama of the garden with all of the flowers and foliage and even some bumblebees. The painting at the top of the post was the second one I painted. I chose an intimate view of the poppies which simplified the painting.

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