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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Paint-a-Thon Day Two progress...How to Decide What to Paint

'Let the Path Lead You'           11x14         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
I woke up early for a Saturday. I was anxious to get down into the studio. More anxious than usual. I love a project with no pressure to finish other than to please myself. Yesterday I got a crazy idea to complete 10 paintings over Labor Day weekend. I do paint something everyday but this would be a stretch to finish 10.  But with no big plans or commissions or projects other than a family party on Monday I had time to paint just for me. I was happy to take advantage!

I began Friday afternoon and by Saturday afternoon I had 6 paintings finished and a theme was starting to unfold. This was turning into a wonderful adventure into a series!  I began the paint-a-thon with a mix of potential subjects from my summer trips to Iceland and Lake Tahoe...an interesting mix.

But I decided to change direction half way through!

A watercolor underpainting on matboard with clear gesso

After the fourth painting I realized I had chosen to work on the Lake Tahoe ( really Carson Valley to be more accurate) paintings first and they went together so nicely. I loved seeing them together as a series. So I printed out some more of my reference photos to jog my memory and took out new paper (I will finish the Iceland paintings after this project)

So how do I usually decide what to paint?  I have over 33,000 reference photos on my computer....all my own from my travels. When I am looking for inspiration I will just pick a folder in iPhoto  and scroll through clicking and printing a batch of 12 contact sheet photos....whatever piques my interest. This is usually enough to jumpstart my painting ideas.  I always like to make notes to myself about what drew me to the photo....my concept for the painting. I did this for my 10 paintings for the paint-a-thon. 

Sometimes though the best laid plans are subject to change. I like to stay flexible and go with the new direction. I just never know where that path may lead me!

Stay tuned for more from my Labor Day Paint-a-ton! Now I am going back to paint!


Nancy Hunt said...

Please tell us how you create contact sheets. Thanks

Karen said...

I'll do a post on it Nancy. I need to find out how to make one on a PC so I can share with everyone!!

robertsloan2art said...

This is awesome! I hope you'll post a photo of all ten grouped together when you're done. Series are wonderful!

I haven't been that energetic but I made a great perspective breakthrough today in my art journal. Did a castle and got it actually looking like a solid building instead of a stylized symbol of a castle. Very happy with that. Might have a go in pastels at one too now that I've gotten better at the blocking in for buildings.

I realized the blocking in didn't have to be as detailed as the rendering and the finishing layer could have all the details. This is a change for me and it solved a huge problem. Can't wait to try it in pastel.