|'Hidden Beauty' 9x12 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
purchase painting on Etsy $150
It is a common affliction. Most paintings go through it. It tests the mettle of the artist. Many paintings get detoured to the trash bin and never see their full potential. It's commonly called The Ugly Stage. It can come on quickly. A painting is started and looks promising. It has some good things happening. All of the sudden it takes a turn for the worse. The composition may have changed. The colors may not look right. It looks downright scary. The Ugly Stage.
It is tempting to just give up and send the ugly thing to the trash. But it is important to realize that this is just a stage in the painting. It isn't resolved. It would be nice if a painting looked wonderful at every stage of it's development and I suppose it happens for some. But for me I have to power through the uglies and THINK!
When a painting reaches the uglies....I have to think about what it needs. Values, drawing, composition, color? What can I do to resolve any of these issues? I don't like to give up. I learn from working hard at resolving an ugly painting!
Today's poppy painting went through an ugly stage. I was ready to throw it in my pile. The problem was the paper/pastel combination. Read on to see how I solved the problem and uncovered the painting's potential.
|my reference photo|
I decided to use a piece of Richeson sanded paper that I had in a sample pack. It was white so I thought a watercolor underpainting would be perfect for the red poppies. I liked my underpainting and I was excited to start with my pastels.
I knew I wanted bright bold colors so I took out my set of Diane Townsend Pure Color set. I love this set! I started by blocking in the dark reds in the flowers. Immediately I realize that the Richeson paper is very toothy. It was eating up my pastels. With dismay I watched the piles of dust fall into my tray but I kept going.
Next I added some dark greens for the shadowed area of the grasses and foliage. I was not liking the coverage of the pastels. I couldn't get good coverage because of the roughness of the paper. But I didn't want to press any harder. Hmmmm My painting was officially UGLY. I didn't like it at all and I was frustrated with the rough paper. Trash it or power through? What could I do? My problem was the paper so what could I do to solve it? I remembered that I had purchased a set of Richeson soft pastels at one of the IAPS conventions. Maybe they would work better on the Richeson paper? I pulled them out.
The Richeson soft pastels are on the left and the Diane Townsend pastels are on the right
|moving past ugly and ready for details|