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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pastel Demo ....Seven Steps to a Marsh

'Into the Marsh'              15x21         pastel           ©Karen Margulis
available for purchase $150
The challenge of Green!  How to make a very green landscape interesting? If we stick with only the local colors of green it can be overwhelming. Green needs relief. The day I learned Richard McKinley's 'Secret of Green' was an eye opener.  My green landscapes would never be the same!  One of the ways I like to add interest and relief to my green masses is through the underpainting or block-in stage. 

Today I'd like to share the seven step marsh demo that I did with my Tuesday Pastel class. Enjoy!

STEP 1:  I do a simple line drawing with charcoal to indicate my horizon line and a few big simple shapes.  I then block in each shape with a warm color. I chose red (the compliment of green) I used four values of red choosing a different value for each shape depending on it's location in the landscape. I rub in this first block in layer with a piece of pipe insulation. I am using gray Canson Mi-Teintes Touch paper.

STEP 2:  Next I take out my softer pastels and reinforce all of the dark areas. I use three different colors that are all the same value and layer them. This creates a more interesting dark area. Notice how I expand my darks so that they are connected and Not spotty.

STEP 3: I add some cooler greens to the distant treeline to establish the tops of the trees. Now I can put in the sky. I use about 4 colors that are close in value and layer them until they blend to create a luminous sky. I chose pale peaches, pinks and yellows for my sky. I then add these same colors to the water using horizontal strokes.

STEP 4: I finish the distant trees adding some skyholes. Now it is time to work on the grasses. Before starting on the greens I decide to put down some more reds and salmon pinks. I consider this the 'dirt' and it will help make the greens more interesting.

STEP 5: Starting at the back I put down the green grasses being careful to vary the colors and vary my strokes to help create the illusion of depth.

 STEP 6:  I decide to add a few small houses in the distance. These are made with very simple one stroke marks.

STEP 7: The final step is to complete the grass. I spray the foreground with rubbing alcohol to fix the darks before adding big strokes for the grass. The final touches are a few thinner blades of grass in a few key spots. Every mark has a purpose at this finishing stage.

close up detail of the buildings


Susan J Wachob said...

I just love this one too! Great pictures. I am ordering a desk top easel. I haven't done the black and white yet but went and reread Ian Roberts book on Composition. Feeling underwhelmed with my progress. Just got our Catalog off to the printer today...some stress off there...ok thanks for generously assisting the little people! Sue Wachob

Sue Marrazzo said...


robertsloan2art said...

Great demo! Thanks!

ida mae poopsnatch said...

This was just a great demo. I always think it has to be so complicated &, after watching you breeze through these pieces, I'm stunned. "Really? That's all there is to it? Why do I labor over everything so much?"
And procrastinate. You are inspiring, Karen. Thanks.
L&K, MaryB