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Friday, October 17, 2014

My Plein Air Process and all of my New Mexico Paintings

'Ghost Ranch 3'               8x10               pastel             ©Karen Margulis
available here $150
 Fast and Furious. That is how I feel when I am out painting on location. I want it all so I paint quickly. In yesterday's blog post I discussed my three goals for plein air painting. Today I'd like to share some insight into my typical process.

  • I paint small, no larger than 8x10. 
  • I paint directly with soft pastels, rarely doing an underpainting. I will sometimes tone the paper with pastel rubbed in or do a dry block-in.
  • I paint quickly establishing the big shapes first and then any needed details. Each painting takes from 20 minutes to an hour to finish. 
  • I don't use my typical light touch layering technique. Instead I use a firm and direct application of pastel. I shout instead of whisper.
  • I never go back and work on a painting in the studio. I leave them as studies.

 I painted 30 small studies (8x10 and 5x7)  while in New Mexico. Here they are in collages. Enjoy!

'Late Day Majesty'       5x7     pastel     $100


Julie Ford Oliver said...

Your experience shows. The vastness of this area can be daunting to even the most experienced painter I am truly in awe. I am familiar with most of the viewpoints which shows what a great job you did.

Hard to know which are my favs, but hope you do a large one of the Chama River with the bend. The reddish earth colors and the sky reflecting in the water makes my heart go pitter patter.

robertsloan2art said...

These are so beautiful! Thanks for the tip about firm strokes and fewer layers. I love that technique - it works so well on these small paintings. I also like their different dimensions.

Gorgeous works, every one of them. I like the way the subjects vary so much and each one has its own sense about it. My favorites are strong and contrasty with lots of color. But seen together as a whole it's a portrait of a place!

Karen said...

Thank you very much Julie and Robert! Your comments have made my day!
Julie I think the Chama river deserves to be larger so I may start with that one!!
Robert, I always appreciate your comments, always so insightful. Thank you!

ida mae poopsnatch said...

Karen, what a gorgeous set of collages your paintings create! You have a terrific sense of color harmony--just as when you did your Labor Day 'paint out,' all of these works look really good together. I also admire your ability to find a good composition quickly when faced with 'The World.' Some of us are paralyzed into inaction--you seem to be ignited into painting as many views as you can! Soon, I, too, will learn not to fear mistakes & to simply get the marks on the paper. NOTHING happens until I do that. Thanks for your blog!-MaryB