2018 Workshop Schedule. New workshops added! click here for details.
Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction

Sunday, October 19, 2014

On Seeing Colors....Is Dried Grass Brown?

'Autumn Comes to the Island'            8x10           pastel         ©Karen Margulis
 How fortunate we are as artists. Even something as mundane as dried grasses can be seen as beautiful. Many would pass them without a second look. What is interesting about dead grass?  It's brown and ugly! But when we begin to see things through the eyes of an artist even the ugly becomes beautiful.

Brown is beautiful because brown is not just brown. Brown is purple and blue and orange. Brown stuff has subtle and beautiful colors. We just need to look carefully and allow our eyes to really see it.

close-up detail
I had a new student come to my studio this week. I was so excited to learn she had never painted before. She wanted to be an artist. She wanted to paint and she was coming to me for a lesson on pastel painting. The most rewarding part of the lesson was helping her to begin seeing things as an artist. We discussed how as beginners we tend to see and paint things the way we think they are...we are very literal and true to the shapes and colors that we learned as children.....such as tree trunks are brown and leaves are green and the sky is blue. But we can start to see things how they really are and when we do we are enriched and our paintings become more personal.

As I painted the demo for my student she asked why I didn't choose brown for the dried grasses. I didn't see them as brown but then I realized that I have learned to put aside what I think and allow myself to really see. I know that she will start looking at dead grass in a whole new light. And I am happy to share this discover with a new artist!

painting notes: 8x10 on Uart paper with a dry wash underpainting.


kathyr said...

This is a beautiful painting Karen! And what a gift to a new artist to watch you paint and see the world through your eyes for a bit! I hope to see you soon myself, thanks for the great blogs!

Tim Moore said...

i love it when i get a chance to stop while driving ..i look for trees or grass or flowers or some patch of nature and just look and try to see all the colors present..it is amazing what you can see when you LOOK...

Chris Lally said...

What a lucky new student you have! Your painting is simply beautiful.

robertsloan2art said...

Wonderful painting and great essay! The longer I paint the easier it is to see the subtle many colors in nature instead of the ones we get taught are there as children.

Sandi G said...

Just had to comment . Yesterday my artist friend and I were driving home from our pastel painting group and something caught our eye . To others it was a water and brush area by the side of the highway ,to us as we commented it was the colorful reflections of the marsh grass in the stream of blue grey ! We discussed the colors while driving .