|'Walking in a Winter Wonderland' 9x12 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
In today's post I would like to take you through my thought process for this winter forest painting. What were the things I considered when interpreting the photo? How did I decide what to leave out and what to add? My reference is a quick photo I took on a walk through the Chicago Botanic Garden during an early November snowfall. It was cold so I just took quick photos. I hope you enjoy a look inside my interpretation process!
|my reference photo|
- I decided my concept for the painting was the idea of walking in a winter wonderland of beautiful trees and a gentle snowfall.
- I loved the stand of evergreens in the foreground against the snow and purples of the distant tree line. The evergreen trees were my star. I didn't copy them exactly as they were in the photo but I reminded myself to make sure the trunks were not too regular and that the intervals between them were uneven and interesting.
- I decided to eliminate the foreground brush and simplify it into some dark snow covered shapes. Why? There is a half-bush in the foreground so I would need to put more of it in the picture or eliminate it. I decided to eliminate it and simplify all of the other 'stuff'.
- There is some red stuff in the foreground which I eliminated. The red wouldn't make sense in that spot. It would be too isolated and would draw the eye away from my trees. I liked the red so instead I decided to add a touch of Burgundy/red to the tree trunks.
- The sky in my photo was white and boring. I decided to make it pale blue with a touch of pale yellow. Why? Because I want to! And also because these colors were closer to what I remember. The photo overexposed the lights. I added these colors to my snow to unify my colors and make my ground relate to my sky.
- In the photo there is a frozen pond. I actually didn't see it with my glasses off so I made the whole area just snow. (I paint without glasses) I like it better as all snow. It makes a more simple statement.
- The snow covered ground in the photo is all one value/shade of white. I know that aerial perspective would change the way we see the color. In the painting I make the distant snow a dull rosy pink and the brighter snow is saved for the mid to foreground. I also decided to put the immediate foreground in shadow so I needed to make my snow blue in theses shadowed areas.
- It had stopped snowing when I took the photo but since I was there I remembered the snow. I decided to add the snowfall to the painting. This was my emotional response to the scene.
This painting is 9x12 on gray Canson Mi-Teintes paper with Terry Ludwig and Diane Townsend pastels.
In my Winter pastel classes we will be focusing on composition and how to take and use reference photos more effectively. I still have a couple of openings. Please email me if interested.