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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Steps to a Commission Part 2: Working on the Studies

'Wildflower Study #2'            8x10               pastel              ©Karen Margulis
You wouldn't want to paint your whole house without testing the color. In the same way I wouldn't want to experiment with my composition and colors on paper as large as 30x40. I would want a plan!  So as anxious as I was to begin I knew I needed to slow down and take my time to plan the paintings.

The commission was for two paintings of wildflower meadows with Queen Anne's Lace and clover. I was asked to create paintings similar to a couple of Queen Annes Lace meadows found on my website.  Here is what the request said:"Commissioned artwork to be similar in color palette, perspective, content and level of detail to chosen images. Pair should be complimentary to each other and may or may not be continuous. "

I chose to use Mount Vision Pastels for the underpainting
I knew what my paintings needed to look like but I had to first decide what type of underpainting I would use. Since the two paintings were so large I knew that I would use up a lot of pastel. It would make sense to do an underpainting with watercolor or perhaps oil or acrylic. It would save my pastels by giving me a good base.  But since the paper wasn't permanently mounted I didn't want to risk buckling from wet underpaintings. I decided to do a dry wash with Mount Vision pastels. More about this in my next post.

I selected Terry Ludwig, Diane Townsend and a few misc pastels of the paintings
I arrange the pastels in my tray by element...darks, grasses,glowers,sky, mountains. 
Next I chose the pastels that would go on top of the underpainting. For this palette I chose a selection of mostly Terry Ludwig pastels. I used my Diane Townsend lights for the flowers (not shown)  I also threw in a few Sennelier and Schminke for the spices.

I set to work painting the studies. I spent about an hour on them. They were not as detailed as my big paintings would be. My main concern was to get the position of the flowers and test out my selected palette.  Follow below to see the steps I took for the studies. I will use these studies and not the photos as reference for the larger paintings.  In my next post I will share the block in process for the big paintings.

Paper and reference photos for my 8x10 studies

The drawing for the studies done with pencil

The finished studies
I am ready to move on to the big ones! Stay tuned for the next installment.


robertsloan2art said...

Wow this is going to be incredible! Looking forward to the block in. Thank you for writing all these stages of the project.

Mount Visions make sense for it. They are HUGE and will help if you want to make proportional big sweeping strokes on the giant paintings.I think Sennelier also has super size pastels if you want large finishing ones, but, that's when you'd be doing details. This is going to be incredible.

I am very curious about how you're going to interpret that - flowers larger than life or just lots, lots more of them. Scaling up is a great challenge!

You've got a wonderful range all the way from mini to these! Way cool. And I know how much you love the Queen Anne's Lace ones anyway, this must be a joy!

Drita Harris said...

Really beautifil! Can't wait to see larger drawings!

Marsha Savage said...

Karen, what a great job of teaching this! Can't wait to see all the posts and the finished work.

Anonymous said...

You're always looking for title for paintings. Consider the typo under the second photo. 'Glower' flowers! I'm really enjoying your posts.

Karen Rodgers