|'Prairie Music' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
It's Paint Along Monday and I am in the mood for wildflowers. I went through my photos and found one that spoke to me. I have painted red poppies but not many pink ones. I also like the moody sky in the photo. Soft, Pink and Moody Sky....that will be the concept for the painting.
I cut a piece of UArt 500 sanded paper and taped it to my board. I spent a few minutes choosing the pastels I will use for the painting. As you can see it is a limited palette...some darks, some dirt, some flower colors, some sky colors and some grass colors. That's it.
Next I open Spotify and choose my painting music. Music influences my mood and how I respond to the painting. I wanted moody and soft so I chose my new favorite soundtrack from 'The Theory of Everything' by Johan Johansson. Time to paint.
I decide to do an alcohol wash for the painting. I picked an assortment of pink pastels in 3 values. I apply them lightly using the side of the stick. I wash the pastel in with a brush and some rubbing alcohol. Why did I choose this technique? I was painting a tangle of wildflowers and grasses. I wanted the painting to be loose and free. I knew the drips of an alcohol wash would give me a start to some suggested grasses. I picked pinks because I will have pink flowers and also I knew the warm red pink color would make my green grasses more exciting (complements)
After the underpainting is dry I begin the painting by reinforcing the dark areas. I want to create a subtle path for the eye under the grasses with my darks. I also add some more peachy pink over the underpainting. This will be the dirt.
Oops. I got into my zone here and forgot to take a photo! What I did was block in the grasses first. I begin with the distant grasses and used a gray green. I varied my greens to create and interesting mass of grasses. See the nice dark shape underneath the grasses? Next I blocked in the flowers with the darkest pink/red that I saw. Dark to light.
I finish the poppies by layering a few different values of pinks using the side of the pastel. I end with the pale pink on the edges of the flowers. This is an overcast day so I want the flowers to be softly lit with cool light. (I so sunlit flowers differently)
I continue adding touches of suggested detail. I put in some yellow flowers. I add some broken 'lyrical' lines for the stems and taller grasses. I am almost finished. I want to keep the painting fresh so I will stop and step back to see what what else the painting needs. It is so easy to overwork and put in too many blades of grass at this point. Stop to smell the flowers!
I decide to add a few spices. These are marks that I apply with a heavier touch. They are meant to be points of interest in the painting. I put in some heavier marks of coral pink. I add some blue violet flowers. They are not in the photo. Why did I decide to add them? Comment below and let's get a discussion going!
I hope you enjoyed today's demo. Please share this post if you did!