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Monday, January 12, 2015

Paint Along Monday....Iceland Landscape

'Summer in Iceland'         14.5 x 19.5               pastel              ©Karen Margulis
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It's Paint Along Monday. Today I am introducing a new feature for the blog.  I will be dedicating Monday's blog post to a step by step pastel demo. I am calling it 'Paint Along Monday'. I will show my reference photo in case you would like to paint along with me.  I will also share some of the things that go through my head while I am painting.

Today I decided to paint from one of my Iceland photos. I am doing a presentation about my trip to Iceland for the Southeastern Pastel Society in February so I was in an Iceland mood.  My photo was taken on a bus tour in Southern Iceland. This was one of several waterfalls on the tour. It was spectacular and I didn't write down the name of it so if anyone knows please share!

My reference photo

My drawing
Step one:  I chose a piece of Sabertooth paper because it was a nice salmon color and I knew it would be great underneath all of the summer greens.  I did a light drawing of the big shapes with a pencil.

Step two: Using several sticks of dark pastels, I block in all of the dark areas of the painting. I lightly layer them to get a nice rich dark. I used burgundy, blue and purple.

Step three:  I move onto blocking in all of the lightest areas. That would be the sky and the water. I decided to finish the sky while I was at it. I really didn't like the feel of this paper and I didn't like the rough look to the sky so I blended it it lightly with my fingers. I rarely do this but this paper called for it.

Step four: Next I begin adding some 'dirt' colors such as rusts and purples. These will be underneath the greens and in the exposed rocky areas of the hills.

Step five:  I continue adding dirt and then begin putting down the darker greens. I am not enjoying this paper today. It doesn't seem that rough yet it is eating up my pastels. I wanted to use my new set of Terry Ludwig greens but decide to use some harder Mount Visions to fill in some of the roughness. I also decide that it would be a good idea to use some workable fixative to set these first layers before taking out my Ludwigs.  In the photo you can see that wet spots of fixative. I wait a few minutes for it to dry.

Step six: Now the softer greens glide nicely over the darks. It feels better but I still have a way to go. I use a few brighter and warmer greens and more purples. The greens of Iceland in the summer are amazing. It is a lush wonderland perfect for elves and fairies.

Step seven:  I move towards the foreground and add some darker grasses. I also block in the dark yellows of the dandelions.

Step eight:  I finished with the addition of some warm and cool yellows to the dandelions and add a few blades of grass. I think I am done......I take a break and return to the studio with fresh eyes. I see some things I need to change. I decide the waterfall is too wide and so I cut into it with the colors of the hills. I also decide to be bolder with my marks on both the hillside and the sky. I also take out my Diane Townsend green terraces. I used the full arsenal of greens on this painting!
I also cover up some of the flowers which had gotten too fussy. Now I am finished!


Chris Watts said...

As I struggle to learn the pastel medium, I am so grateful for your generosity in sharing your tips and techniques. You are an excellent teacher, and I'm looking forward to more installments of your Paint Along Mondays. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tim Moore said...

i like the new blog idea!..might even paint along myself..could the waterfall be Skogafoss?

Leora LaGraffe said...

Very nice! Thank you again for so generously teaching those of us out there who want so badly to improve and grow, but who for one reason or another may not be able to attend workshops.

Mariela said...

Very interesting Karen, thank you!!

Kathryn Borca said...

Thank you so much, Karen. Your blog is very interesting and helpful. I'm wondering about sizes sometimes you use not standarв size. Do you use a mat for framing?

robertsloan2art said...

Thanks for a great demo! I enjoyed this and loved seeing your progress. Looking forward to your continuing this series, it's going to help me a lot!

Anneliese Golubic said...

What a wonderful idea and such a generous one. I will definitely try to paint along, whenever possible.
Thank you so much, Karen!

Karen said...

Thank you all for the comments! Stay tuned for the next demo and feel free to share your ideas for subjects!
Kathryn, I don't usually use mats. I am working on a post about framing so look for it soon.

Lizett Vargas said...

Nice painting. This is Skógafoss waterfall. I was there and I painted too. I <3 iceland