|'In the Poppy Field' 6x8 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
I taped up a 6x8 piece of white Wallis paper and pulled out a reference photo of some poppies. I needed to find an unexpected way to start the painting.
I looked on my shelf of spare pastels and supplies and found a small set of Art Spectrum pastels. I don't even know where they came from. I had never used them so they would be perfect for my experiment. I took a few of the pastels out and did a fast abstracted underpainting. It was fun and I was now feeling warmed up!
|My reference photo|
I wanted to cover up the white of the paper so I thought it might be fun to spray the pastels with some rubbing alcohol. I put some of the alcohol into a spray bottle and started spritzing the painting. In some areas I sprayed more until the pastel was wet enough to drip. I let it drip.
The wet pastel seemed thick. I looked on my shelf and saw a palette knife. What if I used the knife to move the thickened pastel around? I found that I could spread the wet pastel like icing. I could even draw lines into it. I drew the poppies with the palette knife. This was fun!
The pastel was still pretty wet so I took a paper towel, balled it up and blotted the entire painting. The paper towel left interesting marks. I now had an interesting underpainting.
I began layering pastel once the underpainting was dry. I added the background trees and sky. I put in the poppies with several red pastels. I was now using all of my usual pastels which are mostly Terry Ludwigs. I found that the palette knife action created interesting texture. It helped me suggest the grasses. I finished the painting by adding more grasses and tiny bits of other wildflowers.
In the end I had a painting that made me smile. I had fun experimenting. It was a bit like cooking a dish with whatever is left in the pantry. Pulling things out and mixing them together until they worked.