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Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Quick Pastel Demo: Wild Roses in the Moors

'The Wild Roses are Calling'               8x10              pastel               ©Karen Margulis
purchase this painting on Etsy $145
I have a great idea for the prevention overworked paintings . Turn off the lights!  It really works. Today the power went out. Just as I was making my final marks on this painting boom...out went the lights. They didn't even flicker. I knew it wasn't coming back on anytime soon. I had to leave my painting in the dark.

Two hours later the power was back on. It was long enough for me to get away from my painting and come back to to with fresh eyes. I realized that I was done. If I fiddled anymore and added more flowers and grasses it would have been overdone! I may have cursed the power company but my painting was saved!

I did manage to take some progress shots before the power went out. Enjoy seeing the painting unfold!

I began the painting on Multimedia Artboard with a coating of clear gesso for extra texture. I chose to do a watercolor underpainting using Cretacolor Aqua Briques (review coming soon) Click on the image to enlarge and see the texture.

Here is my reference photo. It is Nantucket Island. I recall the heady smell of the beach roses and the gentle sea breeze.

Once the underpainting was dry I started adding pastel. I began by revisiting the dark areas. I arranged the darks to create a subtle pathway for the eye. It will get covered by grasses and bushes but I need to put it in so it will be there in a subtle way.

It is hard to see in this photo but I next painted the sky. I used some pale pinks and yellows to create a soft overcast sky. The pinks in the sky will be harmonious with the flowers that will come.

I now work my way forward. I use blues and cool greens for the distant bushes and land mass.

Before I go any further with the greens I lay down some pinks. I don't want to paint every single flower. I want to suggest the masses of flowers and only paint a few blooms. These swaths of pink will peek out from under the green grasses.

Back to the green! I work on the distant greens. I use a variety of cool and neutral greens in the distance.

I come forward and use some warmer greens. I then use a quick spray of workable fixative to give me even more texture. I add darker warm green to begin the rose bushes.

To give the bushes form I add lighter and slightly warmer greens on the tops of the bushes. I now have a very green painting. It is time to add the roses. I uses 4 different values of pink to paint the roses. I begin with the darkest pink and make a few heavy but small marks. The brighter pinks come next. Every rose is placed with thought. I don't want to add too many. I arrange them so that the eye will be led into the distance. Next I add a few grasses. This is when the power went out. I'm glad it did because I might have gotten carried away with flowers and grasses!


robertsloan2art said...

Wow! I think you've outdone yourself - glad you had your power failure! No one I know has captured the tangle of brush and wildflowers the way you do. It always feels so thorny and natural. I know it's going to be full of burrs and weeds and interesting plants, a square yard of it fill an entire naturalist's journal, all in a glance. I love the way you successfully captured the look of wild roses specifically. How you manage to convey these wildflowers so accurately has to be long observation - if I were doing them I wouldn't be implying the anatomy that perfectly. But you do. You got the shapes of the plants and exactly the way they sprawl.

Technique flawless but some htings come from long practice. You get the Queen Anne's Lace that way, but I wasn't expecting wild roses to be as true.

Last Wednesday I painted some azaleas for the umptieth time from my clinic visit, the bush finally had more than one or two flowers. So I'm studying one of my familiar SF flowers and may someday be able to imply it with a skip and a dash and a quick stroke. Nowhere near that point yet! Though I could probably imply a half hidden cat in a couple of strokes!

Layne Roach said...

I can not wait to meet you, your paintings are so thoughtful and full of feeling, at least they make me feel an incredible moment in nature. Want so bad to learn how to interpret the some what simple or even way too complex photo scenes into shear beauty as you do! And to learn to see that beauty as we plein air next month!