|'Forest Walk' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
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Sometimes it isn't a matter of adding something.....it is better to take things away!
Today I revisited an old painting. It was done about 8 years ago on Pastebord. It was hidden in a pile of older work and recently resurfaced. I took a long look at it and decided it needed something...it needed LESS stuff!
|the original painting done 8 years ago.|
Today I decided to tackle it. I started by taking away some of the busy stuff by brushing off most of the leaf shapes with a stiff brush. I then sprayed the painting with some workable fixative to restore some of the tooth.
Next it was time to slowly rebuild the painting....keeping things simple.
|Brushed off and fixed...ready for a new finish|
- I liked the colors and general spacing and composition of the trees. I liked the dappled light and shadows on the path. I liked the light coming in from the background. I want to keep these things without putting in too many details.
- I began by putting in larger shapes of foliage...I began with the sunlit yellow greens in the background. 8 years ago I wasn't looking for big shapes. I went for the details first. I painted leaves and not big shapes. This led to the spottiness. Now I look for the big simple shapes first and then put in a few leaves. I build the foundation and then I can decorate!
- This time I make use of Negative Space to create foliage. 8 years ago I painted each leaf as a positive shape. I have learned that it is often more effective to have a big shape of foliage color and carve into it with sky holes. This results in the suggestion of leaves...it leaves more to the imagination.
- The original path is also too busy. It is also much too purple. I decide to simplify the path and make the color more believable. I used a darker value of path color for the shadows instead of purple. I scumble a veil of blue over the shadows to account for the influence of the sky.
- To finish the painting I add a FEW small leaf marks. I make myself stop before I get carried away and overwork the painting.
- I soften the outer edges of the tree trunks so they don't pull the eye off the painting. I add a few blue spice marks and call it finished.
When I pulled out this older painting I saw things that I did that I thought I liked but as I have developed and learned more I realize that I work in a different way now. It was fun to go back and rework the painting trying to keep it true to my original vision.