|'Buzzing in the Garden' 9x12 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
|The watercolor underpainting on Uart 500|
"A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people." Edgar Degas
I agree wholeheartedly with Degas. I didn't want to paint perfect flowers and bees. I didn't want to copy my reference photo. I wanted to leave something for the imagination. The watercolor underpainting got me started in the right direction. The tangle of drips suggested the flowers and stems. The looseness of the watercolor encouraged me to keep my pastel marks expressive.
I tried to say as much as possible with few strokes. Keeping the mystery. Keeping things vague. My little bumblebees emerged from just 4 or 5 strokes of pastel. Up close they are a collection of marks. The colors and shapes suggest a bee and so they become bees.
Watercolor underpaintings are the perfect way to start a pastel painting with a little mystery! They drip and bloom and can't be totally controlled and predictable. The mystery begins as soon as the paint is applied!