Friday, May 01, 2015

Reflections on a Breakthrough Moment

'Hope Valley Fall'              8x10          plein air pastel           ©Karen Margulis
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We all have breakthrough moments. Those 'aha' moments when something finally clicks. We may have read about a certain concept over and over. We might have heard it before. Often we don't even realize that we don't quite get it. But when we finally do.....everything starts to make better sense.

I believe that we can only understand what we can process. There is so much to learn when it comes to painting that we can't possibly be expected to know it all right away. It is a process. Keep studying and keep painting and keep looking and those moments of clarity will come.

This painting is an older plein air study. I came across it the other day when searching for something else. I painted it several years ago at a Richard McKinley workshop in Hope Valley California. I learned so much that wonderful week but probably the thing that really clicked was the secret to beautiful greens.

The Secret to Green is Orange and Violet is the friend. 

Or something like that. Richard shared that gem with us and at the workshop I actually got it. I SAW it. I looked at the trees and the green grasses and saw more than just green. I also learned that even if I didn't see it I could certainly exaggerate and enhance my greens with the addition of warm colors and my favorite color....violet. I have never looked at greens quite the same way again.

Do you have a breakthrough moment that really made a difference in your work? Share it in the comments!

4 comments:

Ileana said...

I think we all learned a lesson from this post. Beautiful work, btw.

Hope Thompson said...

This post could not be more timely for me. I am getting ready to do a painting with a lot of green leaves. Will take some time to think about this, before I start! Isn't Hope Valley a wonderful and spiritual place? I don't live that far from it, and always love driving into the Valley from Luther Pass...:o)

robertsloan2art said...

Oh yeah! I can't even remember exactly when I first heard "violet is a friend to green" and orange helps too... I know I'd heard of it but didn't really internalize it till I took a Johannes Vloothuis class and saw him doing it and explaining why they helped.

It helped justify an unconscious crazy love of the color violet that made sense once I got what it did in landscapes. That was a huge leap from literal color, just trying to copy reality or the photo reference. I'd gotten good results with good photos but not much when I tried working from black and white. I couldn't get my favorite greens to work. Now it's something I automatically look for!

Melle Ferre said...

Fascinating post...I have a feeling I'm going to be learning! This painting is so fresh!