2019 Workshop Schedule coming this week!
Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction. New Paint-Along Videos coming!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

One Important Thing Every Painting Needs

'Enchanted Forest'          11x14          pastel            ©Karen Margulis

I stood at the edge of the enchanted forest. I entered the shelter of the tall trees and it was like entering a great cathedral. It was silent. Deep moss cushioned my steps. I looked around in awe. It was the forest of fairytales. Deep and dark and mysterious but somehow not at all threatening. We were in the forest on the grounds of Ekenas Slott in Sweden. Searching for mushrooms...and blueberries and beetles. Treasures of the woods. My friend wandered in search of treasure while I wandered with my camera....could I capture the awe and wonder that I felt? Could I capture the gentle whisper of the wind? Or the way the light filtered through the trees and illuminated the forest floor? Maybe not with photos but maybe with paint. This moment needed to be painted. It was my story and I wanted to share.

Treasures of the Enchanted Forest photo collage

I painted my enchanted forest and I painted it with passion and it expresses my heart and soul and hopefully it will speak to others.

So what does every painting need? A good composition? Strong value plan? Good color harmony? A good drawing and handling of the medium are important. These things all contribute to making a painting strong. But there is something else. A very important thing that sometimes is not given enough time and care to develop.

Every good painting needs a story.

The artist needs to have an emotional connection to the subject. This is possible when there is a story behind the subject. Especially if we work from photos we need to have first hand experience with the subject matter in the photo. There is a story behind every photo. Some are compelling. Some evoke strong feelings. Some are just dull and uninteresting with a story to match.
Choose the photos with a good story.

We will have a more intimate and successful painting if we are connected to the story behind our reference photo. The viewer may end up interpreting the painting in their own personal way but if it was painted with heart and soul it will speak loudly.

The value thumbnail, notan and reference photo

Fresh from the Forests of Sweden

 Painting Notes:  11x15 UArt 500 with a value underpainting using a dark blue Nupastel. All greens are from Terry Ludwig's full set of greens...the perfect set for painting enchanted forests!


robertsloan2art said...

That's interesting. Thank you for this article. Sometimes for me the story is about art, about a painting seen in a museum or something I wanted very much to paint, a color I wanted to use. Sometimes it's more personal, flowers and the memories associated with them. Cats of course always have a story of their own.

jytte said...

Dear Karen

Beautiful painting

Anonymous said...

Karen I have been following your blog for a while now am a novice painter of watercolor. This latest post did touch me very personal. Reminders me of a very special place. You are so talented love all your work, inspires me to dream a little at my age over 60. I could only pray and practice that I will do half as good a job of a painting as you Namaste m g j.

Erika Perloff said...

No fair, you got chanterelles AND a great painting. Lovely description of the importance of being connected to the scene. Did you get to eat the mushrooms?