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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Painting Flowers with a Power Block-In


'Gently She Blooms'      5x7          pastel          ©Karen Margulis
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There is something about the color black. Using it makes me feel powerful. But how many times are we told not to use black in a painting....it is deadly or dull. We are told to use other dark colors but to avoid black. I am guilty of both following and sharing this bit of advice. Today I was in the mood to break some 'rules'. 

I used a black pastel and did a Power Block-in! It emboldened me. It made me fearless. It was a great way to start my poppy painting.



I started with a black Nupastel and a piece of light gray pastel mat 5x7. I lightly drew my flower shapes and then boldly blocked in the shapes with the side of my pastel. Big Bold black strokes! I sprayed the block -in with workable fixative and let it dry.


The dark block- in gave form to my flowers. All I needed to do was develop the form and add the middle and lighter values. I kept the beginning layers dark. I used a few dark value pastels from my set of Terry Ludwig darks (a must have)

Terry Ludwig darks


I continued developing the form of the flowers going from dark to lighter and warmer. I like the painting at this stage. I can imagine finishing it with a few simple stem lines. But I was committed to finishing the painting so I worked on a background.


The background is made up of strokes of bold color, all Terry Ludwig pastels. I wanted it to be green but a cooler green to allow the flowers to come forward. I then returned to the flowers and added the finishing marks....some bright red orange highlights and a touch of blue.


That was a fun way to start a painting. I'm going to call it a Power Block-in. It was liberating! It really changed my state of mind from unsure and tentative to bold and almost reckless....and that is fun!



5 comments:

robertsloan2art said...

It came out wonderful! The sealing layer of fixative probably helped too, it wouldn't smudge up into the lighter tones that much. Great concept and I love how that first stage looked like a perfect notan. From then on it was absolutely great. I can also understand the temptation to stop early - I run into that too sometimes, when a painting would have been perfect left at an earlier stage. Carrying that through so the finish is as beautiful as the recognition point is pure virtuosity!

Layne Roach said...

Love, love, love!!!!!! I did a workshop where the artist used charcoal to block in the mass then pastel on top! But Love your idea too!! Thanks!!! Tempted to buy this one for my collection too!!! Your works affect my heart so much, bless you Karen!

Adriana Guidi said...

Ooh nice sort of like a value sketch underpainting..love this idea !A new technique to try with the black nupastel! Thanks Karen!

Sheri Trepina said...

Your work is magical to me......thank you for continuing to share your process, I'm a better artist for it.🌸

Debbie Ilges said...

I am the lucky recipient of this absolutely breath taking piece of art, "Gently She Blooms"! I first saw a picture of this piece posted on my uncle's FB page and made a comment on its beauty then. Imagine my surprise when I received this as a gift to cheer me up. It worked!!! Know that this piece of work is so appreciated and loved and will be in an art lovers home on permanent display for years! Thank you for sharing your talent and skill! Just beautiful......