|'Golden Trails' 9x12 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
I love working in a series. I don't have to decide what my subject is when I enter the studio. I just have to decide on my approach. I never know what approach I will take until I stand in front of my pile of papers. Today I decided to go soft and dreamy.
My reference photo showed a trail into the aspens and evergreens just off the Aspen View lookout in the Santa Fe ski basin. I wanted to highlight a few of the aspens and make them have more clarity than the other trees. The rest of the trees would be less important....softer. I knew I could achieve this soft dreamy look by doing two things.
1. Paper choice. I decided to use Canson Mi-Teintes paper. It is a soft unsanded paper that I really enjoy. I find the pastel application can have a softer look on Canson which suits my concept for this painting. Sanded paper grabs the pastel and allows for many layers. I find that often my paintings look crisper and more vibrant on sanded paper and while I love that, it is not what I wanted for today's painting.
2. Underpainting technique. I chose to do a dry wash underpainting. I blocked in the extremes: darkest dark, lightest light, most intense color and the remaining middle values. I then rubbed in this first layer. The result was a soft out of focus underpainting. Having everything fuzzy and soft allowed me to add detail and clarity slowly and only where I wanted it.
|Out of focus underpainting|
|Almost finished. Just need to add detail to my most important trees|
|same palette for painting #3 although getting messy!|