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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Aspen Series part 4 ...Turn Things Upside Down

'Mountain Glow'             5x7              pastel                 ©Karen Margulis
The more I paint the aspens the more I want to paint them. It happens like that with a series. I begin getting comfortable with my subject and the well opens up. My 'What If' attitude is turned on full force and I am on the hunt of new ways to express my subject. I ask myself questions. What if I tried a grouping of minis? What if I just did a watercolor or maybe even an oil painting of aspens? What if I tried black paper? The more  questions I ask... the faster the ideas flow.

So today I decided I would do a quick and small painting. I have started a knitting project that is competing for my attention. I had a 5x7 piece of toned Uart with the beginnings of an old demo. What if I just reused this paper underpainting and all?

My reference photo and paper turned upside down

I could have brushed off the underpainting but it really was just a thin layer of hard pastel so I decided to leave it be.

TIP: When reusing paper that has a painting or underpainting on it,  try brushing it out or just turn the paper upside down. This creates abstract shapes and colors making it easier to begin with a new subject. These brushed off ghost underpaintings create a wonderful base for a new painting.

The sketch on top of a previous underpainting

I started with a dark blue Nupastel to sketch in the main shapes in the scene. I am ignoring the dark blobs of the previous underpainting.  In the end they actually add a bit of definition to the distant aspen clad hillside.

The block in with local colors

Next I blocked in these big shapes with color. Unusual for me this time I went strickly with the local color....dark blue green for the fir trees, Vibrant yellows for the hillside, blues for the distant mountains and pale blue for the sky. Why local color this time? I don't always know the answer. Underpainting colors are usually just a feeling or intuitive decision. If I were to analyze my choice this time I would say I was trying to do a quick study of this hillside and what drew me to the scene were the vibrant colors....so why not just go with them in this quick study! Get right to the point.

At this stage the painting was almost finished. All I needed to do was decide just how much detail and clarity I wanted. I wanted to keep a loose expressive feeling so I kept my marks bold and tried not to fuss too much.


Cindy Michaud said...

Love this, great attitude and tips. Now, how about a photo of the competing knit project?! Glad to hear other artists get distracted by shiny objects as well.

robertsloan2art said...

This is so beautiful. Wonderful way to reuse an abandoned underpainting. Really going to have to go through my fails on sanded paper and see if I can brush them down, flip them and try to do something new with it.

Gorgeous finish and I like a wide gold frame with it.