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Thursday, October 29, 2015

The End of a Series...Which Yellow Pastels for Aspens?

'The Grand Finale'                 9x12                  pastel                  ©Karen Margulis
available $145
 I am ready to move on. I am not tired of painting aspens but I have other subjects that are calling out to be painted. It was a fun couple of weeks. Being immersed in one subject has been gratifying. I was stretched to find new and interesting ways to paint the same thing. I did find that my paintings became looser and more expressive as the series went on. That does tend to happen with a series which is why it is such a great exercise for those artists who wish to let go of the reference photo.

Since yellow was the main color of my paintings I learned a few things about working with yellow. I found that I gravitated to a few favorite pastels for my foliage. Here they are in the photo below. My most-used pastels were two Schmincke pastels, a Unison and a few Terry Ludwig pastels. I have always found yellow a challenging color to work with but I have discovered a few things that have helped me.

A collection of Yellow pastels
  • Block in the yellow areas with  darker muted yellows such as an ochre or dull orange-yellow. Save the brighter more intense yellows for the top layers.
  • Consider what is next to or behind the yellow areas. The yellow will be affected by the colors that surround it. (simultaneous contrast)  Using the complements to yellow and yellow-orange will make the yellows vibrate and make them pop. Blues and purples next to the yellow for example will make the yellow appear to be more intense.
  • Use duller yellows. The neutral or dull ugly yellows are needed to make the pure yellows pop.
  • Use very soft pastels for your final yellow marks. I find the Schminke yellows to do an except job for my final marks in any area of yellow. They are so soft and creamy and lend a nice touch of texture to the painting.

Now I will move on to a new project. I hope you have enjoyed following the progression of my series. Perhaps you are inspired to do a series of your own!  Below are the 14 paintings that I completed over the last two weeks. Most are available in my etsy shop here.

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

Wow! I love seeing all of them together, this would make a gorgeous themed show! All different, all rich, colorful and dramatic. I like the earliest ones too, the way the foliage drifts off implying the thinnest twigs and wind blown leaves. Wonderful contrasts of size and style within the series as a whole.

The article's great too, you have me interested in doing a cool autumn scene with golden trees. There's something I remember from when I was a teen that I must paint someday. I walked in a forest preserve of what I think may have been poplars or cottonwoods. They all turned at the same time, so above was this mass of yellow golden foliage and the golden light flowed over everything below it. Gray trunks and mists seemed violet or lavender by contrast, and the ground was solidly covered in yellow fallen leaves, so the golden light just bounced up again from the ground to give everything a rich glow.

I can describe it, but someday I'll need to paint that. One of many on my "artist bucket list" that's starting to come into reach as I get better at memory drawing. It comes a little closer every time I remember it or talk about it.