Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Power of Marks...Reworking an Older Painting

'Wanderings'            9x12         pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available for purchase $155
I am making a huge mess. But I am having fun doing it.  I have the whole month of December with no trips or classes. My time is my own and I intend to make the most of it. It begins with a major studio clean-up. It is amazing how stuff piles up in nooks and crannies when you are always on the go!  But I am at the tipping point. I have to reorganize so I can paint with more freedom and efficiency.

It is going to be a process and I will share it with you of course! I began the process by having an art sale. I am uncovering studies and demos that need homes. I would rather them be enjoyed rather than sit in a dusty pile. (the 50% off sale ends Monday at midnight. Read about it HERE)

Even though I am trying to clean up I still can't stay away from the pastels! As I uncover older paintings, I see them with a fresh eye and I can't help but want to make some adjustments! Today's painting redo with my comments:


Before the reworking...soft and fuzzy
 This is a  9 x 12 painting on Wallis Belgian Mist paper. It was originally a demo so it was never really finished. On first glance it seemed OK. Not a terrible effort. But it lacked something. It was just a nice scene but it all seemed to soft and mushy.

The painting suffered from its softness. It needed some decisive, confident marks.

For the redo I addressed the following:

  • I refreshed the sky. Using the same colors I made some stronger marks on top of the soft sky already in place. I added wispy cloud marks which gave more air and depth to the sky.
  • I changed the colors and shapes of the trees. I paid closer attention to the negative spaces in the trees and added trunks and sky holes. With just a few marks I was able to create more depth. The trees were no longer big blobs.
  • I like the colors in the field. I added some violet for interest and simply used a heavier touch with the distant peach marks so they would pull they eye back into the distance.
  • The foreground flowers needed a more decisive touch. I decided exactly where I wanted to place the flowers and made a heavier more confident mark. I added a few violet flowers in the shadows. I also used some workable fixative to slightly darken the foreground grasses.


close up detail
What have I learned from this redo?  I like the contrast between the softness and the bolder marks. I like the idea of taking a softer out of focus painting and giving areas more clarity. I know that well placed marks, made with a bolder hand will do the trick. If you are tentative with your marks, it will show. I was too tentative. I have learned that I don't need to fear I will mess up....it is only paper!

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

Wow! The older version was pretty. I would have liked it. The redo is amazing! I love the way you can look at an older painting and just finish up with everything you learned since you did it. Growth is lifelong!

Have fun on your studio cleanup. You'll probably discover new-again pastels you didn't know you had, fun stuff that you bought years ago that got buried, stashes of good paper, all sorts of things along with those unfinished demos and updateable older paintings.

In a week I'll be going through my stuff again too with some help, repacking and reorganizing before the exterminator comes. It'll be great. I'll find old favorites and maybe look through some of my older art too. Today I finish my Nanovel, tomorrow's for pastels!