|'Return to Sanibel Island' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
|The original painting done in 2005|
Daily Practice has paid off! I have learned a lot about what makes a good painting....composition, value, color theory, pastel techniques. I have learned about creating the illusion of depth. I have learned to be sensitive to color and light. Much of what I learned was from books and other artists. We all can gather information and study.......but the true key to growth is putting this information to work. It takes practice and many many paintings and using this knowledge in order for our paintings to improve and show growth.
I still have a lot more to learn. Maybe I will try this scene again in 10 more years. Actually I think I will revisit it every November! Below I will break down the things I learned and changed in the remaking of the painting:
- I have learned that I don't need to copy the reference photo. In fact I never copy a photo anymore. I use it to start the painting but I quickly stop looking at it. It becomes more important to make the painting work and not worrying about being true to the photo. In the older painting I was still very much in the early stage of learning to paint and being very literal to my photos. I copied what I saw rather than make better choices. In the revised version I added more palm trees, changed the direction of the path and changed the shapes and layering of the distant bushes.....all done to create a better composition.
- I have learned how to create a better sense of depth in a landscape using the principles of aerial perspective. In the older painting I tried to make the distant trees cooler but they are too blue and not believable. They are also all the same color and value and the shapes don't overlap. In the revised painting I used cooler and neutral and lighter greens for the distant trees. I also changed the way the shapes overlap creating more depth. I also changed the colors and marks from the foreground into the background....all designed to give the illusion of depth.
- I have learned how to create better pathways. The path in the old painting appears to go uphill. I changed the direction of the path and made it get thinner and flatter in the revised painting. I also changed the colors from front to back....all designed to make the path look like it is going back instead of up in the air.
- I have learned to do better sky holes! This has taken much practice and restraint. I have learned to slow down and pay attention to the negative spaces in trees and other elements of the landscape. These subtle refinements make all the difference in the final painting.
|my underpainting on gray canson mi-teintes paper|