|'Deeply into the Meadow' 16x20 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
When I paint I usually have some kind of inner dialog. I talk through my decisions and choices especially at the start and finish of a painting. Often in the middle stages I can loose track of my thoughts and work more intuitively.....IF I have planned well and know my direction.
Today I thought it would be fun to share my thought process for this painting. I want to share with you what in the world I was thinking! I hope you enjoy my inner dialog.
|plans for the painting|
- I chose my reference photo to suit the technique I wanted to share. I know that a drippy and serendipitous watercolor underpainting would suit the subject which was a tangle of weeds and wildflowers.
- I did a quick black and white value thumbnail with markers. I used 4 values to simplify the subject and create a strong base for the painting. The dark shape is invented to suggest a pathway into the painting and to provide something for the flowers to hang onto.
- I selected my color palette. I actually cheated sort of.....I wanted to pack as lightly as possible so I planned to have all of my demos utilize the same limited palette. This scene was easily adapted to this palette of colors. To make sure it would work I did a small color study. I liked the results so my plan was in place.
- I also prepared the paper for the demo and packed my watercolors and brushes. I chose white paper (pastel premiere) to exploit the transparency of the watercolor.
|small color study......2.5 x 3.5 inches $35|
|quick black and white thumbnail|
- I used Cretacolor Aqua Briques for the underpainting. I knew I wanted to make the underpainting as dark, rich and vibrant as I possible could so I began with painting in the dark shapes.
- My goal was to preserve as much of the watercolor as possible so I approached the painting with a very light touch. I built up the dark areas first.
- In many areas I preserved the watercolor by whispering pastel in the same color and value as the underpainitng. The sky is an example. If you look closely there is only a thin layer of blue pastel over a blue watercolor underpainting.
- The placement of the flowers.....I put the largest flowers in place in the initial drawing and underpainting. But many of the smaller flower shapes are added as the painting develops. I don't really plan them rather I 'feel' them. I place them where I think they will best fit the flow and movement of the eye. I trust my intuition. (sometimes I am wrong and then I brush out and try again)
- Color...I was working with a limited palette that I had to make work. I only thought about keeping the values in the right place and not breaking up the value masses too much. The limited palette is actually quite liberating. I am able to play with marks rather than worry about color. I used both light marks and heavy marks to add variety and interest.
- I wanted to move the limited color around so I decided to add some blue marks to the flowers thus connecting the blue of the sky into the meadow.
|adding a spot of blue|
|interesting texture created by a change in mark making|
|Allowing the watercolor to show|