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Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Tip for Finishing a Painting

'View From the Water'           8x10         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $150
The painting is almost finished. It is almost there. But something is missing. It lacks the finishing touch. There is no eye candy. I like to call it spice. The little pop of color or an interesting mark that pleases the eye. It is very much like cooking. If you make a dish and play it safe....it may not be as satisfying. You want to take a bite and keep on eating. Spices used in moderation will do the trick.

Adding spice to a painting may make the difference in your viewer coming back for more or moving on to the next painting. So how do you decide what to do for a spice? What color? Where should it go? There is no single answer but I do have a tip that works well.


4x4 color study
What does that mean? Whenever you are looking for a color to add spice or a pop of eye candy revisit the colors you put down in your underpainting or first layer of the painting. In today's painting I decided to use pink for the underpainting. I used a dark hot pink for the foliage and a paler pink for the sky and water. I chose pink because I knew it would make the greens more interesting since it is a warm color and the green is cool (and almost complements). I also have used this combination before and liked the effect. Scroll down to see some progress shots:

Drawing the tree shapes

Blocking in the painting with pinks and dark blue in the tree trunks

Rubbed in the first layer to get an out of focus watery feel

Begin building the painting using dark red violet in the trees

 I continued incorporating pinks in each layer. This helps with color harmony. But when I was finished I wanted more spice. That is when I picked up the original hot pink pastel I used in the underpainting and made a couple of small marks along the edge of the tree trunk. Click on the photo below and look for these spice marks.  They are just small marks but they added the needed spice.

The next time you are trying to decide how to finish a painting....consider your spices and bringing the underpainting colors to the finishing layers!

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