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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Making of a Daily Pastel Painting....step by step demo

'Along the Back Roads'          5x7        pastel         ©Karen Margulis
painting available $75 
If only I could feel as motivated to workout everyday!  I often say that painting everyday is a habit I've developed and it is much like a good exercise program.....I feel bad if I don't get to paint. I will make time to paint despite things that pull me in different directions. If you have a good exercise habit and routine the same thing will make time to work out.

So today despite the messy studio (clean up in the works) I had to stop for a 30 minute painting break. I don't take time to plan a painting for these quick dailies. I just grab a piece of paper and a reference photo from my stack and put them on the easel. I use whatever pastels that are out from previous paintings. It is a matter of simplification and  expression...playing with colors and marks.

I thought you might enjoy the making of today's quick daily painting. My comments below:

My reference photo. This is a scene from my recent trip to Nebraska.  I loved the hay bales and the colors of the hay and foliage against the blue sky.

I picked up a piece of Uart 400 sanded paper that I had already toned gray with Art Graf. I chose it simply because it was at the top of the pile which I never do when planning a painting but often when I am just playing. I did a quick drawing with a Nupastel setting up my design and big shapes.

I begin by blocking in the dark areas of the painting. The trees and sides of the hay bales are all upright planes so they are the darkest shapes. I use a dark peach, dark purple and blue. I then use a middle dark blue violet to push the trees back.

I start to add some of the local colors in the trees....the greens. This will be covered with some warmer colors since I want to capture the feeling of warm sunlight on the trees.

Next I move onto the light areas....the sky. The sky was also warm so I chose some warmer blues and peaches and layered them together in the sky.

Above is a photo showing the sky colors and the rusts and peaches in the trees. I start to put in some peach in the grasses but I decided to put down a layer of cool color first.

Since I knew the grass would be warm oranges I decided to underpaint the grass with the complement of blue. I would leave some of the blue in the shadows/ The orange on top of the blue will make it more exciting than just orange on its own.

Now I develop the grasses and set up the hay bales. Theses hay bales will go through some transformations. I even had to move some around to make a better pathway into the painting. I also tried to keep the principles of aerial perspective in mind making the bales get smaller and duller and lighter as they recede into the distance.

More development of the grass and hay bales. I am trying not to cover up all of the blue.

 Now I am using yellows and greens on the hay bales. I also add more warm colors to the distant trees.

 I am almost finished. The next step is refinement and adding a few details and spices. I use the sky colors to add some negative spaces in the trees....skyholes. Add a few bits of pure color in  a few key areas....where I want the eye to stop. Can you find these spice colors?

Finished daily painting. Ahhhhh. Now I can sit down and have a piece of chocolate.  Hmmmm or maybe I should go ride the stationary bike?

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

Wow! Thanks for the step by step demo! That is so beautiful. I love how you have your routine worked out for these with an automatic random element - the pastels you already have out!

The cool thing about your own photos is that you saw more colors in this scene than were there n the photo. The photo shows a muted orange almost monochrome area, and an uninteresting sky, sort of Photo Blue Sky, the limited gamut of the camera. But you're using that for form. The rich colors in your painting came from standing out there with eyes that see color as well as an eagle does taking in the light that particular golden afternoon. Photos are a memory aid and sometimes a guide to form. You move stuff around as you please, just as you would if painting on site.

Then you play with color to get these random sticks to convey what you want. I love the way the blue shadows make the scene pop! I'm sure those blues were there in person - the photo never captured them though. This is awesome!

A while back you blogged about the convenience of using Cretacolor Aqua Brique watercolors for an underpainting. I'd had those in mind for some time, but Blick's discontinuing them. They didn't have the 20 color set any more but I ordered the 10 color set and tucked it into the package with my grandkids' Christmas presents order - so in March when I get back to Arkansas, I'll be able to try that technique and see if I can dare let some drips roll down to become flower stems or tree trunks or roots! They're going to be fun!