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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Behind the Scenes: Queen Annes' Lace Meadow Painting

'Sunset in the Meadow'           5x7       oil on panel          ©Karen Margulis
It's time once again to go behind the scenes of a painting. I am on day 6 of the 30 in 30 challenge and I am sticking to the plan of both a pastel and oil. Today I painted the oil first. I am getting brave!  I took some progress photos of the pastel painting so for the weekly Behind the Scenes blog feature I will share my thoughts as the painting developed.

'Sunset Meadow'      pastel     5x7
Behind the Scenes of a Pastel Painting

I am using a piece of sienna color Canson Mi-Teintes paper. I am working small, 5x7 as part of doing a quick and small daily study. Because it is just a study I do not do a thumbnail or make a plan. I just simply paint. For this painting (and the oil) I didn't even use a reference photo. It is from my imagination. I start by asking myself what did I want to say. The answer: A meadow filled with wildflowers and lots of grasses and textures lit by the warmth of a setting sun.

The warm tone paper will help me meet my goal. I start by blocking in the dark areas of the grass which is in the foreground. I pull some dark up into the sky area so that the eye would have a path of dark to follow. I add some orange to start creating the sunset glow.

Next I block in the bigger flower shapes. These will be Queen Anne's Lace. I use a cool blue violet for two reasons. I want the warmer and lighter petal color to have the cool shadow and a want some of the flowers to remain in the shadows of the grasses so these will stay cool blue.
I make sure to vary the shapes and sizes of the flowers.

Next I add some orange to the flowers. I want there to be a few flowers kissed by the sunlight.
I am using the side of my pastel to make chunky side strokes.

Next I put in the sky color. I use three different yellow pastels starting with a mid value warm yellow and blending the colors with a light value yellow....no finger blending. I let the sticks blend themselves.

Now I continue to add flowers shapes. I want the meadow to be filled with many many flowers. I use blue violet and blue green to give the feeling of distant blooms. I use a pale blue to suggest that some of the flowers in the shadows are getting some  light.

I continue building up the textures in the meadow by using a light spray of Blair workable fixative and then adding some green grasses. The fixative allows me to build more layers and keeps the darks rich and dark enough.

The last marks I make: I use a pale value creamy yellow for the lightest part of the QA Lace. Notice I use a variety of marks for these flowers.....from thick and chunky to thin flat lines.  I also use the edge of a hard pastel to create some linear marks to suggest grasses and stems.Finally I use a push pin to carve into the flowers to create more delicate blooms. Click photo to enlarge. Finished!

Next week I will go Behind the Scenes of an oil painting! I hope you enjoy this new blog feature.


Nancy Laliberte said...

I am loving your oil and pastels 30/30 Challenge series, Karen! You continue to inspire! Thank you!

Sheila said...

Love your work Karen :) And I love how you share your process, and knowledge :)

Meredith Adler said...

There is really something special about that oil painting, Karen!

tres said...


tres said...

Its beautiful