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Monday, January 18, 2016

When Your Underpainting Speaks

'Wild and Free'                     5x7         oil          ©Karen Margulis
available $75
Sometimes a painting will speak. I have to remind myself to listen because it might have something good to say.  I began both of these poppy paintings with a plan. I wanted to have a wild and free poppy meadow under a bright blue sunny sky.  

The first painting I did was the pastel. (photo below) I chose to do a warm color underpainting to accentuate the sunniness of the day. I chose a value underpainting using red. I used salmon for the meadow and pale pink for the sky. I had every intention of layering a beautiful blue sky on top of the pink underpainting. As the painting developed I hesitated to touch the sky. I liked it just the way it was. I liked the pink sky.

The sky was not pink in my reference photo. The sky was supposed to be blue. Leaving it pink meant I changed my whole concept for the painting. Could I do that? Of course I could.

I am an artist.....not a camera.

'Wild and Free 2'        5x7         pastel           $75
I have the artistic license to change anything in a painting if it means making it better. I liked the softness of the pink sky. I liked the atmosphere and mood it created. I was excited by what the painting was telling me.....Keep the sky pink! So I did. And I also painted the oil study with the pink sky.

Important tip:  Whenever your painting moves away from your original concept and reference make sure you adjust the painting to fit the new concept. For example, in the poppy painting changing the sky to a soft pink meant that it was a different time of day and the light was different. I had to make sure to tone down the red on the flowers. I used a salmon pink for the lit areas of the flowers rather than the orange-red I would use if it were a sunny day.

If you would like to paint poppies consider my new pdf demo on painting poppies close-up. See it here in my etsy shop :https://www.etsy.com/listing/263334117/pastel-painting-lesson-demo-pdf


Dotty Seiter said...

Thank you for the in-my-face reminder/affirmation that I am an artist, not a camera : )

Linda said...

Beautiful painting.