2018 Workshop Schedule. New workshops added! click here for details.
Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction

Monday, February 08, 2016

How To Fix a Pastel Painting Problem

'Creekside Neighbors'         16x20        pastel          ©Karen Margulis
available $250
I knew there was a problem with the painting. It wasn't immediately clear but there was something that bothered me. I put the painting on a spare easel and went to bed.  In the morning the problem was clear. How could I have overlooked it? How come I painted it that way in the first place?  It would be a fairly easy fix.

the original demo painting as left from the demo
 So what was the problem? Have a look at the photo just above and see if you can spot the problem area.  It is the tree trunks on the trees on the left. They are just not interesting. My brain did a great job organizing them. They are nice and straight, the same size and shape and even leaning in the same direction. Boring!  They needed to have a more interesting relationship. They needed a bit of an adjustment.

Brushing out the boring tree trunks
I needed to change the direction of the way one of the trees was leaning. I also wanted to give the trunks a better shape. They needed to get thinner as they went higher.

How to fix the problem: 
I needed to brush off trunks to restore some tooth of the paper. It would be too hard to put the lighter value of the golden grasses over the dark trunks. I used a stiff and very worn bristle brush to brush off the tree trunks. There was a slight ghost image of the trunks but it would be easy to cover that with new pastel layers.

Once I brushed the old trunks off I simply repainted the trunks making sure that I kept them natural and interesting. It is sometimes difficult to get the nerve up to brush off an area in a painting that you generally like. What if you ruin it! The painting becomes precious. Don't let this happen. It is better to take a deep breath and dive in with the brush and make the changes. Remember....It's only paper!

Have you seen my latest YouTube video? I'd love for you to check it out and see how I paint grasses.
Here is the link:https://youtu.be/n-MNHNxm6y8


Malinda said...

That is hard to do at times for me. I am a new artist, I used to sketch when I was younger. Now, years later, I ache to create. Wondered what has kept me from putting imagination to paper. I tell myself all the things that I should. I don't know if it's the fear of facing a blank page, but I think you hit it on the head... What if I mess up, what if I ruin it, placing the paper on a strange level. Odd huh?

ByGog said...

Remember....It's only paper!
This is really good advice Karen, must try to keep it in mind.

Jo Castillo said...

This is great, Karen. Thank you.

robertsloan2art said...

Great demo! It's not a technique I've used often because I'm more likely to just start over with a fresh piece of paper or make changes with what's there. But then I work small pretty often so I'm not really fighting supply issues, it's more a matter of time and effort invested in a given painting. If I do it'll often be months later that I see something else I can do there - but the nice thing about pastels is that it doesn't matter if you do that an hour after it's done or a year later.

It's more that reading your demo, that is its own session. That's all it is. Something I could do specifically sometime just going through older paintings or if I think of a solution to one. Brushing out does work.