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Saturday, February 13, 2016

More on Painting Grasses with Pastels

'Enveloped in Peace'            11x14        pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $165
Many a good landscape painting has been ruined by grass.  It's true!  There is something about painting a field of grass that causes many artists to get carried away.  I do it myself when I am not paying attention.  Three things happen frequently when trying to paint a grassy area.

  1. The artist isn't focused and puts in blades of grass randomly. A piece here , another over there and before you know it there are spotty blades of grass with no purpose or direction.
  2. The artists gets so caught up in the painting of the grass blades that they over-do it.  Rather than putting in a few pieces of well placed grass...there are too many and not anything left to the viewer's imagination.
  3. The artist paints grass that looks like a child's work. I don't mean to sound harsh because it is something that happens without our knowledge. Think about how children draw or paint grass. What happens is that our brain tries to help us paint grass using the symbol we have...how we drew grass as a child. We end up with a fence of rigid rows of grass.
So what can we do to improve the way we paint grasses with pastels?   ROLL THEM!

Using the rolling technique
Rolling the pastel creates much more painterly grasses than when we just try to draw them.  You need to use a round pastel for this technique. Hard or soft will work with each giving a different result. (see chart below)  All you do is place the top edge of the round pastel on the paper and push and roll it across the paper until you get the grass length you need. Here are a few tips:

The results of rolling with some round pastels

  • Vary the pressure as you roll to get a broken line which looks more natural.
  • Change the direction of your marks so that you don't end up with a line of fence of grasses....this creates a visual barrier.
  • Use harder pastels such as Rembrandts and Art Spectrum to get a finer line with more control.
  • Use a softer pastel such as a Sennelier or Schminke for a chunkier grass. The softer pastel fives a more textured grass.
  • Pay attention where you place each grass.....every blade of grass should have a purpose. I like to use my grasses to help move the eye around the painting.
Have fun with painting grass and don't forget to Roll the pastel! 

This is just one of the ways I like to paint grasses. I share more in my YouTube video. Have a look at the video here and please share it if you like it!https://youtu.be/n-MNHNxm6y8


jytte said...

Dear Karen,

thank you very much for your demonstration. :o)

betknit said...

Hi Karen,

Thanks for your useful tips!

1Thedairy said...

Very helpful demo. Thank you