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Monday, March 07, 2016

From the Archives: Putting Figures in Landscapes

'City Sidewalks'            6x6            pastel         ©Karen Margulis
 It began last Fall.  I started putting tiny suggestions of houses in my marsh paintings. It's funny how our work evolves and changes.  I never was interested in adding figures or buildings to my paintings. I primarily painted 'pure' landscapes and they usually had no signs of life....no buildings and certainly no figures.

But lately I seem drawn to showing how we interact with the landscape and cities. I am enjoying the suggestion of a person in my paintings....children sledding, people walking in the city...nothing detailed. Maybe just a few strokes but enough to allow my viewers to imagine being in the painting.

'The Winter Walk'             6x6           pastel   sold

It must have been brewing for awhile...this desire to add people to my paintings. When I look at the reference photos I have taken, many of them include people. The last few cruises I have taken I have filled sketchbooks with gesture drawing of my fellow passengers. It is being stored in my head so It can now come out in my work!

I remember a conversation I once had with Terry Ludwig several years ago. I was attending his workshop and the discussion came up about painting figures and buildings in the landscape.  I said there was no way I could ever paint a figure or architecture....it was too hard!  Terry said "Remember they are just SHAPES"  That has stuck with me and now I remind myself that I can paint them because after all they are only shapes!

'Take Me Sledding'            6x6         pastel

'The Coming Snow'               6x6           pastel

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

It doesn't take much to put figures in the distance or middle ground, they simplify easily. I've done it and it's not hard, but I tend not to for personal reasons. Each their own.

I know what I'm working on is similar and parallel. I would like to add more wildlife to my paintings and carry them farther away from people and more toward wilderness. There comes a point that trees and rocks and skies aren't as challenging, when the landscape wants a story. For me that's big cats or maybe birds or deer.