|'Hurry Up!' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
I am not a landscape purist. I like touches of life in my paintings. Birds, bees, buildings and people all add an element of interest to a painting. Sometimes a small figure or even a telephone wire is just what the painting needs. For me it makes me feel connected to the scene....it invites me to join in.
Adding figures to a landscape or cityscape can be a challenge. I am not a figurative painter so it makes it even more of a challenge. I have a few tips that have helped me.
Most important tip: I remind myself that a figure is just another shape. If I get the shape and gesture accurate the figure will come to life.
I have two approaches to adding a figure to a painting. I will share one today and the other in tomorrow's blog post.
|Blocking in the figure|
Adding a Larger Figure:
- When the figure will be larger than an inch I will block in the figure and work on both the figure and the surroundings at the same time.
- I start with a dark value and mass in the entire shape of the figure. I try to get the gesture ...how the figure is moving and posing.
- After the figure is blocked in I begin laying in the shapes and colors of the background.
- Back to the figure I add lighter values to give the figure some form. I pay attention to the direction and color of the light source.
- To refine the figure I use negative painting....I make use of the background color to carve into the figure.
- I use the edges and side of my softest pastel for the figures....they are simply a collection of marks that I apply with bold strokes.
- I don't worry about faces or features....I keep the figures simple. SIMPLE SHAPES that SUGGEST
|Developing the background and refining the figure|
|Adding the snow|
Below is another cityscape with figure done in the same way....she is a collection of simple shapes.
|'City Lights' 5x7 pastel sold|