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Monday, May 30, 2016

Three Decisions to Make When Starting a New Painting

'Flying Free'        6.5 x 12.5      pastel       ©Karen Margulis
available $175
The Poppy series continues today with more experimentation and play. I had the perfect reference photo for the painting from my trip to Wildseed Farm wildflower farm in Texas. Before I start the painting I have some decisions to make. All of these decisions depend on what I want to say with the painting. So first I ask myself WHY I am painting the subject. The answer will guide my decisions.

DECISION 1: What format should I choose? I don't always have to choose landscape format for a landscape! I can go vertical or square or even panoramic. I also don't have to stick to standard sizes. (although standard sizes are less expensive to frame) I  have enjoyed trying unusual formats this week and I had the perfect scrap of Uart paper to paint another long and tall format. This time it is smaller at 6.5 x 12.5 inches. This tall and narrow format will fir my idea of having the poppies reaching for the sky! 

DECISION 2: I have my reference photo and my paper now I had to decide how I would approach the painting. Should I just tone the paper? Should I do a wet underpainting? Should I just jump right in and paint directly with soft pastels with no underpainting? So many choices! Each one is a valid choice but would lead to a very different painting. 
*note* I like to use Uart paper because it is so versatile but the type of paper you use will also change the look of the painting so take a minute to pick the right paper if you use several types.

DECISION 3: I decide to do a wet underpainting because it suits the subject. My concept for the painting was to have a tangle of poppies reaching into the sky. There would be a hight horizon leaving a lot of the foreground grasses visible. A wet and drippy underpainting would give me a head start on the loose and expressive grasses. 
Of course there are many choices for wet underpaintings from simply wetting the pastel to using other media. I choose to use a black underpainting with black inktense stick and rubbing alcohol.

wet underpainting with black inktense and alcohol

Blocking in the darks

adding the colorful dirt

painting the sky and starting on the grass

blocking in the poppies

almost done....a few fixes for the finish!

There are more decisions that we make when starting a painting but these are three that will get you started on the right foot....with a plan!

1 comment:

BJR said...

A beautiful set of paintings. They bring tears to my eyes.