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Friday, June 24, 2016

Tips for Painting Lupines

'Lupines in Iceland'         5x7      pastel      ©Karen Margulis
available on DailyPaintworks auction here

I was enchanted by the lupines in Iceland. Maybe because they are my favorite color. I am drawn to violet like a bear to honey. So to see miles and miles of purple flowers carpeting the hills was exciting. The lupines in Iceland seem to be everywhere. I've heard differing opinions from Icelanders about the lupines. Some don't like them. They are invasive weeds. But others told me they don't mind because they at least they are pretty weeds...better than ugly weeds. Some say they are beneficial for controlling erosion. I know that I fell in love with them and they quickly became my most favorite thing to paint.

a lupine meadow by the sea on the Reykjanes peninsula
I made it my mission to conquer the lupines and to find the best way to paint them so they looked authentic yet painterly. I am still discovering the many subtleties of this wonderful blue-violet flower but I have come up with some ways to help me capture the feeling of the lupines. Here are three tips:

5x7 lupines available by auction here
  1.  Know the Lupine. Study them intently. Look at them and describe them using descriptive art words.....colors, shape, value. How do they grow? How big are they? What else about their habits?Sketch them. If they are plentiful then cut a few and bring them inside for study and sketching. Paint them from life. Mother Nature is the best teacher and you will become intimate with them if you can paint them from life. The painting above was painted from life looking out the studio window at a patch of lupines.

5x7 pastel sold
2. Effective Massing of Lupines: I enjoy painting close-ups of individual blooms but I am more interested in painting the masses of flowers as they cover the landscape. It is nice to know that you don't need to paint every single bloom in the patch to have the painting work. In fact, it is better to suggest a big mass of color and pull out a few individual flowers in more detail. The viewer's eye will fill in the rest of the detail. Choose a few blooms to develop more completely. These flowers should be where you want the viewer's eye to rest and not random.



selfie in the lupines!

3 Get the right pastels. Make a 'Lupine Box' of as many violet pastels as you have. Lupines come in a variety of colors from dark blue violet to a pale almost white violet. They often have touches of red violet, blues and even greens in the blooms. I like to use some grayed down violets along with my bright intense violets. Having a few lupine colors all together makes it easier to do many studies. 

Two of my lupine paintings are available by auction this week. Click on the links under each painting for details.

1 comment:

Dee Martella said...

I love your lupeines! Massing them is far better than painting them as individual flowers. The only exception is , of course, the Queen Anne's Lace you do so beautifully!