Monday, August 29, 2016

Behind the Scenes: Another Painting Transformed into a Marsh


'Ever Changing'          13x18         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $175
I think it is about the challenge for me. It isn't the cost of paper that keeps me from throwing out these quick demos I did for school children. They are on Canson Mi-Teintes which I purchased in bulk. It must be the challenge of taking something awful and transforming it into something completely different. I think I like it better than starting on a fresh surface. 

I have three more of these demos. You can see last week's transformation here. This week I decided to turn the demo painting into a golden autumn marsh. I describe how I did it below.


The demo. The kids wanted a tree, water, a bird and purple flowers!

The paper is brown Canson Mi-Teintes smooth side. The first thing I do is brush off as much pastel as possible. I don't mind if there was a ghost image remaining. I just want to restore some tooth. I then spray the paper with workable fixative to fix the ghost layer.



Next I draw a new horizon line and block in all of the dark areas of the marsh. I use a few dark purple pastels. The dark areas were along the edges of the creek at the base of the grasses. I try some rusts, yellows and greens just to test the colors. I also add more blue to the sky. I need to cover the dark shape that was the tree so I use a Diane Townsend pastel. Since the pastel has pumice it is a great match for the Canson paper. A few passes of blue and the tree was gone!



I finish the sky with a touch of pale peach at the horizon and paint the water with the same pastels that I used in the sky.  I start to add some violets in the grasses. I want the violets to play with the yellows that will be added. At this stage I can't see any remnants of the older demo painting.


I paint the distant land with some cool blues and violets. I start to build the grasses by starting with some intense oranges and red-orange. The grasses will be golden yellows but there needs to be variety in the color so I start darker and richer. I use bigger and bolder marks for this step. I don;t paint individual blades of grass until the final few minutes.




Next I add some yellows and yellow greens to the grasses starting to paint individual grasses with the edge of hard pastels. The final marks I make are the distant buildings. They are just tiny marks. Click the photo to enlarge and see the details.

That was another fun transformation! I think I realize why I like these challenges. I like them because I can't possibly make the painting worse than it was! That takes the pressure off and makes it fun! Try it!

2 comments:

Catherine M said...

Inspiring!! In the spirit of de-cluttering: if it doesn't give you joy, paint over it! I'm going to attack my pile of fails with renewed hope. Thank you for sharing, and for admitting that you also have some "losers" that can be saved!

BJR said...

This is beautiful...and inspiring. To not throw away, but re-do. All your paintings are beautiful...but your marshes and wildflowers are over the top!! And once again...thanks for the Sunday video's. Love them!! The closest thing I'll ever get to one of your classes. ;)