|'Coastal Dreams' 9x12 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
In this post I take you behind the scenes and invite you into my studio as I share my thoughts as this painting developed.
|My reference photo along with my pencil notations|
I decided to use this photo for a private class demo. We were focusing on creating depth and leading the viewer through the painting. I thought it would make a good example of both. The first thing I did was evaluate the reference photo for possibilities. I saw some things I wanted to change. All changes would hopefully lead to a better composition and painting.
Random Planning Thoughts
- To create more depth I added another layer to the landscape with an additional distant headland.
- I decided to bring this headland in at an angle leading into the painting. (see pencil mark) the existing headland was angled down which I felt pulled my eye out of the painting too quickly.
- There are some distant short trees that are barely visible in the photo. I wanted them to be visible so I drew around them in pencil so I would remember to include them. Having the trees visible would allow me to paint land in between and behind them creating more depth.
- I changed the direction of the water/creek to make it more interesting and a better pathway for the viewer.
- I decided to keep the flowers in the foreground low. In the photo they are tall and spindly. I could have made them taller but it was just a personal decision to keep them low. I would arrange them so that they would draw the eye into the painting.
|my pastel palette is a combination of Terry Ludwig and Unisons with a few misc pastels|
- I selected a middle value gray piece of Canson Mi-Teintes paper 9x12. I like this paper for a landscape. The gray is harmonizing when it peeks through the layer of pastels. I began with a four value underpainting using violet. I chose violet because I knew I would have a lot of yellow in the painting and the complement of purple would make a pleasing combination.
- Since I took the time to plan the painting and choose the pastels I would use, the painting was more enjoyable and pain free! I follow the same process for most of my paintings: I blocked in the darkest areas first....the trees and creek banks. I then painted the sky and water. Next I added a layer of yellows and golds to the grass areas followed by greens. Finally I added the flowers in the foreground making sure that some of them had more light and clarity.
- I didn't use all of the pastels I had selected. I had more greens in my tray but chose to keep the palette limited to the golden grasses of Autumn. The yellow greens and orange greens were a better choice.
- Working with a Happy Accident: When I was blocking in the tree shapes I used turquoise because I wanted a cool blue. But on paper it appeared too bright. It was wrong. But the more I looked at it the more I liked it. How could I make it work? I covered it up but then reintroduced some small turquoise marks at the base of the trees ...turquoise eye candy. I love turquoise and violet!
- I added a few blue violet marks in the grass echoing the color that is in the distant head lands.
|close up of the flowers....just marks|