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Friday, September 02, 2016

A Tip for those Finishing Pastel Marks

'All is Quiet'         8x10        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $145
I thought I was done. I had signed it and taken a photo. I had even loaded it onto my computer and started the blog post. But when I saw the painting on the computer monitor there was something bothering me. I wasn't sure what it was but I knew that I had to figure it out before I could share the painting on the blog. 

These things can take time though. I had to step away and take a break. I was too close to the painting and it was all too fresh. So I took an extended lunch break and worked on some other things on my list. 

The painting had come together easily enough. I was using another recycled piece of Uart that was leftover from my cloud and sky workshop. I made use of a tray of pastels from my last couple of paintings. I enjoyed the purple underpainting and building up the golden grasses. The last thing I painted was the yellow blooms in the foreground and called it done. But was it really finished?

Have a look at both versions below. Can you see what I added to the second painting? It is subtle.

The first finish!

The short break away from the painting allowed me to see what I needed to do. Coming back with fresh eyes and a clear head was important. I realized that I was bothered by the middle triangle shaped area of grass on the right side. The grass was too regular and straight. It didn't feel natural. Also the transition from the foreground bushes/blooms to this grass area was not very smooth. The areas had no visual connection. Here is what I did:
  • I painted a few more blades of grass going in different directions....mixing it up an bit and making it feel less manicured.
  • I added a few light and subtle yellow marks in the grass area to suggest some of the blooms continuing in this area. They are smaller, duller and fuzzier.
It was just a few simple marks but the foreground nows flows better into the middle ground. 

TIP FOR FINISHING MARKS: Take a break and come back to the painting with fresh eyes. When making the final marks do them a few at a time. Allow yourself to make only THREE marks before stepping back to evaluate. Keep making three marks at a time. This allows you to control the finishing process and hopefully prevents overworking.

I will be sharing more finishing tips in one of my upcoming videos!

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