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Saturday, September 03, 2016

From the Archives: Painting Large on a Budget


'It's a Blue Sky Day'          18x24           pastel            ©Karen Margulis
available $500
I am working on a large 30x40 painting this weekend so in honor of painting LARGE I am sharing this post from the archives. Enjoy and paint something big this weekend!

I've been painting larger lately. I used to paint small daily paintings that were no larger than 8x10. But I have discovered that I love the freedom that larger paper allows. But large paintings come with a price.  Everything about them is more expensive....the paper or support, the cost of pastel usage, the framing cost. They are also more challenging to store and if space is at a premium it is even a challenge to have the room to accommodate them on an easel!

I don't have a problem with space. I have plenty of space in my newly organized studio. (I will be taking you on a tour soon....just a few more finishing touches). But cost is always something I consider. I don't cut corners but do enjoy saving a few dollars. Here are some things I am doing to keep my costs down for my larger paintings.

The pink sky and ground is hard pastel with an alcohol wash 

  • I buy my paper in bulk. As much as I'd like to support our local art vendors I prefer to order my paper online. I wait for a sale or coupon code and stock up. I just got a great Black Friday deal on Uart paper with my 30% coupon. I buy 18x24 sheets and cut them to size if I want smaller pieces. I did but a roll of Uart once but I save it for really large paintings.
  • I have made my own large supports with Gatorboard and my own pumice and gesso mix.
  • I don't mount my paper usually so that saves money. There are ways to mount paper on your own with adhesive sprays or mounting boards such as Crescent perfect mount.
  • I use foamcore as a support for my paper. I tape my paper to the foamcore while I paint. To save money I buy my foamcore at the Dollar Tree. It isn't archival but it does the job for a dollar. I only use archival foamcore for framing.
  • I ALWAYS do an underpainting on a large pastel. Usually I will do a wet underpainting of some kind....watercolor, alcohol wash with pastel,oil stain. These wet underpaintings are like cheating! The paper is covered sparing the use of precious pastels for a block in. This allows me to save my good pastels for the top layers of the painting.
  • I save my softest pastels (most expensive)for the finishing touches only. 
  • I ALWAYS do a small 2.5 x 3.5 study to try out my color palette. It is much easier to make changes in the study than on a big painting (wasting pastel!)

Starting to add pastel over the underpainting

the small color study 2.5 x 3.5 

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