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Monday, November 07, 2016

Do You Have a Pile?

'Desert Magic'          8x10        ©Karen Margulis
available $150
I don't think I have ever thrown away a bad painting. I know that sounds crazy and yes I have boxes and boxes of daily paintings. The majority of them are BAD. The paintings may be bad but the paper is still good. I don't like to throw away good paper. So into the pile the bad paintings go. They wait for the day that I am looking for inspiration in the pile.

The pile is the place I visit when I have no idea what to paint. If nothing is speaking to me but I want to paint I like the challenge of reclaiming a piece of paper. Sometimes the new painting isn't successful and it goes back in the pile. But most of the time I manage to create something that makes me smile.

The original 'dud' on mounted Wallis Belgian Mist...an oldie from the pile

Today was a 'Pile' day. I pulled out a very old plein air attempt. It was trying to be a little shed. I never got to finish it and I lost interest. The paper was worth reclaiming though.  It was an 8x10 piece of Wallis sanded paper that I had mounted to foamcore. If you are new to pastels, Wallis was the preferred sanded paper until it became too difficult to get. (I don't know the current statue of the paper)

I decided to use some rubbing alcohol and a stiff brush to wet the painting. I didn't brush any pastel off so my wet pastel was a bit thick. I scrubbed and scrubbed until lI had obliterated the little shed. I was left with some interesting texture when the underpainting dried.

I brushed on some rubbing alcohol to liquify the pastel
Now to decide what to paint.  I had a blank canvas but the texture and dark values was suggesting mystery to me. I picked up a pile of my little reference photos and leafed through them. As expected one photo jumped out at me....the perfect candidate for the underpainting....a scrub high desert landscape with interesting shapes and light. (look at the photo below)

The underpainting asked to be a scrubby desert landscape

The reclaimed surface was perfect for the desert scrub. It provided texture that allowed me to suggest the sand and scrubby foliage. I used a limited palette of Terry Ludwig pastels and completely enjoyed bringing life back into the sad painting from the pile!

Midway through the painting process



BJR said...

Lovely!...love the ground color popping out! But I love all your paintings! ;)

robertsloan2art said...

This is so beautiful! I haven't recycled older paintings yet, mostly because I keep buying new pastel paper. But today's is so enchanting. You just reminded me that I have a few I could really do something with. They include some terrible pale watercolors on very good, heavy paper that just need a bit more color and some Colourfix primer. Thanks for the inspiration!

I can see that sometimes working from the pile gives you something to start from.

Anonymous said...

Love the colors in this, especially that warm peachy color.