2018 Workshop Schedule. New workshops added! click here for details.
Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Favorite Paintings of 2016: Dramatic Skies

'Drama on the High Plains'          11x14          pastel         ©Karen Margulis
I love painting the sky. In 2016 I went through a cloud painting phase. This painting is one of my favorites. It reminds me that it is OK to play and experiment. Not only is it more fun, we often get the best results when we let go!  Enjoy this post from the archives.

Time to paint some clouds! I selected a stormy sky reference photo and decided to do an underpainting with some new supplies. I have had this set of Cretacolor hard pastels for awhile and haven't had a chance to use them. I selected a piece of white pastel premier and got to work.

I layered some blues and purples in the sky and some dirt colors on the ground. I had limited colors in my started set.  Next I did an alcohol wash to liquify the pastel with the hopes of getting some interesting cloud shapes. Then my underpainting took an interesting turn.

I had a baby wipe in my hand and I used it to dab a big drip. It removed a bit of the pastel as well. It got me thinking. What if I used the baby wipe as a tool? What would happen? So a bunched up the wipe and pressed it into the paper. It removed pastel and left some interesting textural marks.  I dabbed some more...the alcohol in the baby wipes was having an effect on the surface of the paper. Parts of the sanded surface were moving around.

This might have been a problem but I embraced the movement. It might create interesting effects when the pastel is applied! The underpainting was quite interesting!

The alcohol wash with baby wipe texture
 The result.....It was interesting and I love when things get interesting. There was definitely a feeling of irregular texture when I applied my pastel layers. The paper took on a different feel and my marks looked rougher than usual. But I enjoyed the change. And the Cretacolor hard pastels were very nice!
I think I will continue exploring this technique!

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

Wow! You have some moments of crazy experimentation that really work. I love how this came out. Being able to get such nuanced color and gorgeous effects with a 12 color starter set is amazing. It gives me heart. I have to give this kind of thing a try sometime.

That and working with them on sanded paper is an exciting thought.