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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Favorite Paintings of 2016: Queen Anne's Lace

'Simple Pleasures'            12x12          pastel         ©Karen Margulis
Queen Annes Lace is a favorite subject of mine and this version is one of my top paintings from 2016. It was accepted into the PSA exhibition which was thrilling and humbling! Enjoy the post about the painting from the archives:

How to paint light over dark pastel. It was a great question. I love questions from my blog readers and this one deserved a visual answer. So I did a very quick video to illustrate my response.

The Question: In response to my recent post about painting white flowers  by gradually adding lighter values on top of cooler darker values a reader asked "Is it easy to put the darker colors over the lighter ones? Don't you get a blending effect that tones them down?"

My Answer: Great question. It is accepted pastel practice to go from dark to light. But you can easily get muddy toned down passages if you stir up and physically blend the layers together. The key is to layer the pastels without physically blending them. It is important to pay attention to your TOUCH...how lightly or heavily you apply the pastel.

  • If you apply the pastel with a light touch and whisper the light over the dark you won't disturb the dark and cause the layers to physically mix. A light touch allows the lighter value pastel to sit on top of the darker layer. If you push down too hard or go back and forth over an area the layers will blend together and the lights will get darker. The right touch is a light touch!
  • Sometimes I will use a very heavy direct mark. I call this a shouting mark. If you make a swift and sure mark of light over dark it will remain light. If you go back over the mark it will mix and get muddy. Make a mark and leave it alone!

In the quick video clip I am putting my lightest value in the flower. I already have established my darker values of peach and green and cream. I want to 'turn on the lights' by adding the warm light value.

  • I begin by LIGHTLY layering some of the light pastel. I use a light touch to allow the darker values to peek through but not physically mix. You can hear the light scratching sound of my whispering. I am using a Diane Townsend pastel with has pumice and makes a scratchy sound.

  • Next I want to add some finishing marks of a light value. I use a shouting mark and leave it alone. This heavy mark stays pure because I don't fuss and overwork it. 


robertsloan2art said...

This works surprisingly well! I have one tip to add to it. The final marks work better using a softer pastel than the earlier marks.

I start with semi-hard pastels, go to a medium-soft Rembrandt set that I have and then finish with hand rolled Unisons and Mount Visions or with super soft pastels like my Sennelier half sticks. Sennelier sticks are so soft they'll go over almost anything without blending, especially on sanded paper. Schminke and Terry Ludwig work the same way.

BJR said...

I LOVE this painting!! If I could get my heart's wish for Christmas...it would be one of your queen anne's lace paintings! They truly are awesome! (But the poppies run a close second!) Keep on painting. ;)