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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Change of Scenery....New Inspiration

'A Quiet Refuge'           8x10        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $150 
 I'm on a roll. I am thoroughly enjoying redoing the paintings I found in my discard pile. I'm glad I had the room to store all these duds. Not only am I able to recycle papers and boards, I am getting the chance to put what I have learned into practice.

When I look at an old painting it is proof that I have really grown as an artist. Sometimes in the day to day struggle of painting it is hard to see any progress. It can be slow and frustrating to get past the learning curve. And even then we still struggle to get to that next level. When I look at these older paintings that were my best work at the time...it is satisfying to see that I really have learned some things along the way!

Today I will share my thoughts behind the recycle of an older painting from the discard pile.

The original recovered from the discard pile
While I liked the subject matter of the original there were some issues that I would need to address. 
  • The pathway lead nowhere and appeared to go uphill. It didn't lay flat into the ground.
  • The rust colored grasses in the foreground formed a fence. They were a barrier for entry into the painting.
  • There was not much depth in the grasses. This view was quite long in real life and the painting didn't capture this expansiveness.
  • The water lines were bumpy. Especially the top edge of the sea.
  • The sky was boring.
Since the painting was on Ampersand Pastelbord it would be easy to do an alcohol wash to simplify all of the shapes. See below.

After washing with rubbing alcohol

I actually liked the result after the wash! I may have to explore this idea further. But for today I decided to work on the painting and create a change of scenery. It was good to review the older painting to see what I would have changed but in the end the underpainting revealed a new landscape. I used a similar color palette for this Florida wetlands landscape. Another fun recycle!

Try this: Take out an older painting or photo of your painting (from when you were new to pastel) . Study it and make notes on what you would do differently. Use this painting as inspiration and paint an updated version.


Samantha from France XD said...

so do i , sometimes i'm watching old pastels, and i begin to add some marks, colors, lights... when i do that, i see my evolution and it's amazing to see an old work whith news eyes ... (sorry for my bad english ^^)

I love your art and thank you for your advices !! it's so generous !

robertsloan2art said...

Wow! You're so right - the difference is night and day. I love the changes, especially the addition of the water and the fix on the grasses. They are wonderful, leading deep into the painting. You had something off in the old version and that flat area in front of the grass was so boring.

I love that feeling, going back through old paintings or sketchbooks and seeing how much I've grown. It is hard to see day to day, but I go through older stuff and find both surprises. Sometimes something I did a long time ago stands out as better than I thought... and then overall I see why when what I did then was intuitive. Overall though, I see how things I strained at have become easier and things I couldn't quite manage are now familiar and easy. It's a lot of fun!

I should poke into old paintings and rework them sometime, maybe after I get the studio. I'll have the space then for some of this sort of thing and be able to get at stored older works a lot easier. Your article today is inspiring - I can really do a lot to improve anything that didn't work when I first put it away.

This happened in San Francisco once. I had an autumn scene I'd done during a challenge. It was okay but sort of meh... and then I revisited it three years later. Added a few changes and it started to pop, looked a thousand times better. It wasn't even that bad, just Not Finished!