Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Lesson from a Pot of Pansies

'A Summer for Pansies'         8x10         pastels        ©Karen Margulis
available $125
I don't know why I resist. It isn't really difficult to find something 'live' to paint. But I always turn first to my stack of photos when I want to paint. I read a post not too long ago by Jimmy Wright who encouraged everyone to paint from life at least once a week. I can't find the post so I don't remember exactly what it was about but that one thought resonated with me.

Paint something from life at least once a week.

What brilliant advice. We all know the many benefits of drawing and painting from life whether it be the figure, still life or plein air. We see colors and values more accurately. We train our eyes to see subtleties. We improve our drawing skills. We learn through observation how much the camera lies and distorts. It is such a valuable exercise. Why do I resist?

I am usually quite disciplined when it comes to making time to paint so I am going to make a commitment to paint at least one thing from life every week. That isn't too much to ask! Why don't you join me!

Painting note: This bowl of panises was painted from life while I was visiting my dear friend in Iceland last summer. She has a wonderful greenhouse full of beautiful flowers. We selected these pansies as one of our subjects. What a wonderful time that was!

4 comments:

LisaDenise said...

this is really beautiful!!!!!

Kathleen Harte Gilsenan said...

Hi Karen. In addition to being an artist I am also a high school art educator. Each year I have the privilege of bringing my advanced students into the Pastel Society of America. Jimmy Wright has given the students great advice about pastels and about being artists. He has always stressed to them the importance of working from life. Just like you, however, I sometimes get caught up in working from my photos and don’t make enough time for working from life. Thanks for the “nudge”. I will join in your challenge to work on a least one piece per week that is from direct observation. I enjoy your blog so much and I share the link with my students.

Karen said...

Thank you Kathleen! How fortunate that your students get to go to see the PSA show. Thank you for sharing!!

robertsloan2art said...

Love the painting and the habit! This has done me a lot of good in pastel and all my mediums. I get out and paint things from life even if sometimes they're the same things. I have a slightly boring sequence of oak leaves in my watercolor journal but I find something a little different in them every time and their shapes appeal to me.

It was life sketching that taught me the anatomy of cats well enough to do good cat portraits too, starting from my cat sleeping up to quick gestures of moving kittens I hadn't met before. These are fun in pastel!