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Sunday, January 01, 2017

First Painting of 2017 with Commentary

'Abundance'           11x14          pastel         ©Karen Margulis  
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 New Year's day dawned cold and rainy in Georgia. The perfect day to stay inside and paint. I was excited to start on my project #painttime2017. I had already prepared my paper and selected my palette. I was also ready to paint live on Facebook. Maybe you caught it? It didn't really go as planned and an important technical lesson was learned. I forgot to put my phone on wifi so the connection was poor during the demo. This led to some out of focus sections. I decided it was too distracting to watch and sadly deleted the demo. Lesson learned!

So instead I'll share my thoughts on the demo painting here on the blog. In case you missed yesterday's post I am challenging myself (and you!) to choose a subject and plan to paint it once a week. You can use any medium, any size....anything goes. The only thing that stays constant is the subject. I choose Queen Anne's Lace. Share your paintings on social media using #Painttime2017



  • The painting is 11 x 14 on reclaimed Uart sanded paper. I had a few green and brown marks on this paper from a demo. I used turpenoid to wash the pastel in and tone the surface. It resulted in a nice neutral color with a blob of dark on the bottom of the paper. Perfect for my subject!
  • I made a simple test strip to narrow down my palette. I decided to use Terry Ludwig pastels (the Richard McKinley set)
  • I started the painting by drawing the flowers. I used simple ovals to place the flowers in a pleasing and dynamic way.
  • Next I blocked in the darks. I used four colors in a dark value to establish the dirt/shadows in the grass.
  • I then painted the sky. I started with yellows and then I realized that I had originally decided on blues for the sky. I scumbled some blue over the yellow and I liked the result. The yellow peaking through added a nice warm touch to my summer scene.
  • Next I worked on the flowers gradually building layers of color from dark to light. I used some yellows, greens and violets in the flowers.
  • I liked how the violet worked with the yellows so I added a few marks of violet to represent some purple wildflowers.
  • Next I refined the grasses and foliage by spraying the area with Blair workable fixative. This gave me some texture as I layered the greens and yellows of the grasses. I did this three more times until I was satisfied.
  • The finishing touches on the flowers were next. Some needed more refinement than others.
  • I thought I was done but a second look after a break told me that a few bumble bees were needed. There would be bees in this abundance of wildflowers!
  • The last thing I did was add the stray piece of yellow grass with a bee. Now the bottom part of the painting was connected to the top.


reference photo and test strip

close-up of flower and bees

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

Thanks for a good written demo! Sorry the live streaming one got technical difficulties, it would have been awesome. Love the painting. I am continually amazed at some of the things you do, they're always interesting! In a few months I'll be able to work large and try some of them.