Tuesday, January 31, 2017

When a Plein Air Painting isn't Successful

'Bluebonnet Spring II'                 8x10              pastel               ©Karen Margulis
sold
Not every plein air painting is a success. That is why I like to think of my paintings done on location as studies. It removes the pressure to create a framable painting. The experience of painting outside is reward enough. The experience of involving all of the senses will influence  paintings done in the studio.

I usually have a rule for my plein air paintings. I do not allow myself to touch them back in the studio. I leave them alone so I can learn from them. If I try to fix my 'mistakes' or try to make it better  I will often destroy the freshness and authenticity that they have. I prefer to paint a new variation based on the study. I make note of the things I would change in the study and then start fresh. It is a much better learning experience.

Every once in awhile I break my rule!

The original plain air painting....a demo from my Texas workshop
The painting above was a demo I did for one of my Texas Hill Country workshops. It was the kind of painting that turned into an instructional tool. I used it to illustrate a few different concepts and answer questions. So in the end the painting was a confusing mix of things. It served a purpose but it wasn't authentic or true to the scene anymore.

Not one to throw out good paper I decided to use the bones of this painting to create a new interpretation.
  •  I found a photo taken near the demo location. It was a bit closer in and included some bluebonnets.
  • I brushed out some of the pastel and sprayed the bottom half with workable fixative. 
  • Now primed for new pastel I let the photo guide my new interpretation.
The new interpretation works because I already had big simple shapes and a solid value map. All it needed were a few adjustments to the trees and bushes and the addition of bluebonnets in the foreground.


a photo of a scene from the demo location

Brushed out, sprayed with fixative and ready to go!



I am returning to the HillCountry this April 7-9 for my 3rd annual plein air workshop. It will be an intimate group this year and I'd love for you to join us. Any level of experience is fine. We always have a great time in this beautiful corner of the world! Email me to register.




*******I need your help! ************
I am working on my blogging presentation for the IAPS convention. I want to be sure I answer the questions that a potential blogger might have. If you want to start a blog or revive an existing one what questions would you like to have answered?  Email me with any questions. They will be answered here and in the workbook I am working on for my 2017 presentation.  Thank you!

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

The most striking difference is the loss of the pink flowers and the blue shining! You harmonized the color much better in the new version. I can see how a demo can wind up that way, but the finished painting is glorious. So is the example painting in the workshop ad. When those bluebonnets pick up and amplify the sky, it's fantastic.