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Monday, February 06, 2017

A Fun Way to Start a Pastel Painting

'Garden Delight'        9x12      pastel       ©Karen Margulis
available $145
I've been wanting to try this. I have been reading about watercolor techniques to give me a better understanding of the medium . I love using watercolor for my sketchbooks and I want to become more proficient with them. Not only will it help my sketching it will enhance what I do with pastel underpaintings.  So today I took out a piece of watercolor paper and had some fun.

watercolor, Brusho crystals and cellophane wrap
 I wanted to create an interesting washy looking background for a flower painting. What I discovered is that I need more practice in creating those wonderful ethereal washes I see in books!  My wash was awful and the more I added the worse it got. But I am not one to give up. I took out my box of Brusho crystals. These are pigment crystals that can be mixed with water and sprayed on or just sprinkled. They explode with color.

But  I went too far. I sprinkled too much and the effect was ruined. OK. Another lesson learned. So I took out some cellophane wrap and arranged it on top of the painting and let it dry. The result was an interesting background with a feeling of texture. Now I had something to work with! To give the paper some tooth for pastel I quickly brushed on some CLEAR GESSO. This gave the watercolor paper just enough tooth for a few layers of pastel.

The result after the cellophane wrap

Now I had an interesting background for my flowers. As I developed the coneflowers I made an effort to leave some of the background alone. At the very least I used pastels of the same color and value as the background. Even though I didn't have immediate success, I enjoyed playing with watercolor and seeing what would happen. It was fun and freeing. Now I will go back to the books and practice!

Start drawing the flowers

Begin with the centers


RoK said...

Thank you for sharing your fearless explorations. Very inspiring!

robertsloan2art said...

That's interesting! It's very vivid. I can see why you were frustrated with the Brusho effect, but that's watercolor stuff - unpredictable and sometimes very strong. Great finish.

Looking forward to seeing more. Gorgeous painting!