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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Finishing a Workshop Demo: Back to the Plan!

'Drama in the Afternoon'           16x20         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $250
 You really never know how it will turn out. Painting in front of a group of artists and trying to be in the zone while at the same time trying to verbalize what you are doing is challenging.  Sometimes the demo goes as plans but sometime it takes on a life of its own. Sometimes it becomes only a teaching tool and then painting is not really a painting but rather a visual aid to help explain concepts.

I am always happy when a demo painting is successful and especially when it finds a good home with  someone in the workshop. The demo paintings that come home with me are usually finished after some time and evaluation.  Today's painting is a finished demo from my recent Florida workshop. On evaluating the demo I realized I had strayed from my initial plan.

The  painting as it stood at the end of the demo.
I like to start a painting with a plan. "Make a Plan and Plan to let Go" is my mantra. In the workshop. I go through a variety of techniques for making a plan. As I paint sometimes a painting strays from the plan. Sometimes that is a good thing. I like to listen to a painting when it starts changing. It might be a better solution. But often the plan was solid and getting back to it will improve the painting.

I decided that the demo had moved away from the plan slightly. It wouldn't take much to bring it back. I made notes about what I needed to do. Have a look below at the plans.....The reference photo is at the top. A 2.5x3.5 inch color study is below. The two value NOTAN thumbnail is below. My concept for the painting was the contrast of the light behind the dark trees...the drama of light and dark.  The demo painting had become too light and bright. The drama was missing. Here is what I did:

  • I sprayed the trees and ground with workable fixative to darken these areas.
  • I used a couple of dark value pastels to darken the foreground. (burgundy and blue)
  • I added a dark tree shape on the left increasing the area of dark vs. light.
  • I added more interest to the trees with some darker and warmer greens.
  • I kept the light on the grasses confined to a smaller area on the upper left rather than allowing the light to extend to the bottom of the painting.
  • I added more bight spots of light behind the dark tree trunks making the negative spaces more interesting.

The planning stages for the painting

After spraying a darkening the foreground and adding a dark tree on the left


Jo Castillo said...

Beautiful Karen, thanks for sharing so much info.

robertsloan2art said...

Beautiful and interesting. I love the way your process goes through stages of change, this time coming back to start. Love the final painting!