Sunday, March 12, 2017

How to Loosen Up Your Painting Style

'Wild Blue Yonder'         8x10        pastel     ©Karen Margulis
available $150

I am not one for painting details. A looser approach is just my natural tendency. If I wanted to get more detailed I have to work at it. I am often asked for advice on how to paint more loosely. If your natural tendency is to be detailed oriented there are some things you can try to loosen up. I want to share one way in today's post.

Change your painting surface to one with a lot of texture.

Why does this help? To paint in a loose manner it is important to focus on big simple shapes. You need to forget about details especially in the beginning stages of a painting. Too often we get bogged down with the details and try to paint every branch or blade of grass. If you want to paint loose, it is much better to paint the big shapes and put in a suggestion of the detail. A rough or textured surface makes it difficult to put in fussy details.

For pastels this means trying out some homemade surfaces. These surfaces can be made to have texture and brushstrokes which will affect how the pastel is applied. Pastels will glide over the ridges creating a 'painted' appearance. The brushstrokes of the ground will show. You can push some pastel down into the ridges but it is difficult to get too fussy. Details are suggested and you have instant looseness. Give it a try!

mini demo of my painting on my own homemade board

I made my own surfaces on Gatorfoam board. I cut a large piece of Gatorfoam into 8x10 pieces. It is easy to score with a utility knife. I coated the board with acrylic gesso to seal it. When it was dry I applied the ground which was made of acrylic gesso, fine pumice powder and water. I tinted this mixture with Golden fluid acrylic paint. There are several recipes for grounds that you can find and you will want to experiment with the ingredients to find mixture you like.
To read more about making your own grounds I recommend Richard McKinley's Pastel Pointer article on Home Grown Surfaces.

Do you like the look of pastels on homemade surfaces?

Painting notes:  This painting is on my own homemade surface using gatorboard and pumice mix. The board was toned with orange Golden liquid acrylic paint.

1 comment:

Ricardo García said...

Hello, Karem!
That coincidence! Precisely yesterday I wrote a post in my blog on the priming based on powder of pumice. For my way of painting, very softly, the use of the texture is very useful to give force to my works.
Thank you for your blog! You are my inspiration! The first thing that I do when I get up is to see your daily post.
There is little information about pastel painting in spanish language!!
You push me to share my successes and mistakes in my blog. I see your works and get depressed, but you encourage me to do often and to prove new things. You will see me here. Sorry my little english.

Ricardo Garcia