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Tuesday, April 04, 2017

A Tip for Painting Bluebonnets

'Celebrate Spring'         5x7        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
 I am headed to the Texas Hill Country for my 3rd annual plein air workshop. Last year I had the honor of co-teaching with Marsha Savage. We stopped in Dripping Springs on our way to the Plein Air Convention. That was a great adventure!  This year I am on my own but I am looking forward to painting and sharing in this beautiful part of the country.

I am tuning up my pastel box making sure I have a good selection for the Hill Country and I painted  this small study to test my selection.  I took some photos of the progress so you can see how I build up a field of Bluebonnets.


Look at the first layer of the painting below. Do you notice anything unusual?

The first layer rubbed in with pipe insulation
The bluebonnets are not a very big or tall flower so I need to be careful to avoid getting too spotty when I paint them. To do this I think BIG. I choose the color of the flower which is a blue to blue violate and I paint a large blue shape where I want the patch of flowers.  Paint the mass before painting the individual flowers.

Adding the grass on top go the blue mass
I develop the painting by working on the trees in the distance and then I am ready to lay in the grass. Starting in the distance I choose a light and cooler green. I gradually use a more intense brighter green for the middle ground. As I approach the mass of bluebonnets I add touches of the green in and around the blue shape. This gives the illusion of a patch of blue flowers peeking through the grass.

Adding some cooler grass in the shadows and some violets to the blue mass
The final step is to go SMALL. It is time to paint a few of the blooms. I want to paint an impression of the filed of bluebonnets so it is not necessary to paint every bloom. I just need to paint a few and I put them where I want the viewer's eye to look. They become and important part of the design and help lead the eye into the distance.



Very beautiful painting !!!

Tess Lehman said...

I wish I had looked at this BEFORE inpainted my bluebonnets today. Mine turned out tooo persnickety! Beautiful!