|'Salt of the Earth' 5.5 x 7.5 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
It was a 'what if' moment and I decided to act on it. I was packing supplies for my recent workshop when I decided I should show the group how I tone Uart paper. I also wanted to share a great way to make a homemade sanded surface. While I had the supplies out I figured that I might as well tone some extra paper......and why not make my own sanded paper while I was at it!
I took out a piece of Arches cold pressed watercolor paper that I had on hand for another project. I poured some clear gesso in a container and tinted it with a little buff color acrylic paint. I brushed it on the paper and the result was a very nice piece of sanded paper. Perfect for a painterly landscape. Enjoy the following step by step demo.
Step 1: I toned the paper with acrylic paint mixed in clear gesso which has a slight grittiness. The heavy watercolor paper was perfect for this mixture.
Step 2: Working from a photo of a windswept landscape, I blocked in the big shapes with a Nupastel.
Step 3: I used one of my favorite ways to block in a painting by choosing four values of one color to block in the values of the shapes. This created a nice value map to work on.
Step 4: Since the paper was so bumpy I decided to rub in this first layer to push the pastel into the paper. I was left with a nice soft dreamy underpainting.
Step 5: The Shades of Nature set of Terry Ludwig pastels would be perfect for the mood of this scene. I only had to add a few other colors such as the blues of the distant tree line.
Step 6: I began by reinforcing the dark areas with a dark brown pastel. I also developed the distant tree line with several cool blue green pastels. I left them soft and out of focus.
Step 7: Next I painted the sky using pale peach and light warm yellow. I rubbed in the first layer and then added fresh pastel. I made my marks angle down into the painting to direct the viewer's eye.
Step 8: I began refining the ground plane beginning at the back with lighter and duller and cooler greens. I added some brighter green to the shrubs using short blocky strokes.
Step 9: I continued developing the grasses moving into the foreground with peaches and dull orange. I still used big strokes allowing the texture of the gesso to suggest grass.
Step 10: In this step I finish the painting by adding some detailed grasses. I used harder pastels to make some linear grass marks. The final touch was to add a few tiny yellow flowers in the foreground.
I enjoyed working on this surface. The texture didn't allow me to get too fussy. The best part is the cost! I had a big sheet of watercolor paper that I cut into smaller sizes. It was so easy to prepare and add texture to the paper. I will definitely be making more!