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Monday, May 01, 2017

The Importance of Restraint in Painting

'Among Friends'            16x20           pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $350
 It was a wildflower party! I have never again experienced such a place. I could see Queen Annes Lace for what seemed like miles into the distance. They were dancing to the music of the bees and I was in heaven. I took many photos and the memory of this moment is strong. It has inspired many paintings and I often use the photos as inspiration for my workshop demos.

Today I was looking through some unfinished demos and found this one from last Spring. It was time to refine and finish it. The question was just how much refinement did the painting need?

The original painting before refinement
Not much at all I decided. As excited as I was about the profusion of flowers in that field I knew that I needed to exercise some restraint. I need to leave some areas a bit mysterious and unfinished.

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” ~Francis Bacon


The left lower corner
 The focus of the painting were the flowers in the mid to top-middle section. They were the stars of the meadow. That meant that anything on the outer fringes of the painting were not as important. They didn't need to be rendered in great detail.

It was hard. I saw so much detail in my reference photo. I saw so many interesting flowers and wonderful tangles of grass and stems. I was tempted to add these details. But I resisted and left these areas alone.

 If you look at the cropped photos you can see that the bottom corners of the painting have only a few light layers of pastel In fact you can still see the underpainting which was a value based alcohol wash. Leaving these areas a bit unfinished and mysterious allows us to visually skip over these areas and enjoy the stars of the show!

The right lower corner


1 comment:

Linda Kriegel said...

So beautiful!! I so love the colors in the Field grasses. Thanks so much!!