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Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Joy of Revisiting Old Subjects

'Jewels of the Meadow'         11x9        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $150
Do you remember photo albums? Perhaps you still print your photos and put them in an old school album. I haven't done that in years! Instead of albums I have been making books with my photos when I get around to it. I love the books but there is something special about looking at memories in a photo album.

I am finding all kinds of treasure in my studio clean up. Today I came across a photo album of a family trip to Nantucket and Maine. It might be the last 'real' photo album I put together. It was the last family trip we took before the kids went off to college. We would take a big road trip every summer and saw much of the USA together. For this last trip we let the kids decide where to go and they chose to return to Maine.

an old school photo album! That's us in the photo on the left.
 I flipped through the album enjoying the memories of a wonderful trip. There were a few photos that I had already used as painting references. But it had been awhile....12 years ago when I was new to painting! In fact one of them was probably the first wildflower painting I ever tried. I decided to revisit this old friend and paint it again.

Reference photo for today's painting

  • It was fun to see that I enjoyed the same point of view in my old photos....looking up through the grass! I was able to relax and enjoy this subject and put to use the things I have learned over the last 12 years.
  • I knew that I needed to override the information in the photos this time to create the illusion of depth. I made the distant trees lighter and cooler than they were in the photo. I adjusted the greens in the grass using lighter duller greens in the distance.
  • I had fun designing the placement of the flowers to create a visual pathway back into the distance. When I first painted this scene I was very literal and copied the flowers exactly as they appeared in the photo.
  •  I was also able to use new and better supplies. I didn't have the wonderful Yi Cai pastel paper or the selection of pastels that I now have. A combination of Terry Ludwig and Diane Townsend pastels made painting a pleasure. I was able to achieve the marks I wanted because of my tools. 

closeup detail
Even though I have painted this scene before there are many more photos in this album that I have not yet painted. Looking at them brings back great memories that I would love to paint!  
Do you have an old photo album filled with treasures? Would they be inspiration for new paintings? 

painting notes: 11x9 on Yi Cai sanded pastel paper with an assortment of Terry Ludwig, Diane Townsend and Nupastels for the grasses.

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